Lately the months of June and July have been a whirlwind. Between celebrating our anniversary and helping Paul prep for the San Diego Comic-Con near the end of July, my birthday falls in between. As my age ticks upward, the birthdays are less and less important to me unless it’s the “big one.” Since that won’t thankfully happen in a few years, I’m happy with just having a day to do whatever I want. This year I wanted to have dinner at a nice place and specifically told Paul I did not want a cake. After a fantastic meal at The Pearl, I did want a cake after all! Previous years he has baked me a cake or bought me an ice cream cake but there was no cake to be had anywhere. Lesson learned: always get me a cake regardless of what I say because I have a huge sweet tooth. To Paul’s credit, he did follow through on very specific hints of what I wanted. A watch. Not any watch but a watch I could wear around my neck.
I pointed him to Etsy showed him a few pieces I liked and he got me not only one but two timepieces!
I’m pretty happy that when I hinted that I wanted a timepiece to wear around my neck, he didn’t get me something that Flavor Flav would proudly wear around his neck — grill not included. Although admittedly, having a larger timepiece would be help with my failing eyesight.
Other things with the big stack of packages he had for me was a molecular gastrometry kit, a cooking thermometer and a few cookbooks, one by Anthony Bourdain! Can you see a theme here?
As for the cake, it was finally had, cooked right here in our kitchen and a favorite of mine since I was a kid: leche flan. Very, very similar to flan had in Mexican restaurant but based on a recipe from the Philippines. So bad for you but so soooo good.
There are several versions of the recipe online but this is changed somewhat to fit my taste and/or how I remember my mom doing it. The secret is to carefully watch the sugar as it caramelizes in the oven so it doesn’t burn and to steam bake the flan.
Leche Flan5 egg yolks 2 whole eggs 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk 1 can (14 oz.) evaporated milk 1 cup water 1 tablespooon vanilla extract 1/3 cup sugar for caramelization
Heat oven to 450 degrees F
Fill baking dish with sugar and place in oven. Watch the oven carefully until the sugar melts and turns a golden brown. Remove pan from oven and let cool. Turn oven down to 325 degrees F.
Combined egg yolks, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, water and vanilla extract in a bowl until blended. Strain mixture into pan with caramel. Place pan inside larger baking dish, large enough to hold the pan and place in oven. Fill larger baking dish with water midway or until water is level with leche flan inside the pan.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into leche flan comes out clean.
Refrigerate leche flan until cool. To unmold, run a knife around the sides of the pan. Place the pan in hot water to reheat the caramel for a few minutes and invert into serving dish.