Tuesday, August 29, 2006


This is my all-time favorite dessert — leche flan or crème caramel; a custard dessert with its top layered with soft caramel.

Supposedly French in origin, it has spread across Europe and has become known as flan in Spanish-speaking countries. European restaurants love the ease of making it. It can also be prepared in advance, chilled, and served as needed.

Crème caramel is a variant of plain custard (crème) where some caramel syrup is poured into the mold before adding the custard base. After the custard has set, it is turned out, leaving a caramel sauce on top. Like all custards, flan is made with whole eggs, milk or cream, and sugar. The typical flavoring is simply vanilla.

As a kid, whenever my parents took me to fiestas or wedding receptions in which the meals are served buffet-style, almost always, my mother had to ask the host if I could be given a piece of leche flan first; otherwise, I would just as easily spend the entire affair playing with my cousins and not eat. The main dishes held no interest for me, only the desserts; specifically, the flan. Once I had a piece, I would then eat some of the main sumptuous dishes.

In New York City, one of my brothers really excelled in making leche flan. However, whenever I had sudden cravings for it, I’d often stop by Dean & Deluca down in Soho and just get myself some crème burlee. At some restaurants here in Metro Manila, many now offer crème burlee, but leche flan is still my prime choice.

While vacationing in Subic as a youngster, my aunt who had a poultry business would always delight us with leche flan every Sunday. This was her way of thanking us for helping her gather the eggs from the chicken coops in the afternoons. However, there was once an incident which made my aunt to never allow me to gather eggs without the supervision of one of her maids. You see, she once caught me pushing back the egg with my finger as the hen labored desperately to lay it once and for all.

By the way, she was the same evil aunt who unmercifully crucified and burnt my pet pig at the stake. If it wasn’t for her leche flan, I would have never returned to her house for vacation ever again.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 8:31 AM


Anonymous niceheart said...

Leche flan is also my favourite dessert.

And oh my. What were you thinking pushing the egg back inside the hen. :) You must be very young.

August 29, 2006 9:16 AM  

Blogger Rey said...

eric you should try Jean's leche flan. Aside from her cooking, this is the main reason I was brave enough to go to their house while we're still steady in college, even though my father-in-law then was a hard one to get along. :)

August 29, 2006 10:33 AM  

Blogger ladybug said...

Me too! I love leche flan. Hinay hinay lang at baka magka-diabetes.

August 29, 2006 11:27 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

Wow, another fave! Ano ba to, tataba ako sa kakabasa lang . My children love this as well. :)

I love it as it is and over halo-halo.! o, saan ang masarap na leche flan sa Manila aber, puera sa mga kusina ninyo. I mean the commercial one.

August 29, 2006 12:03 PM  

Anonymous melai said...

hinay hinay sa matamis :) ang blood sugar baka tumaas :) ..... sa pyestahan kahit na hindi na rin ako makikain basta leche flan lang ayus na, syempre samahan pa ng beans at suman :)

August 29, 2006 4:19 PM  

Blogger vina said...

oooooh leche flan...be still my heart and sugar level!

i have an office mate here who makes delicious leche flan - kaya lang killer talaga coz she uses all yolk lang.

but i'm still biased towards bacolod leche flan...

August 29, 2006 6:39 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I was very young then, Niceheart :) She also had a flock of white geese who got a kick out of chasing me to snap at my leg. That was a treacherous farm she ran. But boy she was good in making those leche flan!

Okay, Rey ... if I ever make it to Singapore I will give Jean ample notice to make one for us to enjoy with tea or coffee. If you risked having to deal with her father just because of her leche flan, then it has got to be real good :)

That was the main cause of my aunt's death, Ladybug -- diabetes. The only one in our family afflicted by this dreadful disease. I rarely eat leche flan -- only at special occasions.

Whenever my mother craves for it, Ipanema, I would usually go to Goldilock's (as the piece on the photo above). I had a piece kasi this morning and before feasting on it, I took a picture and later on decided to blog about it ...hehehe.

Paminsan-minsan lang po Melai :) Kasi pag madalas na nawawala na din ang excitement. Hmmmm...beans at suman. Masarap ata yan, ah! :)

Wow Vina, talk about extreme leche flan! All yolk, ha? Bacolod leche plan ba talagang mas masarap? Do they have it here at Bacolod restaurants in Metro Maniila?

August 29, 2006 7:14 PM  

Blogger Analyse said...

haha, i really had a good laugh with that 'pushing back the egg' part. i love leche flan too, im quite an expert on that, i use only egg yolks and add some zest of calamansi, yummy, bonjour les calories, as the frenchies say hehe. I largely prefer our version of leche flan than their crème caramel here.. i love their crème brûlée tho..

August 29, 2006 9:01 PM  

Blogger jase said...

OMG! I love Leche Flan. Now, i remember my friend who used to make the best Leche Flan ever. I never got to ask for the recipe though. Though, you could get it from recipe books - some people have developed their recipes that are really outstanding!

August 29, 2006 9:14 PM  

Anonymous jhay said...

I too love Leche Flan! My girlfriend's grandma makes heavenly leche flan during the town fiesta. Yummm..

August 29, 2006 9:28 PM  

Anonymous Major Tom said...

The hen and pig episode was really comical; it might have been such a hard time pushing that egg while it was so warm.

Uhmmm, leche flan. It was my youngest child's birthday last saturday and my wife had some leche flan, but I didn't mind it siince I've been eating since the time I can remember. Now I am regretting.

August 30, 2006 12:33 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

I just had a second read on your post and find the pushing the egg part hilarious and i love the piggy story too.

That's where I get the leche flan too Eric, at Goldi.

VINA: I've tasted Bacolod leche flan given by a family friend and it's heaven. :)

August 30, 2006 12:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I'm sure Frenchguy lovs you even more for your flan, Analyze :)

Creme burlee is much lighter but love its hard caramelized top -- sort of like cracking the eggshell before eating a hard-boiled egg.

I think that's what happens, Jase -- people would learn to make flan from basic recipe books and then, as they get to make more of it, personalized recipes come into play. We ought to have a grand "leche flan bakeoff" if ever we all get together in person :)

See what I mean? Everyone knows at least one whose leche flan is the greatest -- just like Jhay's girlfriend's grandma!

Belated Happy birthday to your youngest, Major Tom. Hmmm....how can you ever ignore leche flan? Hahaha!

Thanks! BTW, yes it was warm and so so covered with poop as some whould think. But that hen sure didn't know what was going on because she remained on that same spot trying to eject it from her system.

But that pet pig of mine I'd still fondly remember now and then.

What's up with this Bacolod leche flan, Ipanema? Now I have got to taste it ... hehehe. But don't bother ordering one from Bacolod, Vina. I'm sure one is available here in Metro Manila :)

And yes ... Goldi's flan isn't all that bad :)

August 30, 2006 7:08 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Just want to share comment made by Beth (via cut and paste), which she posted on "My Life with a Pig" entry:

beth said...
Eric, this is really nice. I kept wondering at the start why you would call your aunt evil if she gave you something that she thought would be better after that bite from the dog (i'm scared of barking dogs too by the way since i've been bitten 3 times already)that is until your father told you you'll take breakfast somewhere... so sorry!!! Was she really that mean or just plain insensitive???

I love Babe the movie. Just thinking of it makes me smile and how the 3 mice were telling the story was nice too (they were mice, right?). Sometimes you wonder if they could really communicate since one time I was at my aunt for vacation, she caught a chicken which we were suppose to bring home, she placed it in a bamboo cage and I'm sure I saw the duck laughing at the chicken (bad duck, laughing at the misfortune of others!)
I still don't think it was just my imagination. she was really chuckling... oh well, maybe they do laugh at us and at life... okay, your post has been long ago but i was only able to read it now. :-)

August 29, 2006 11:37 AM

Senor Enrique said...
Hi Beth!

My aunt was actually a sweet unmarried woman. She loved kids so much she adopted and raised two. She also loved animals, and that was why she had quite a collection during her younger days. She was also my father's favorite sister and helped her a lot with her home-based enterprises.

In writing this memoir, I had to put on the voice and speak from a perspective of a young child that I was then when it happened -- a technique I learned from watching French and Italian films while in NYC.

"Babe" is one of those movies I never get tired of watching again and again whenever shown on TV.

August 30, 2006 6:51 AM

August 30, 2006 7:15 AM  

Blogger vina said...

see? see? bacolod leche flan talaga!

thanks for the validation, ipanema!

i saw one in the dessert menu of Bacolod Chicken Inasal (not Chickn Bacolod or Bacolod Chicken or Chicken House), señor, though i haven't tasted it yet. but i'm sure it uses the same recipe. there are outlets in Robinson's Ermita, Glorietta (beside SM), SM Megamall, and a free standing restaurant along jupiter st.

August 30, 2006 12:06 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

Where can I find leche flan in Manila?


August 31, 2006 10:20 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Goldilock's is one resource and all SM Malls usually have at least one Goldilock's, Kyels.

August 31, 2006 10:23 AM  

Anonymous kyels said...

Alrighty, thanks for the information Eric.


August 31, 2006 12:52 PM  

Blogger christine said...

I'm so intrigued by Bacolod Leche Flan. I will have to either ask my brother to bring me some, or use that as a reason to visit him. In the meantime, I'll try the ones available here. Thanks for the tip, Vina!

August 31, 2006 6:57 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You're welcome, Kyels :)

You, too, Christine? Yes, I wonder what makes this flan really special. I'll see Vina this Saturday and I'll ask her to explain it more to me then :)

August 31, 2006 8:47 PM  

Anonymous aurea said...

Any chance you could share your brother's recipe or technique? When I was in high school I performed lots of experiments trying to make the perfect leche flan. Sadly, I still have not attained it. The last time I tried, it was great warm but was too hard refrigerated.

There are a lot more sinful desserts than leche flan. At least leche flan has protein - eggs and milk :-)

September 02, 2006 8:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Unfortunately, Aurea, that brother of mine had passed away a couple of years ago. And I never learned his recipe :(

September 02, 2006 8:15 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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