How to Make the Perfect Leche Flan

Making the Perfect Caramel

Making a caramel can be quite scary. So many
things can go wrong: it can crystallize into a powdery inedible
mess, or turn into dark, bitter sludge in an instant. The best
way to avoid these is to make a sort of fortified caramel
that’ll need less cooking and won’t crystallize as easily.

Instead of making a straight up classic caramel with white
sugar and a sprinkling of water, use half white sugar
and half brown sugar and drizzle some honey,
corn syrup or glucose over it instead of water. The
brown sugar adds a deep butterscotch flavor to the mix, making
it perfectly okay to undercook your caramel just a little and
makes it easier to avoid burning everything. Adding
syrups such as honey and light corn syrup helps to prevent
crystallization as the syrups are invert sugars that
don’t easily crystallize.

No Bubbles, Please

Every leche flan’s worst enemy is
bubbles. The more bubbles there are in the
custard before it sets, the lumpier the end product will be. In
order to minimize the air introduced to the custard, mix the
ingredients gently with a wooden spoon or
whisk and only until everything is combined and
homogenous. Before pouring the custard into the containers with
the caramel, skim the bubbles from the top to
make sure that no bubbles get into your precious flan.

Low and Slow

Don’t be tempted to hurry the process and steam your leche
flan on full blast. The only way to get unbelievably
smooth custard is by cooking it gently over a
constant medium heat. High heat will
inadvertently boil the custard and overcook it, resulting in
scrambled eggs instead of luscious leche
flan.

Watch Out For the Wobble

Test to see if the leche flan is done by giving it
a little shake. The custard’s center should
give a slight wobble to let you know it’s
reached the sweet spot. If the whole custard jiggles
vigorously, it’ll need a few more minutes in the steamer. If it
doesn’t move at all, that means that the custard has over-set
and is a little too stiff.

Keep it Cool

While it might be tempting to turn your leche flan out
as soon as it comes out of the steamer, it’ll need to
cool down completely before it’s completely
set. Turning it out while it’s still warm will risk having the
entire thing collapse because the cooked egg hasn’t had enough
time to stabilize. It’ll be best to chill your
leche flan in the fridge for a few hours in
order to get the best possible set. Anyway, leche flan
is best eaten with just the slightest chill from the fridge.

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This entry was posted in Dessert.