Mom’s Leche Flan (Instant Pot Version)

by arnold on December 30, 2016

My mom had a stroke 11 years ago and as a result, she hasn’t been able to do a lot of cooking since then, especially not something as fussy as making a leche flan. Last year (Christmas 2015), my mom said she wanted to make leche flan for Christmas. She tried to talk me through the process, but they didn’t turn out as well as she wanted, which frustrated and saddened her because making leche flan was one of her specialities.

As Christmas 2016 approached, I thought about making leche flan again, especially after seeing a sous vide version on Betty Ann Besa-Qurino’s blog. However, like many people in the last couple of years, I bought an Instant Pot on Amazon and have been fascinated with the cult-like community that has emerged. One of the first things I thought of doing when I got Instant Pot was seeing if you could pressure cook a leche flan. The answer is a definite “Yes,” and it’s so easy that making flan is no longer a chore.

I used my mom’s recipe, which I’ve modified since I originally posted it, and referred to Amy and Jacky’s Creme Caramel post at Pressure Cooker Recipes to figure out the timing. I used small ramekins to make this for Christmas, but you should be able to use any pan or mold that fits in the Instant Pot to make this.

Ingredients

7 egg yolks
1 egg
2 cups evaporated milk
1 tsp. lemon extract or lemon zest
1 cup sugar
Extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar to caramelize before adding the rest of the mixture

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and gently whisk (or use a hand or stand mixer on the lowest speed) to mix the custard together. To ensure the smoothness of the custard, you should strain the mixture while before pouring it into the baking dish or mold.
  2. Place extra sugar in a small pan and heat it over medium heat until the sugar melts and browns.
  3. Pour caramelized sugar into your baking pan or mold so it coats the bottom.
  4. Add custard mixture to your baking pan or mold on top of the caramelized sugar.
  5. Cover the baking pan or mold with foil and place it into Instant Pot on top of the trivet or steaming rack. I was able to fit 4 small ramekins in my 6-quart Instant Pot.
  6. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot.
  7. Cook on High for 9 minutes and let it naturally release.
  8. Remove from Instant Pot and let cool on the counter. You can also refrigerate the leche flan after it reaches room temperature if you’re making this ahead of time.
  9. When you’re ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the flan. Place a serving plate on top of the pan and invert it quickly. Be careful not to spill! When properly executed, the flan will be golden brown on top and yellowish on the bottom.

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Froot Loops Cereal Milk Philippine Ice Candy

by arnold on March 31, 2012

Confession: The subject of this latest Kulinarya challenge is completely new to me!

I had never heard of Philippine Ice Candy until Jun Belen brought it up to me as we were discussing this month’s challenge. I was born in California and didn’t grow up eating Philippine ice candy. I grew up on Popsicles and Fudgesicles, Push-Ups and the occasional Otter Pop when I was at a friend’s house. Oh…and Thrifty ice cream. Remember when triple scoops of Thrifty’s legendary Chocolate Malted Krunch were 15 cents? Yeah…I’m that old. :)

Ice candy is typically made using long plastic bags that are tied at the top. These bags are usually 1½x10 inches and from what I hear, can be found in the US in Filipino markets. I didn’t have a chance to get to my usual spots, but I found 2×10 inch bags on eBay, which produce a thicker ice candy, which was just fine with me. Use your favorite popsicle mold if you can’t find the bags.

While doing research for this challenge, I loved seeing all the different ways ice candy is served in the Philippines; the use of fresh fruits is pretty mind-boggling. But if I was going to do this challenge any justice, I’d have to draw from the memories of my own American childhood.

Cereal Milk Ice Candy
Fruity Pebbles Ice Candy (center) guarded by Froot Loops Ice Candy.

Cereal milk has always been an indulgence, especially when artificially flavored fruity or chocolately cereals are involved. It’s analogous to the icing on the cake; an extra reward after finishing off something delectable and sweet. Over the past few years, cereal milk’s popularity grew when it became a drink and a featured ingredient at David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar. Bottles of cereal milk, cereal milk soft serve ice cream, and cereal milk panna cotta — along with Milk Bar’s compost cookie — made Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi famous, and the official Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook was released in October 2011.

You don’t really need to follow the recipe in the book…cereal milk is made by simply steeping cereal in milk and then straining it. Tosi adds a little brown sugar and salt after steeping to balance flavors, but your own taste buds will let you know if you’re satisfied with the flavor after steeping. Tosi’s recipes use toasted Corn Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, and Cap’n Crunch, but you can use whatever cereal you want. Serious Eats has a fantastic post about the best chocolate cereal to make chocolate cereal milk (they preferred Cocoa Puffs and I concur with them that Cocoa Pebbles are generally awful.


Making a batch of Cocoa Puffs cereal milk.

For this version, I used Froot Loops because they were my favorite fruity cereal when I was a kid (and I was always kind of a Kellogg’s loyalist). My first batch of cereal milk was made with Fruity Pebbles using the Momofuku recipe. I liked it a lot, especially for the color, but it was really sweet. I made a second batch with Froot Loops, which I freestyled, and was really happy with the results. Froot Loops aren’t as sweet as Fruity Pebbles, which I preferred, but you’ll miss out on the pretty peach pink color. The Momofuku cereal milk recipe is below, but feel free to make your cereal milk however you like. :)

Fruity Pebbles Cereal Milk (from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook)

2 cups (100g) Fruity Pebbles
3¾ cup (825g) cold milk (I used 1%)
2 Tbsp (30g) tightly packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp (1g) kosher salt

  1. Crush the Fruity Pebbles with your hands until it’s the texture of coarse sand.
  2. In a large pitcher, add milk and crushed cereal and stir vigorously. Steep mixture for 20 minutes at room temperature
  3. Strain milk into a bowl using a fine mesh sieve
  4. Whisk brown sugar and salt into the milk until fully dissolved. Store in a glass pitcher or milk jug, refrigerated, for up to one week. (I doubt it will last that long!)

Cereal Milk Ice Candy (inspired by Busog Sarap)

2 cups cereal milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl or blender and stir to combine.
  2. Use a funnel to fill the bags leaving enough room so you can tie them off at the top. Tina at Pinay in Texas has some really good instructions on how to do this.
  3. Place ice candy on flat on a tray or plate and put them in the freezer for at least 8 hours. When they’re ready, the ice candy will be firm but not rock hard.
  4. Cut the knot off the ice bag and enjoy! :)

You can join the Kulinarya Cooking Club too!

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