Cooking Filipino for Kulinarya Cooking Club - Blood Orange Leche Flan

Leche Flan

Food News Journal featured this post in their Best of Blogs section on March 1, 2010! WOOHOOO!!

There are times when I ponder existential questions.. the ones about what am I meant to do, where am I heading, What am I.. etc.. Over the course of self-soliloquizing I think I have answered one question - what excites me? I realise the thrill of learning something new and yes, mastering it ofcourse, is what drives me to do anything - from acads to work to blogging to cooking. The idea of "new and not yet discovered by me" holds a potent attraction for me!

So, when I read on Trissa's blog about the Kulinarya Cooking Club that is all about showcasing Filipino cuisine, I eagerly messaged her about becoming a part of the club. Here was an opportunity to learn a new cuisine and, quite expectedly, I jumped all over it. Today, I present to you, my first creation as part of this club - Blood Orange Leche Flan.

I have to admit, I am not a big fan of flan. I think it has to do with the circumstances surrounding the first time I tasted it. A bunch of friends had been to dinner to this fantastic Peruvian joint near my house. There was in that group a friend of a friend whom the rest of us did not know. Long story short, let's just say, the newbie and I didn't quite become the long-lost-friends-suddenly-reunited. (My hub actually said it was like watching two alpha cats sharpening their claws.) So, well, the new person ordered the flan presumptuously for the whole table and well.. it didn't go down with a good taste for me. :-)

Life does have a warped sense of irony, doesn't it?! I have never ordered flan again since that night. So, when the month's dish was revealed, I had to smile... I decided I would go into this challenge with an open mind; let bygones be bygones and give the flan another chance not marred by circumstantial politics... :))

Leche Flan Baked

I googled for the recipe and found that making it was soo simple. I chose to do a blood orange flan because citrus adds a touch of freshness to desserts. This recipe calls for quite an amount of sugar in the caramel as well as the condensed milk. I have a sweet tooth but do not like very sweet stuff. I find that the citrus cuts into the intense sweetness.

The traditional Filipino way of cooking the flan is by steaming it. You can also bake it in a water bath much like Spanish flans are. I decided to try both methods, just for the sake of experimenting. You can see in the photo that there are some textural differences in the end result between the two methods of cooking. The one in the foreground is steamed..

Leche Flan Baked vs Steamed

Verdict: The flan was creamy and smooth but a tad too rich for my taste. We preferred the steamed flan more than the baked one as the latter the denser and heavier while the steamed one was more airy.

Note to self: Next time I won't cook the caramel for as long as I did. Removing the flan was a bit of an issue because I had cooked the caramel to the hard ball stage, so it offered a loot of resistance exiting the mold! But, all good! :) Also, will reduce the amount of condensed milk. This one was too sweet and heavy.

Blood Orange Leche Flan
(3 individual serves)

For the flan:
3 eggs yolks
4 T condensed milk
4 T evaporated milk
1 T blood orange juice
zest of one orange

For the caramel:
1/3 cup blood orange juice
5/8 cup sugar

In a small sauce pan bring the sugar and juice to a boil and heat until sugar caramelizes. I did this till the thermometer read 250F, which, was too long. I think before 230F (thread phase) would be better. If you are using only water then the color change is a better indicator.

Immediately pour the caramel into the molds and set aside. Using a wire whisk gently break the egg yolks and whisk them lightly with the zest. Add the evaporated milk and gently stir to incorporate. Stir in the condensed milk and juice. Divide the flan mix equally between the molds.

Steaming: Place molds in a steam ready with boiling water and steam for 15 minutes or so until the top is set but the content jiggle when shaken

Baking: Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Cover each mold with foil. Place molds in a hot water bath and bake for 30-35 minutes until just done.

Cool on rack to room temperature and then refrigerate. When ready to serve, place the molds in a hot water bath to melt the caramel. Place a plate over the mold and invert. Spoon any remaining caramel over the top of the flan. Serve garnished with a slice of orange or sprig of mint.


Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Trissa -

Trisha -
Kath -
Olive -
Caroline -
Peach -
Cusinera -
Malou -
Cherrie –