Almost every country has their own version of this custard dessert. In some countries, this dessert is called crème caramel or flan and is made with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is custard with a hard caramel top. In the Philippines, flan is known as leche flan and is a heavier version, made with condensed milk and more egg yolks. One of my cousins taught me how to make leche flan when I was a teenager. Our families would gather for potlucks during holidays and this was the dessert she would bring to share. My mother liked it so much she asked me to learn how to make. My cousin makes leche flan the traditional way: Steamed over a stove top. I began experimenting after making crème brûlée and started baking leche flan in warm water. Any way leche flan is prepared, this dessert is tasty, rich and heavenly.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 13 ounce can evaporated milk
1 13 ounce can condensed milk
10 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or lemon essence

In a saucepan, mix sugar and water. Bring to a boil for a few minutes until the sugar caramelizes. Pour the caramelized sugar into two moulds. Spread the caramel on the bottom of the moulds and set aside. In a large bowl, mix evaporated milk, condensed milk, egg yolks and vanilla. Gently pour the mixture on top of the caramel in the aluminum moulds. Fill the moulds to about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick. Steam for about 20 minutes OR pre-heat oven to about 370 degrees. Before baking the leche flan, place the moulds on a larger baking pan half filled with very hot water. Bake for about 45 minutes. You can tell when the leche flan is cooked by inserting a knife. If it comes out clean, the flan is cooked. Cool, then refrigerate. To serve: Run a thin knife around the edges of the mould to loosen the leche flan. Place a platter on top of the mould and quickly turn upside down to position the golden brown caramel on top.