Leche Flan, Round III (a,b,c,d,e,f)!!!


Okay, I have figured out my recipe for Condensada Flan a la Marketman. Here are six versions of the dessert, and if you read through to the bottom of this post, you will know which one I thought was the best of them all. Now I completely understand that roughly 50% of marketmanila’s readers are partial to a Condensada Flan rather than a real Leche Flan, with its attendant texture and flavor; so I have endeavored to come up with a recipe that is sufficiently delicious and with hopefully full proof instructions/tips for even a novice flan cook. But I reiterate that I suspect many of that 50% would change their mind after they try a well-done cow’s cream or carabao’s milk leche flan.


In this round, we did three llaneras made with a recipe that contained 7 egg yolks, one whole egg, 1 can Milkmaid Condensada and one can of Alpine evaporated milk (three llaners on the left side of the photo above). Then I also tried three llaneras with a recipe that contained 6 whole eggs (yolks and whites), 1 can of Milkmaid Conensada and one can of Alpine evaporated milk (the three llaneras on the right side of the photo above).


For the line of three llaneras with mostly egg yolks, the first one is made in a bain marie in an oven at 320F for roughly 45 minutes, covered in foil. The second example is also in a bain marie in an oven at 320F without a foil cover. And the third one at the back is done in a steamer, covered in foil, at low heat.


For the line of three llaneras with whole eggs (including whites), the first one is done in a bain marie, covered in foil. The second example is also in a bain marie without a foil cover. And the third one at the back is done in a steamer, covered in foil, on low heat.


This one was the egg yolk recipe, in a bain marie and covered with foil. It was the second best version of the six tested under pretty good control factors. It was dense but smooth, still a little rubbery in my view, and a butterknife laid on the edge of the flan did NOT pierce the flan, and the same was true for all other examples in this batch. A butter knife would pierce a milk or cream version.


Less hassle and possibly just a hair more delicious was this version of mostly egg yolks, in a bain marie and no need for a foil cover. It was unanimously judged the BEST of all the six tried this day. The bain marie method is, in my opinion, less troublesome and yields superb results, if you have an oven. This was the recipient of the current “Condensada Flan a la Marketman” award.


Finally, of the egg yolk heavy recipe, this one was steamed in as low a flame as possible, covered in foil. The flame wasn’t low enough, but the results were still very good for the de lata group of leche flans. Note some slight bubbling in the flan on this one, a sign of too high heat still. But overall, the flans made with egg yolks all surpassed the ones with egg whites, in texture, flavor and appearance. The line of three above had a gorgeous top and caramel sheen.


This is the first flan with whole eggs, done in a bain marie, covered. Even if the mixture was allowed to rest an hour, and strained carefully, and “tak-takked” gently against a towel on the counter and cooked in very gentle conditions, the flan itself still had noticeable bubbles. It was okay, but not as good as the mostly yolk versions. And the belief that egg whites made these “lighter” I would counter with it made it taste more “egg-whitier”. I am not a fan of whole egg leche flans after these recent experiments.


This is the second whole egg version, in a bain marie and uncovered with foil. This was significantly less liked than its mostly yolk partner described earlier.


And finally, the version with whole eggs done in a steamer looked the worst of them all. And maybe influenced by looks, we all felt it was the worst tasting as well. I just find that unless you have to, opt for a ban marie, as steaming takes a little more getting used to. Typically, the cooking method “steaming” in a recipe means a serious amout of steam from a rolling boil. In this case, when making leche flans, you want the water to release steam without really boling. It’s a pain in the rear to keep checking the pot to see if it is boiling (you can hear it up close) and adjusting the heat.


In the end, I would say I am definitely NOT a convert to Condensada Flans, as I definitely prefer the cream/carabao’s milk versions. And I think a taste-off is definitely interesting as folks with biases to one type or the other will get a chance to taste both side by side and decide which one they really prefer. But if you must have a condensada flan, I think this is one of the best you can make. I am awarding my “Condensada Flan a la Marketman” to the mostly egg yolk version (all organic eggs), with Milkmaid condensada, and Alpine evaporada in a bain marie without a foil cover at 320F for roughly 45 minutes or so. This version might impress many of you “condensada flan” afficionados out there. But technique matters, and a a slight mishap on steaming or cooking will dramatically change the quality of the final product. And by the way, you guys are fooling yourselves if you think this is much cheaper than using fresh milk… because up soon is a post on flans made with fresh carabao’s milk and I think they cost the same if not less than the condensada versions… And from my experience, it’s harder to find cows that make Milkmaid and Alpine milk than it is to find carabaos!!! :)


74 Responses

  1. I usually use canned milk but only evap and no condensada. Condensaed milk tend to make the leche flan rubbery – much like a soft yema. Next time, maybe I’ll try the milk/cream combination you did earlier.

  2. reading all the leche flan entries in one sweep made my head spin. cholesterol overload even without tasting these yummies.

  3. Laughing at the “just a hair more delicious..” line. I love your quests for the ultimate _____.! I enjoy reading about your semi-adventures. Thank you, MM!
    Hope you’re neck problem is nothing serious and goes away soon.

  4. i have to read it all over again…the info is just too overwhelming…thanks anyway for all the hardwork Mr MM. btw, i saw a marketmanila.com streamer along mango ave during sinulog, i wonder if that is where your office is.

  5. thanks for going through all the hassle of finding the best de-lata leche flan mr.mm. i know you’re doing it not only because you love to, but also because you love us your avid readers, :)… bless you!

  6. You are wonderfully crazy for this–but that’s why we are fans! It’s fun to read and we wait for what happens in the next round!

  7. Call me queer, but I like my leche flan with lots of holes so I would think the one with whole eggs is for me. It should be hard meaning one that does not wiggle like gelatin. Hehehe! Different strokes for different folks. Thanks MM for all that info on leche flan.

  8. Whew! That was quite a feat. Labs mo talaga kaming mga fans mo!!! I am compelled to try your winning flan. My hubby and eldest love leche flan but since it’s so sinful, I haven’t ventured into it. Well, I guess, I will for now. Thanks for all the efforts!

  9. I actually did a similar test with the following iterations:

    1. condensed milk + evap + all yolks
    2. condensed milk + fresh milk + all yolks
    3. condensed milk + heavy cream + all yolks

    The first test reulted in a flan that was pleasantly dense but tasted of evaporated milk, which I am not particularly fond of. The second yielded a flan that was a bit thin, and the flavor was somewhat bland. The last actually yielded the best result. I am not particularly eager to stray away from the condensed milk though since I think this gives leche flan the particularly Filipino touch that I look for, a sort of dulce de leche appeal.

  10. Perfect! now you just need, ube, sweet corn kernels and evap milk to thaw the shaved ice packed into the tumbler.

  11. STOP!! STOP!! I’m having information overload!!! hahahaha…

    Ok, Ok, I will try your “Condensada Flan a la Marketman”, but using a pressure cooker

  12. Amazing! You definitely rival Tyler Florence for the “Ultimate” leche flan (and lechon and puto). Can’t wait for the milk/cream post. I am already a convert without even having tried it.

  13. Two thumbs up for you, MM!!! Will try you leche flan MM version for the upcoming summer for the halo halo concoctions!!! Thanks!!!

  14. You might try finding one piece molds, instead of the soldered llanera, lead poisoning and all that. Plus the soldered parameter gets hotter than the middle and so you get all those bubbles visible around the edges before the middle sets. Invidual ramekins gets my vote for best results and presentation.

  15. I am with Sister, MM…I use ceramic dishes and they come also in oval, square, and rectangle….size is that of like a llanera (not the big ones or trays)I have different shapes and REASONABLY priced!…guess where, mga Mrs.? …at the DOLLAR STORE. I found them here in Coq. Center Dollars and Cents (and no, I am not related to them nor do I work there!) They were clearing some after Christmas….so I went berserk and bought ALL of them!…or when you go shopping at grocery stores, look at the housewares section…they also put those dishes on CLEARANCE SALE!

    They make nice hostess presents when I go to small potlucks! …and the hostess gets the ceramic dish when we have devoured what I put in it!

  16. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! The hardwork, and the expense, just to prove what indeed is the best tasting leche flan. Can’t wait to read – and try – your cream version.

  17. …or how about an ENSAYMADA mould if the creramic dishes are not reasonably priced there…it is in one piece…if I were there and no ceramic dishes, I think that is what I will use…pretty with that scalloped edge (to unmould, maybe pry the sides really carefully even halfway jiggling a bit so the carmel will sort of come through a bit making it easier to unmould….oh, that would be so pretty ,,,small ones for individual servings!!!

    MM, I BOW TO YOU TOTALLY for your dedication in coming up with the QUINTESSENTIAL Leche Flan as well as the Lechon, Kinilaw, BARBECUE and Pancit (in the making ?!?)…with all these …oh, that would be a good title for your cookbook…something Quintessential…

  18. …or how about an ENSAYMADA mould if the creramic dishes are not reasonably priced there…it is in one piece…if I were there and no ceramic dishes, I think that is what I will use…pretty with that scalloped edge (to unmould, maybe pry the sides really carefully even halfway jiggling a bit so the carmel will sort of come through a bit making it easier to unmould….oh, that would be so pretty ,,,small ones for individual servings!!!

    MM, I BOW TO YOU TOTALLY for your dedication in coming up with the QUINTESSENTIAL Leche Flan as well as the Lechon, Kinilaw, BARBECUE and Pancit (in the making ?!?)…with all these …oh, that would be a good title for your cookbook…something Quintessential…

  19. You’ve got a lot of patience to be conducting these experiments! That last photo looks good, though I prefer a darker caramel.

    I made leche flan last night (condensada) and used muscovado sugar for the caramel. The leche flan, by itself, was good and so was the caramel. But together, it was just too sweet. I’ll try the muscovado caramel with fresh milk/cream leche flan next time. I think the muscovado caramel will really complement the taste and texture of the milk/cream leche flan.

  20. Hi,

    Now that the canned milk (evaporated or condensed) have been experimented on, can I request your recipe on the use of fresh milk or if anybody can post a recipe using the milk bought at supermarket here in North America. I have always used the canned milk version, but did not know I can also make the milk and cream version, which to me is more economical considering the cost of condensed milk here.

    Really appreciate all your effort in getting the results. Thanks!

  21. Nenette: Sister posted her recipe for the cream leche flan…Hay, first few posts at the beginning of the MM’s Leche Flan Chronicles! It is excellent, I made it! But I am partial to the Milk/Cream version I posted , too. Maybe if my hubby’s and my weight is not an issue, I will indulge in Sister’s Leche Flan or once I get rid of these few extra pounds I gained over the hoidays as well, I will make this in a heart shaped solidceramic mould for Valentine’s instead of the usual Coeur ala Creme.

    Anyway, if the recipe is buried somehwere..here is what i make as well using homogenized milk and cream. If you are watching your caloric intake, you can use straight homogenized milk. But if you can find the organic milk I use Avalon brand (in glass bottles), mas masarap!

    Again: for 1 llanera:

    1 cup cream
    1 cup milk (you can use 2 cups milk if you want to omit the cream)
    3 eggs
    2 yolks
    a little less than 1/2 cup sugar
    pure vanilla extrct….here is where you can play around with the flavouring of your choice. You an add orange zest to the milk/cream when you scald it and let it steep. But strain it when you add that to the eggs. For method of cooking, I prefer and have done it always in the oven using bain marie!

    Hope this helps !

  22. Bettyq: Saludo talaga ako say iyo Bettyq! You are so nice and generous not only in sharing your award winning recipes and techniques but also to your hostesses – ensuring the container the leche flan came in is part of the deal! I usually ask for my pan back or unmold it right there and there and put it away in my car before it will slip off my amoeba infested mind. I use loaf pans, ring pans, regular bundt cake pan absolutely not a good idea to use the nonstick pan. Our llanera they go fast at a speed of lightning with pin hole leaks. The irritating part to me is the clean up episode where the bain marie overflows due to leaking pan.

    MM, you unravel all the areas of leche flan in all its broad avenues and confined it to a doable easy task for people who loves to cook and good food. Not only you put forth your valuable time and energy but also your resources. It is truly a passion what I can say. Thank you.

  23. Betty-

    Can I omit the milk and use all cream? Would that make it too dense or affect cooking time?

  24. Angela,…You see, it is a matter of personal preference. Yes, you can use all cream…the taste however, would be somewhat maybe akin to cremebrulee really rich, creamy taste thT YOU CAN EAT ONLY A FEW SPOONFULS. I like to eat the whole dessert if I can have my way! Kaya, having that balance of not too creamy yet delectable, I think is achieved by combining the 2 (milk and cream…rich but not cloyingly richie rich!!!)

  25. i am looking forward to the fresh milk version as i never developed the taste for condensed or evaporated milk for anything i cook or eat. thanks for all the effort MM that you put into coming out with the “perfect” series.

    betty q — i love the way you shop . . . because i do the same!

  26. Thanks Betty q,
    You are the best. I have tried your Ferino’s bibingka recipe and the family (4 of us) had it during the holidays. I will do it again when I come to LA, kasi walang fresh coconut dito sa Toronto. Just one more question, I do have to scald the milk or the cream or both of them? Pardon the ignorance.

  27. You know maria Clara, I am as forgetful as you are! I have left countless dishes at parties. Nakakahiya to phone people to ask them if |I left the dish there. So I have resorted to accumulating nice, CHEAP dishes that will not break my heart nor my ALKANSIYA by buying bulk when it goes on sale or hit the UPSCALE neighbourhoods for garage sales! I find that these matrons just love to shop at high end places and buy on impulse and then sell them in garage sales. You wouldn’t believe my finds! Then come Christmas or potlucks, I use those platters or dishes and put stuff in it like mandarin oranges and give them to neighbours or put pancit or whatever…they get to keep the DISH!..best part of all, I don’t need to worry where I left it. I can sleep!!!

    Yup, scald the milk/cream….NOT BOIL! Are yoou sure there is no fresh coconut in Toronto?

  28. My ideal flan healthwise would be using egg beaters, lactaid fat free milk and splenda. I just don’t know what ingredient proportion would yield edible result. I think i should try that even though in my mind i already imagine how it will taste, worse than the worst of MMs experiments.Oh well.

  29. Lojet, I do not want to rain in your parade – but I did make one exactly like you enumerated your ingredients above. It was one of the disastrous and disappointing cooking experience I had. It will never leave my memory bank. The flan coagulated. When you run your spoon through it was like a soft soybean and shattered. No taste at all.

  30. Divine G: are you talking about the custard cake? I posted a recipe in one of MM’s Leche Flan Saga…that’s the one I make. I use chiffon cake as my base…I have never tried it though with buttercake as I think it will sink… i could be wrong though. Is it Queen B orMyrna who wanted to know…or someone else…anyway, go back to one of the posts on leche Flan if you want to try making it.

  31. I should have stop reading your post if I want to stick to my own recipe for leche flan…but cant do it. You are my man! Love your stamina in experimenting different ingredients and how you present the results, you are simply marvelous. do you think you should also check your blood sugar after doing a lot taste test on leche flan? he he he…

    thank you for the information,will definitely try out other recipe until I found the right one for me.


  32. Socky, the original carabao’s milk leche flan was posted earlier, but in a day or two I will post another carabao’s milk leche flan that also turned out SUPERBLY. Give me a couple of days…

  33. My goodness those are a ton of holes. Strange, whenever I make leche flan with condensed, I hardly get any holes and the texture is smooth and velvety.

  34. I can’t wait for the weekend to experiment on leche flan too! And I would really like to try the milk/cream version. You’re turning me into a leche flan snob… I can just imagine myself cringing at the sight of commercial leche flans that I think even have gawgaw in them… Hahaha!

  35. Call me crazy but I love my leche flan with “holes” hehehe. An officemate does her leche flan this way and I’m addicted to it. If there’s no “hole”, it’s no good to me….hahaha!

  36. Wonderful job. Have you tried cooking in ramekins? Always got a smoother flan. The foil cover will only get water in your flan and will end up with more caramel sauce than expected…

  37. The Ferino’s bibingka that Betty q posted was buried in the comments of the puto ube series. I cannot remember the exact blog topic. And Betty q, they have the Jamaican coconut here in Toronto but I do not have the contraption that can make it as a coconut topping. My Dad has it in LA and its just not the same without the coconut.

    I am like you all in copying and pasting. But I always do it on hard copy, and now I can probably do a soft copy.

  38. Nenette…you are in Toronto? My sister who also lives in Toronto is in Pinas right now but will be back there sometime in April I think! I can ask her to bring back that spiky thingy and just mail it to you or you can pick it up from her. Let me know.

  39. Wow! Even if I have my version I will surely try the fresh milk and cream version…who knows,i might switch ? I salute you MM !! It inspires me to improve my leche flan some more…to the kitchen this weekend!!!

  40. the one that you picked the best of all has the best texture and very similar to what my Lola makes. She uses the steamer though but that is what our leche flan looks like. It is also mostly yolks (20 yolks, 5 whole egg yields 7 llaneras) Thats how she usually makes it. But lately she has made great use of the egg whites by making them into leche flans as well. I am such a purist that I dared not taste it but some people actually prefers the all-white leche flan than the rich-yolk one.

  41. I’ve always tried my leche flan with half evap and half 2% milk, whole eggs and sugar, and never with condensed milk, since I find condensed milk too rich. This is at least to have a control of how much sugar to use, careful of sweetness and cholesterol, then bake in 300 degree F oven with a pan of hot water for an hour or until set. Turns out always smooth, no bubbles, costs even less, on an 8×8 round baking pans. You’re right bettyq, I’ve tried chiffon cake as for making custard cake, another favorite at gatherings. Enjoyed everybody’s comments and sure will try posted recipes. I find leche flan as a true controversial recipe since each one has preferences over taste and texture.

  42. Nenette, the cocounut here in toronto are often sold at chinesse groceries and they come in packages as in frozen. =)

  43. Mutya….make chocolate leche flan using chocolate milk and cream added or ganache. Then make chocolate chiffon cake. ….it is something different and very much got rave reviews in potlucks and everyone wanted to know how to make it. If you don’t have a recipe, i will post one , too!

  44. Oh thank you Betty q for that offer but that would be too much an imposition on your sister. Besides, I wouldn’t know how to use that. Have always seen grated coconut being donr in the wet market using that electric grater. And I will try to find that milk in the supermarkets here so I can make your leche flan.

    Zarina, wouldn’t it be too watery if it comes out frozen for the purpose of putting it as toppings for bibingka?

  45. Not at all an imposition, Nenette. HOWEVER, you need to find a handyman like your hubby, perhaps? who can make the “kabayo” for you…customize it so you or whoever will grate it can sit comfortably on it! Zarina, is right! If I remember correctly though, freshly grated coconut is a bit sweet. The frozen ones aren’t. So after I defrost it right before using as a topping for cuchinta, I add or sprinkle a bit of sugar and mix gently. Para na ring bagong kayod and taste!

  46. Hi Betty q. Could you share your recipe of chocolate leche flan and chocolate chiffon cake?

  47. Judy, if you want your chocolate leche flan really chocolate-y, use chocolate milk BUT chocolate nilk here is only made with 2% milk. So either use ganache (made with cream and semi-sweet chocolate) or semi-sweet choclate chunks and milk/cream. Anyway:

    4 eggs
    4 yolks
    1 cup full cream milk (3 to 4%M.F.)
    1 cup whipping cream
    1/2 cup sugar or a tad less if you use semi-sweetBUT if you use bitterwsweet, add the full 1/2 cup sugar
    4 to 5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

    Heat the cream and add it to the chocolate (cut into really small pieces). Let it sit for a bit. Then gently stir the mixture until chocolate is smooth. Then add the milk and proceed with making leche flan.

    Make caramel and coat your 9 x 13 pan with it. Make the chocolate leche flan. Strain and set aside in a bowl while making your chocolate chiffon cake

    Sift together in a bowl:
    2 1/4 cups SIFTED cake flour (sift before measuring)
    1 tsp. salt
    1 cup sugar
    3 tsp. baking powder

    2/3 cup sifted cocoa
    3/4 -1 cup boiling water
    Water has to be boiling! Put cocoa powder in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Use a whisk and stir until smooth. Cover and let it sit until cool. This is your chocolate mixture.

    Make a well in the center of the bowl(with the dry ingredients) and add the ff:
    8 egg yolks
    2/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 tsp. vanilla
    the chocolate mixture
    Stir everything together with a whisk only to blend ingredients. If too thick, add a little water so it is like pancake batter.
    Strain to remove lumps.

    Using a very clean glass or meatal bowl (never plastic!), add 8 eggwhites and 1 tsp. cream of tartar. Whip until faomy and like light shaving cream. Add 3/4 cup sugar gradually. Whip until soft shaving cream . Do not overwhip. Remember what I said how to tell when merigue is ready in previous post? …same banana…Then take 1/3 of it and FOLD INTO THE CHOCOLATE BATTER. It iwll turn a bit runny. Continue and add another 1/3 of the meringue and FOLD again. This time it is starting to look light cake batter. Then add the last 1/3 and FOLD again.

    Pour chocolate leche flan in cake pan and GENTLY scoop the cake and fill in the spaces. Bake bain marie 350degrees until top is springy when touched…maybe about 45 to 55 mi nutes. Check it though. Cool but not inverted like ordinary chiffon cake. When cold enough to handle, loosen the sides gently and invert onto serving platter.

  48. Hi MM,
    Gudos to you!For making such experiment…I learned a lot from it!..will try to do the last combination and procedure..Thanks!!

  49. Thanks a lot bettyq. I’ll try this and will let you know the result. Btw, I tried your leche flan recipe with fresh milk and cream and it was the bomb. My hubby and I loved it. I’ll use fresh milk from now on. I’ll try MM’s recipe next :)

  50. OMG, Thanks MM for such brilliant idea =) Thank you for sharing this experiment you did. bravo! (with how u presented this blog entry with those pics and the recipe itself) U made my day!

  51. MM

    My recipe makes use of coconut cream and fresh cows milk (no carabao’s here in SF)

    1 cup sugar for caramel
    3/4 cup fine sugar
    2 cups fresh milk
    1 1/2 cups coconut cream
    1/8 tsp lemon rind
    8 egg yolks
    4 whole eggs

    you know the rest hehehe

  52. I looked up this site for a recipe for flan. The article looked interesting but where is the recipe for the winner?

  53. Hello there!

    Thank you for the insightful review. I need help with a recipe for flan.
    I’ve been looking for recipes that are not too dense like the traditional leche flan.
    I want the consistency of a creme caramel but have the taste of filipino leche flan.
    Every time I make/try leche flan, I haven’t been able to achieve that outcome.
    Thanks so much for your help.


  54. Hi, I’d like to ask about the size of the Alpine evaporated milk can you used coz I believe there are 2 cans of Alpine milk available in the market (big and small)…


  55. We made the carabao milk version today. No duck eggs available so we opted for good chicken eggs, though we weren’t able to get the egg dealer to certify them as organic. Still, they had a nice orange yolk. The carabao milk was purchased frozen. We thawed it and used immediately. 1 liter made four medium sized flans. They were cooked in a bain marie, covered by foil at 350 F. I was worried since I read that carabao milk can be heat sensitive so I didn’t cook at 375 F though some recipes recommend it. The flans came out very smooth, no bubbles at all and almost as rich as creme brulee. They sauce was a bit watery, though it was quite thick when we initially filled the ramekins. My wife, a fan of condensada flan, on tasting the carabao flan, said it was okay, but still prefers the older provincial condesada style she grew up with. Her brothers laughed and ate all that we made in one sitting. The wife grudgingly admitted she will probably use the carabao flan recipe for her portion of the next potluck instead of a condensada flan, noting it was very rich.

    I am happy since this is as smooth and tasty as creme brulee at one third the cost. I would be tempted to make it without the caramel sauce and then flame the sugar top on the ramekins, just to see if anyone would call me on it not actually being creme brulee.



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