As I was writing this, snow was
falling hard outside and though I like looking at the glistening snowflakes they made me think of the warm tropical climate of my archipelago. The shivers down my spine made me long for the sunny days in Manila. Since I needed to write a blog post about Leche Flan I thought I would tie it with some lovely photos of the Philippines.
Of course, when I
think “warm” the first thing that comes to mind is the white sandy beaches of Boracay. It’s not really warm there – more like “hot!” But the beach which has been named one of the world’s best a few times is the main attraction. White and fine as talcum powder, the sand makes walking on the beach not only ideal but truly romantic. Imagine the glorious sunsets and Boracay is well known for that too.
We love Boracay so much that we decided it would be our first stop on our honeymoon tour.
We went there for our honeymoon in 2003. It wasn’t just us
though, we brought the entire English entourage including Mark’s mom and aunt. Fancy that?
It was fun though! From right to left – Mark, Mark Ellis, Janet (Mark’s Aunt), John
Rayner, Paul Priest, Margaret (Mark’s mom), Abby (me) and the manager of the resort
where we stayed in Boracay. We thought that seeing as they had flown that far to
attend our wedding, we should take them to Boracay as well!
Another photo of Boracay taken by Mark. He is such a good photographer. He just knows how to capture the right angle and shot.
two photographs below were taken in Tagaytay where Mark and I got married. It’s
about an hour drive outside of Manila and is a favorite place to visit during
summer for its cooler climate.
is Taal Lake and Taal Volcano in the middle.
With our first and secondary sponsors during our wedding in Tagaytay overlooking Taal Lake. What a happy day!
Here are just some
photos of the place where I spent my childhood. Our town is called Gasan and it
is in the province of Marinduque, one of the 7,107 islands of the
This is Gasan shoreline, our house is
located behind the palm trees in the foreground. When I was growing up I
remember my mom buying the first catch of the day from fishermen who just came
back from their overnight fishing. Fish straight from the sea….you can’t get
any fresher than that! Sometimes in the afternoons either after class or during
summer time my friends and I ride these little bancas (outriggers) around the
shore until the sun sets. Needless to say there was lots of swimming though I
must admit I never really learned how to swim properly and almost drowned
twice. One time, a friend and I got caught out of our depth. I was able to swim
myself but my friend was pulling me under. I really thought that I was going to
drown. All I could do was pray – “O Lord, please save me”. Thankfully, my father
arrived right on time and rescued us both. Amazing. It was in that same ocean
where I almost drowned that I was baptized a few months later.
The island you can
see in the photograph above is Gaspar Island one of the three islands that
belong to my town. Every summer we go to this island for swimming, snorkelling,
barbecues and to have some fun!
This is the sand bar that you land in as
you approach Gaspar Island. The water is so clean and clear here as you can see. Our little island Marinduque is truly paradise in itself.
It will always be my home.
Now about the recipe, Filipinos have a
sweet tooth and we always love to eat, too! And one of our favorite desserts is Leche
Flan (Creme Caramel) – a classic Filipino dessert. Traditionally, Leche Flan is steamed but here I am baking it instead so it’s much easier.
the caramel topping:
6 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
Don’t forget the llaneras or custard molds/ramekins. I use 2
llaneras (Pinoy oval-shaped tin molds) for this recipe. Have them at hand.
To make the caramel, place the sugar and water
in a shallow pan in medium heat. Stir the mixture and cook until the sugar melts
and begins to boil. When it starts to really thicken, immediately pour the sugar on the tins/mold. Divide it evenly between the molds (if using more than 1). Spread it until it covers the bottom of the molds. The
caramel should harden immediately. Set aside.
7 egg yolks (8 if your yolks are quite small) – separate them well from the egg whites
1 cup whole milk (2 % milk is fine if
that is preferred)
3/4 of a can of condensed milk
Zest of one lemon or
1/4 tsp lemon extract (2 tsps of lemon juice also work)
Preheat the oven to 375 F/
Whisk together the egg yolks in a big bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix
Pour the mixture in the prepared custard molds or ramekins. Place
the molds in a baking dish big enough to hold all. Fill the pan with hot water
(hot water from the tap is fine) up to half the height of the molds.
Bake for about
30-35 mins. (Adjust the time depending on the size of molds being used). For my
llaneras, 35 minutes is just right. The custard should have set nicely at this point. It will firm up more as you leave it overnight in the fridge.
Cool completely on a rack and then
refrigerate. Overnight refrigeration is recommended.
To serve, run a thin
knife around the mold and then invert onto a plate. Enjoy such creamy deliciousness! By the way, I used a heart cookie cutter to achieve the heart shape but you can of course use a heart-shaped mold if you have one.
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