Leche Flan (Melt-in-the-Mouth Custard)

I prefer slow-baking my leche flan rather than steaming it.   This slow-baking translates to much smoother, much softer and truly melt-in-the-mouth goodness.

Caramel Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Leche Flan:
6 pieces egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tall can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Caramelize sugar in a small saucepan until amber in color.  Slowly add water and continue cooking, stirring constantly until mixture turns syrupy.  Pour over 2 foil-round pans with plastic lid.  Tilt the pans to spread evenly the syrup.  Set aside.

Combine all leche flan ingredients, blending well with a spatula (don’t use hand-held whisk or electric mixer).  Divide mixture into 2 prepared pans.   Bake baine marie style in a 300 F oven until top is set but custard is still jiggly when pan is moved.  May take about 1 1/2 hours.  Cool (better refrigerate) and invert into a serving tray (release sides with knife).

Again this was supposed to be added to Halo-halo mix (various fruits in shaved ice) but the guests just enjoyed eating this custard as is.


Ube Haleya (Violet Yam)

You will need a pack of frozen grated ube, available in frozen section of Oriental or Asian stores.   Butter a foil-round pan with plastic lid.

1 pack (1 lb) frozen grated ube, thawed (if somewhat moist, strain first in sieve)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tall can evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter

In a wok or saucepan, combine grated ube, condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar.  Cook over medium fire until very thick, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.   Add butter, mixing well.

Spoon into buttered pan.  Cool.

This is recipe I used for the ube haleya I brought to 4th July celebration at the Rebellos that the guests enjoyed spoons after spoons of these better-than-storebought ube haleya.  A bit of arm exercises was involved in the cooking, but paid off great in the end.   This was supposed to be spooned on top of Halo-halo (various fruits in shaved ice), but one spoon was just not enough.

July 4th at the Rebellos

I hate summer outdoor parties — if ever I’m forced to attend, you’d find me staying indoors watching TV instead.   But yesterday’s July 4th BBQ party at the Rebellos (Tito Gerry and Tita Ellie) was simply perfect.   Not much traffic driving to their place (took us an hour to get to Franklin Park).   Clouds and little breeze were celebrating with us — no sun-protection lotions needed, no electric fans and somehow mosquitoes weren’t disturbed with all the celebration noises.

As soon as the grill was fired and Tita Millete’s 24-hour marinated pork belly were laid out, everyone was ready for “good eats”.    It was all about the bbq — pampano (fish), shrimps and pork, with some diced fresh tomatoes, chopped onion, vinegar dips (with garlic) — and boy, no forks and spoons this time, so casual, so Filipino, so much FUN.

And when it was time for dessert — Chocolate fountain (with fresh strawberries and large marshmallows), Selecta-brand Ube and Mango Ice cream and Halo-halo (shaved ice with all the wonderful goodies: leche flan, ube haleya, sweetened beans, and macapuno, evaporated milk, omg!).

I think this is my favorite holiday from now on — casual dress, no gifts to bring, no special party foods to make.   It’s 4th of July — and it’s a party, baby!