Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 6-7 hours
To make the perfect leche flan (or caramel custard, for non-Filipinos), you'll need a lot of patience and practice. Work on this recipe and let us know in the comments section when you've got it down pat.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 large whole egg
- 7 large egg yolks
- Whisk together milk and sugar in a pot. Scrape the vanilla beans from the pod into the milk mixture.
- Put pot on medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and milk near boiling. Make sure that the milk doesn’t boil.
- Reduce heat to a very low simmer and simmer without stirring for three to four hours, skimming the foam that forms on top. It’s ready when it has a light coffee color and is syrupy.
- Strain through a fine sieve into a measuring cup. Let cook completely and cover with a cling film.
- Preheat oven to 250°F (120° C). Pour boiling water into a roasting pan and place a 7.5”x3.5” loaf pan inside to warm the bottom.
- In a small, heavy saucepan, pour sugar and add water. Place over medium-high heat and swirl without stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to a boil, swirling occasionally until it is golden amber.
- Immediately pour into the loaf pan, tilting until the entire bottom surface is covered.
- Remove the loaf pan from the roasting pan, and let the caramel cool until hard.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg and yolks, and then add the dulce de leche.
- Strain into the loaf pan, and put the loaf pan back to the roasting pan.
- Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.
- Bake for at least 3 hours, replenishing the hot water if needed, until the middle barely jiggles.
- Remove the loaf pan and let cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.
- To remove from the mold, loosen the edges with a thin knife, then either pass the bottom over a flame or dip the bottom in boiling water for half a minute. Invert into a platter.