Leche Flan
Recipe courtesy of Richmond Flores for Food Network Kitchen

Leche Flan

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 6 hr 20 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
This indulgent Filipino caramel and custard dessert—a staple for holidays, family gatherings and parties—has a luscious, creamy texture. The lemon zest adds a nice bright note, but feel free to leave it out.



  1. Add about 2 tablespoons of the sugar to a small saucepan over low heat. Allow the sugar to melt, about 15 minutes. Gradually add a tablespoon of sugar at a time, slowly swirling it and allowing it to melt in before adding the next tablespoon. This is a long process, which needs constant attention to avoid burning. When all the sugar is completely melted, it will become a rich, dark caramel color, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  2. Carefully pour the caramel into a 9-inch cake pan, coating the bottom of the pan. Allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  
  4. Prepare a water bath: Place a large roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil, then carefully pour it into the roasting pan in the oven. 
  5. When the caramel is cool, slowly whisk together the egg yolks in a medium bowl, then add the evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest (if using). Whisk gently to avoid adding air into the custard. Air will cause bubbles, taking away from the smooth and dense texture. 
  6. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into the cake pan. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. 
  7. Once the oven is at 350 degrees F, carefully place the cake pan in the water bath.  
  8. Bake until the center of the custard is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove the cake pan from the water and allow the custard to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours and up to 5 days. 
  9. To serve, unmold the flan: Allow the flan to come to room temperature (see Cook’s Note). Take a sharp paring knife and run it between the edge of the flan and the cake pan. Hold a large plate firmly over the pan and, in one smooth motion, invert the plate and pan. Carefully remove the pan. 

Cook’s Note

This isn’t necessary, but the flan is easier to unmold when at room temperature and is more pleasant to eat.