Green Tea Leche Flan

Before I’ll be pegged as a Christmas fanatic: No, this is not another post about how we are a little too excited for Christmas.  Anyway…

Is there a difference between creme caramel and leche flan? I’d like to believe that the differences aren’t really glaring (that’s a ‘no’). Plus Wikipedia backs me up.

Before custard purists hurl burning caramel at me, let me just say that custard making is subjective. Sure, there’s  crème caramel and crème brûlée but I didn’t know what these were up until I started watching cooking shows. I basically grew up with my grandmother’s leche flan recipe. Which is the best. And before I earn haters, come on, every household in the Philippines thinks their leche flan recipe is the best. Her leche flan became my standard when I tried to make crème caramel. 

She basically makes her leche flan for parties so I’ve never really seen here use a bowl. She uses a palanggana. You know, slightly large basin ideally used for washing clothes. Yeah, you read that right. I’ve never seen her use measuring cups either. And she doesn’t use a water bath; she steams it by placing one mold on top of the other with barbecue sticks in between.

And after two ‘pretty good’ attempts, I’d still believe her recipe is still the best. And I’ll resign myself to my newfound belief that crème caramel and leche flan are peas of the same pod, albeit not exactly identical, they vary from place to place, but you get the picture. I hope.

I used a water bath, and painstakingly looked for a recipe that does not use heavy cream since it’s not readily available where I am. Plus grandma’s leche flans never use cream – milk (she uses Evap, I use Fresh) and eggs are the way to go. I hope I can post her recipe here sooner or later.

And I made these with green tea powder because my it was my cousin’s birthday (he turned 12 yesterday) and he liked my first batch a lot. This recipe yielded really soft custard that still jiggles a bit but that’s the way he likes it. I’m not sure if he knows there’s green tea in it but what the heck, he’s 12.

Green Tea Creme Caramel/Leche Flan (good for 4 small ramekins)

adapted from le gourmet tv 

  • 1 ½ cup sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ½ cups milk (I used fresh milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 sachet sweet green tea powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a heavy skillet, combine 1 cup sugar and water and heat on medium swirling frequently but not stirring until sugar caramelizes.
  3. Remove from heat when amber in color. Pour caramel into 4 ramekins and swirl the container to coat the bottom.
  4. Heat milk on stove top until hot but not boiling. Add the green tea powder and mix well.
  5. In a bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar until foamy. Add milk in a steady stream while whisking.
  6. Add vanilla. Pour mixture over a fine mesh strainer. Distribute evenly among the ramekins.
  7. Set ramekins in a large pan (I used one tin pan and another glass dish because that’s what we have) and carefully pour boiling water to come half way up the sides of the ramekins.
  8. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until custards are set. Remove from oven and allow to cool and set in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Serve cold and enjoy!

And I know I placed a tea bag in the photo but the recipe called for green tea powder. The tea bag was used as a prop but I did try steeping the tea in milk for the first attempt. You can do either of the two methods. But using powder eliminates the fuss. 🙂