The Secret to Great Leche Flan? Dayap

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Leche Flan

Doowop-doowop-doo-wop-dayap-oo-ahh…My not so sincere apologies to the Hansons for my title. The teeny bop song came to mind when I happily harvested  a handful of Dayap from our young  yet prolific plant.  Dayap, our Philippine version of the Key Lime is a small citrus fruit that truly packs a punch. I just can’t get enough of its deep sour note that has this vibrant and zesty aroma. The yearning is so much greater especially since it’s so hard to come by.

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Dayap – the secret to a great Leche Flan

It should never be mistaken for green lemon, as this has a round, smooth, shiny and thin rind and is so much more fragrant. Like Thailand’s kaffir lime, this is an alternative souring agent for soups which we call “sinigang”.

The best thing for me though is when dayap is used for deserts and snacks like bonuelos, coconut macaroon cookies (  & and the divine leche flan. The last is like our queen of custards which makes its royal presence felt in family reunions, Christmas parties and all sorts of special gatherings.  Some families even claim to have secret recipes and special techniques.

I dare say, I may have stumbled upon the secret to making arguably, the ultimate leche flan. ‘Best part is, it’s simple to do.


Caramel Syrup:  ½ c white sugar + 3-4 T water

In a sauce pot, put sugar and in the middle pour water. Let it cook in low to medium heat. Don’t stir as you’re dissolving the sugar, just swirl it in the pot every so often.  Do this until it caramelizes.  Immediately pour in your container and set aside. Typically we Pinoys use allanera which is an oval shaped tin pan. You may also use a round pyrex dish like I did.


  • 1 tetra pack of all-purpose cream
  • ¾ c of white sugar
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 regular can of condensed milk

Whisk all-purpose cream and sugar, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Add egg yolks, dayap juice, zest and continue whisking. Finally, add condensed milk and thoroughly mix. Gently pour mixture onto the pyrex dish.

How to cook:

The Bain-marie method, also referred to as baño maría means putting your dish inside a pot with cover and immersing it about a third or halfway with water. Put heat on medium to high and cook for about 30-40 minutes.

If you happen to have a rice cooker , put water until halfway the height of your dish, close the cover and cook for about 30-40 minutes. This is what I did.

Let it cool and put in the refrigerator to chill first. When serving, let your container sit in hot water and let a knife run through the sides to release the leche flan onto the serving plate.

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Lech Flan, sliced and ready!

Kitchenkithchiekoo’s tip 1: As best as you can, separate the white from the yolk. The yolk keeps the dessert rich not only in flavor but in mouth-feel.

Kitchenkitchiekoo’s tip 2: As you add the ingredients, you don’t need to whisk briskly but whisk enough to mix thoroughly. This avoids putting air into the mixture yielding a thick, velvety leche flan when cooked.


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