Janeth’s Flan de Leche, With Love from Colombia

Colombia Flan de Leche

Submitted by Janeth Palacio Barrera

This flan de leche is the taste of home, of Colombia for Janeth Palacio Barrerra. ”This recipe is my mother’s,” writes Janeth, a Spanish teacher who now lives in Chicago with her husband and kids. “She always serves it for special occasions. It is filled with love and sweetness, like everything about her.”

Janeth recently came back from a trip home to Medellín, where she spent a month visiting her parents and large, extended familia. Por supuesto, this flan was served, reminding Janeth, as it always does, how delicioso her mother’s custard is and how connected it is to her festive family memories.

Her mother, Francy, is the family-famosa cocinera in their familia, says Janeth, who started learning how to cook from her, starting at a young age. Now Janeth is the one passing on these same lessons to her two kids, Samuel and Luna, to keep the family recipes alive and cocina traditions going.

Making Flan de Leche

The classic way to make flan is to use a flanera, a double boiler that gently cooks the custard in a custom pan designed to sit inside a second one filled with hot water. Or you can place your flan mold in a larger pan, filled with agua caliente. This process is known as baño de María—the Spanish translation of the medieval French cooking technique bain-Marie. Most simply, it’s also called a water bath.

Prized for its texture and creamy sabor, flan is a favorite year round in Latino households: cool in the summer, comforting in the winter. This dessert is also relatively easy to mix and bake, making it a reliably delicioso finale for all types of gatherings.

Janeth was honored to submit her mother’s recipe to Familia Kitchen’s Favorite Flan Recipe Contest. Our community of homecooks loved it and voted it one of the finalists. Felicidades, Janeth, to you and Francy!

For more of Janeth’s family-famous recipes, check out her palitos de queso (traditional Colombian cheese sticks), patacones con hogao, her mother’s fried whole mojarra, and her husband’s delicious family recipe for guacamole—which has the added plus of lasting an extra long tim, Janeth promises.

Ready to make Janeth’s Colombian Flan to Leche?

Janeth’s Colombian Flan de Leche

4 from 2 votes
Recipe by Janeth Palacio Barrera Cuisine: Colombian
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 2 sugar

  • 1 cup 1 water

  • 4 cups 4 milk

  • 1 to 2 slivers 1 to 2 orange rind

  • 8 8 eggs

  • 14 oz 14 condensed milk

  • 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Fill a pan—large enough to fit your flan mold—with water. The water should sit at least 2 inches high in the pan.
  • Place the pan inside your preheating oven. This is called a baño de Maria or water bath and is a gentle baking technique used with egg and custard dishes.
  • Make the Caramel
  • Mix the water and sugar in a bowl.
  • Pour the mixture into your flan mold or in a nonstick pan.
  • Place the mold or pan on your stovetop, set to medium-high heat.
  • The sugar and water will slowly turn golden. If you need to, use a wooden spoon to lightly nudge any still-white sugar bits that still need browning toward the melted parts of the caramel. When the mixture is fully amber-brown, the caramel is ready. If using a pan, pour the hot caramel into your flan mold.
  • Set the mold aside and let the caramel cool.
  • Cook the Milk and Eggs
  • In a separate saucepan on the stove, pour the milk. Add the orange rind.
  • Bring to a low boil on medium-high heat.
  • Adjust the heat so that it low boils for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often so that the milk does not burn or boil over.
  • After about 10 minutes, set aside. Remove the orange rind and let it completely cool.
  • Mix and Bake in a Water Bath
  • In the blender, mix the cooled milk, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt.
  • Pour the custard mixture into the flan mold, on top of the caramelized sugar layer.
  • Place the flan mold inside the water bath in your 350° oven. The hot water should reach halfway up the side of your flan mold to cook the custard.  (But not higher, so it doesn’t splash inside the mold.)
  • Bake uncovered for 2 hours. The custard will firm up and turn a beautiful golden brown.
  • Let the flan cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill.
  • After at least 4 hours or when your flan is very cold, take it out of the fridge. Run your warm hands or a hot cloth over the bottom of the flan mold to slightly loosen the caramel layer. Carefully turn over the mold onto your serving platter. It’s ready to be served as it is, or you can garnish with a drizzle of chocolate or sprinkling of berries, as Janeth’s mother sometimes does.

Notes

  • This flan recipe adapts well to individual-size servings, says Janeth. Just be sure to start with a layer of caramelo at the bottom of each small flan mold.
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