Leche flan is a classic Filipino custard dessert that may be eaten warm or cold. Ultra-rich flans use only egg yolks and evaporated milk; you need just a sliver to satisfy your craving. Flans containing whole eggs and whole milk are still quite rich, but you can enjoy a bigger slice. The bottom of the leche flan mold or pan is coated with caramel, resulting in a sugary, brown glaze once you invert the cooked flan onto the serving dish. The glaze adds another depth of color and sweetness to the treat.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour 1 cup of sugar into a small pot and heat on medium heat.
Melt and brown the sugar without stirring the pot.
Stand slightly back from the pot, then carefully add ¼ cup of water to the browned sugar, stirring quickly.
Lower the heat and stir for one minute until the sugar and water are completely mixed, forming a thin, liquid caramel.
Pour the caramel into an 8-by-8-inch dish. Set the dish aside.
Gently beat together five large, whole eggs, five egg yolks, 1 cup of sugar and ¼ tsp. of salt in a medium bowl.
Add two cans of evaporated milk, 1 cup of whole milk and 4 tsp. of vanilla to the bowl, beating till combined.
Hold a sieve over another medium bowl, pouring the custard through the sieve to remove any egg white lumps; discard the contents in the sieve.
Use a baking mitt to pull the top oven rack slightly out; be careful around the rack, which will be hot.
Set a pan in the oven that is larger than your prepared baking dish and has a 2-inch rim.
Place the baking dish inside the larger pan.
Pour water into the larger pan, keeping the water out of your baking dish.
Pour the custard into the baking dish and slowly push the oven rack back in.
Bake the flan for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Place the flan on a baking rack, cooling for 20 minutes.
Run a knife along the sides of the baking pan to release the custard.
Put your flan platter over the baking dish.
Using baking gloves or two kitchen towels, quickly invert the flan and place it on your counter.
Tap and wiggle the baking dish to help release the flan.
Remove the baking pan, serving the flan while it is still warm. Or, cool the flan to room temperature then place it in the fridge, covering the dish with plastic wrap.
Add 1 tsp. of finely grated lime or lemon zest to your flan after you have strained the custard through the sieve.
The sugar will splatter quite a bit when you add the water; use a very long spoon to stir the caramel.