Creme caramel is a dessert I grew up loving. I actually grew up eating the pre-made ones that you buy from the supermarket - my parents would always buy these as a treat and Mum never really had time to make them. I remember that I would never be able to finish a whole serve and absolutely loved eating the caramel, I'd drown the custard in caramel and eat most of it leaving behind just custard with not a lot of caramel left and gave it back to my parents to finish.
Growing up the pre-made stuff was fine to eat, until I discovered the home made Vietnamese version that my aunty made. Our version is a much lighter custard, I remember my aunty teaching me the recipe, it was pretty much based on ratios and a can of condensed milk to measure. It was made with whole eggs, condensed milk and water. It's also steamed rather than baked which is quite a skill as to not let the custard bubble - something I have never quite mastered.
Being introduced to the Filipino version called Leche Flan was a whole new revelation for me, it's one of Ryan's favourites. It was dense, it was rich, and it was evil - in a good way! Every time there was a function of some sort in the Romero household you could pretty much guarantee that someone would bring Leche Flan. Ryan's mum doesn't really make desserts, so it was only ever at these functions that we were able to eat it, and it's been a looooong time since they've had any functions at their household, nor have we attended any big Filo gatherings together.
The first time I had made Leche Flan was back in January this year, according to Ryan and his mum, I hadn't quite hit the mark. It wasn't as dense/rich as a traditional flan and I was told I needed to use condensed milk (which I did). I actually googled Leche Flan and picked one of the first recipes in the search results, I thought I had favourited it but can't seem to find it on my list. I think the recipe was an adaption from the author and at the time reading it I thought it sounded alright. Presentation wise it wasn't the best, the custard got a little caught at the bottom of my ramekins so were a little hard to unmould. My caramel was also just a touch on the dark side.
Recently (about a month ago) I had the itch to make Leche Flan again and wanted to make it as authentic as I could, this time I had the power of a food blogging community and Twitter. Someone on Twitter actually gave me a link to their blog for Leche Flan. I didn't know this person, nor was I following them so was suprised that they had responded to me. I read through the recipe and thought "wow this sounds really rich" but it was their mum's recipe and who could say no to that. I pretty much had all the ingredients at home except for evaporated milk so had to walk up the road to the shops to buy it.
The recipe uses 12 egg yolks, yes 12! I've read other recipes which call for 10 yolks with the same amount of evaporated milk and condensed milk. It also meant I had 12 whites leftover! Oh macarons!
Making creme caramel/leche flan is not all that hard once you find a good recipe. All the ingredients go into the same jug and stirred. The trick is not to stir too hard to cause air bubbles in the mix. Oops, you can see some tiny ones on the surface there. The egg yolks didn't seem to want to break up, should probably have beaten them up seperately before adding to the milk mixture.
Once combined, use a fine sieve to catch all the bits of egg which havn't broken up. The sieve I had to use wasn't as fine as I had hoped so I still get little bits of egg in the mix, no matter though as they float to the top during cooking and then the whole thing gets tipped over so you won't see it anyway.
I think I wasn't feeling 100% that day, for some reason it took me 3 goes to cook the caramel, I kept ending up with sugar crystals but couldn't seem to figure out why.
Last time I made individual custards but I know that it's usually traditionally cooked in a large tin of sorts and then flipped and served onto a plate. I decide to use my two oval dishes which I had bought from Ikea. One for us and one for Ryan's family.
Golden baked custards. They are cooked in the oven in a bain marie (water bath) and covered with aluminium foil so they don't overbrown.
For photo purposes I flipped one out, it's so shiney! I end up cutting this one up and putting it into a container for home. I take the other one in the dish to Ryan's place. It's a little thinner than I had anticipated but as it's so rich you don't really need a large piece. I need to practice my unmoulding of these things still.
So the verdict? Ryan loved it "Very rich but oh so good!". Ryan's mum loved it too but suggested that I should have added some lime peel as that's how it's traditionally done, oh drats why did I have to leave it out. It would have added another dimension to it though, I remember the ones I've had always had a hint of citrus or even possibly ginger. With the amount of egg yolks and condensed/evaporated milk I can see why I only ever get to eat this on special occasions.
If I were to attempt a double batch, that's a lot of eggs! I might just do it with 10 yolks next time though for comparison. So what did I do with my 12 egg whites? I attempted macarons again of course! Two batches of macarons and a batch of amaretti biscuits and even then still had 2 whites left, posts to come.
***Don't forget to enter my giveaway - An Edgell Hamper worth approximately $100, the basket is pretty sexy! Ends Monday 19th July***