Thursday, November 26, 2009

Flan de Leche a la Cubana

Sugar, condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla extract...

Hungry yet?

So, if the lechón asado recipe from yesterday left you hankering for something sweet (and a bit easier and less time-consuming to prepare), here is our very own Flan de Leche a la Cubana* recipe (with a few adjustments in honor of our Dominican neighbors here in Washington Heights, Nueba Yol (aka, Nueva York, aka, New York).

*As our step-by-step pictures show, we have referred to the recipe of Cuba's very own Julia Child, the one-and-only Nitza Villapol, in her book Cocina Cubana.

1 cup of sugar.
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces).
1 can of evaporated milk (12 ounces).
A pinch of salt (una pisquita de sal).
A dash of cinnamon.
5 eggs.
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

A mixing bowl.

A pressure cooker (no Cuban kitchen is complete without one).

Una flanera (see photo of ours from "Da Heights").

A small strainer.

Empty the cans of condensed and evaporated milk into a mixing bowl and stir vigorously for five minutes. Strain five eggs and add them to the milk mix, stirring vigorously for another five minutes. As you stir, add a pinch of salt, the vanilla extract, and the cinnamon into the mix.

Place your flanera over low heat on the stove and slowly pour the sugar into it, constantly stirring the sugar as it liquefies. Make sure that the liquefied sugar coats the entire inside surface of the flanera. Take care not to get the liquefied sugar on your fingers - it burns and sticks - ouch!
Now, pour the milk and egg mixture into the smoking flanera, filling it up. Place the top on the flanera and lock it in place with the clips.

By this time, you should have already set the pressure cooker to a low heat with a half cup of water inside. Place the sealed flanera into the pressure cooker making sure that the level of the water inside is below the bottom lip of the top of the flanera. This contraption is known as a Baño de María. Seal the pressure cooker and keep it a medium heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off the flame and let the pressure cooker cool for 30 minutes.

Remove the flanera from the Baño de María and remove the top to check if it is properly cooked. Secret from abuela: stick a knife into the flan and pull it out. If the knife comes out clean without any flan sticking to it - you're good to go. (If the flan sticks to the knife, return the flanera to the to the Baño de María for a few more minutes).

Reseal the flanera with the top and place it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to chill. Turn upside down onto a platter to serve. Garnish as desired with fruit, whipped cream, or even a splash of aged añejo rum.

Serves: 4 yumas gordos or 8 cubanos flacos.

Preparation time: 15 minutes (if you are a Cuban adept at liquefying sugar in a saucepan without burning your fingers); 30 minuets (if you are a clumsy Yuma like me).

Cooking time: 25 minutes.

PD: This post (as well as the flan itself) is dedicated to our good friends Nancy, Eduardo, and Luna - Japy San Guivi a la cubana, que lo disfruten!


  1. flan o pudín? Anyway it looks delicious. Happy thanksgiving to you and your family!

  2. That looks great. I may try your recipe. Though i've seen others without the pressure cooker. I might improvise as someone broke my pressure cooker.

  3. Thanks...Recently I've started learning how to cook, so far my dishes aren't that great but I'm getting there :)
    Anyways, good recipe description there Prof., maybe I should post some Russian recipe for like "Pelimeni", or "Borsh" (for those who know what these are, big ups!!!)

  4. I am definitely going to try this! and nick pelimeni is easy to make and borsh not so much but so yummy with semetana

  5. My aunt makes flan ala dominicana (lol) every thanksgiving. Definitely my favorite dessert of the evening :-)

  6. G, Pelimeni are not that easy to make if you do it from scratch (tastes much better than pre-made store ones). You have to wrap each piece by hands, so it does take some time...

  7. i like flan...i think maybe one day i will attempt to try and make this recipe! Maybe...

  8. i love flan! well, i love anything sweet, but this looks really delicious and maybe one day i will attempt to make this recipe myself! Maybe...

  9. A Flanera! Ah, that brings back memories... I grew up in Miami in a Cuban house/family. We used a flanera a few times and followed this recipe but really, it was just easier to make in the oven and a lot less mess. Now I make it in a regular cake mold. A little tip from experience, put all the ingredients in a blender, trust me, smoothest flan of all time!