The Best Ever. EVER.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 fresh lemon
8 large egg yolks (discard egg whites or keep for another recipe)
2 cans Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
zest from 2 medium-sized limes
4 aluminum foil loaf pans; if you have metal or glass baking loaf pans, those work out well, too.
2 large rectangular baking pans or 4 round baking pans for water bath
1 muslin-type bag – think of old-fashioned flour bags or those bags hams come in.
Make the syrup first.
Pour sugar into a non-coated pan. It is important to use a non-coated pan otherwise the mixture will not caramelize properly. Pour water over sugar in a circular motion to cover all the sugar. Squeeze 1/4 lemon – the lemon keeps the mixture from hardening. Do not mix at any point.
Simmer under low heat for about an hour. DO NOT try to rush the process or your syrup will get ruined.
Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Discard egg whites (or make meringue!).
Gently combine egg yolks with the milks. You can use a little of the evaporated milk to scrape out the thicker condensed milk from the can. Do not beat the mixture.
Add lime zest and stir gently.
Pre-heat oven to 350* at this point and check your syrup.
It should be turning a nice golden color and gently bubbling. It is ready when it’s a golden amber color. Check it often because once it gets to that color, you want to immediately distribute it between your 4 loaf pans. As you pour the syrup into each pan, tilt the pan to coat the bottom. Do not worry if the bottom of your pan is not fully coated. You’ll be surprised at how much syrup you end up with when you set our your flan for presentation.
Next, prepare your water baths. Take your rectangular or round baking pans and add about a fingertip of tap water to each pan. This water bath will prevent your flan from burning. Do not overfill the pan because when the water starts to boil in the oven, you do not want it to boil over into your flan. Set aside.
Take your muslin bag, drape in a large bowl and carefully pour about 2 cups of the flan mixture into the bag. Gently squeeze the contents of the bag into another bowl taking care not to let the mixture overflow from the top. Repeat until you’ve transferred all the mixture.
This process gives the mixture another good blending while keeping out the zest, any egg white residue – it’s why my Mom’s leche flan has such a smooth texture.
A note about the muslin bag: you want it to be fine enough so that the egg & milk mixture easily passes throughout without being so thin that all the “impurities” – the lime zest, egg white residue, etc…don’t pass through.
With a measuring cup, evenly distribute the flan mixture amongst the 4 loaf pans.
Place each loaf pan into the water baths – 2 per large rectangular pan or 1 per round pan.
Place in oven and bake for approximately 1.5 hours.
Once cooled, refrigerate. To serve, turn over onto serving platter.