Lecheng Puto: Work-in-progress x Photo Diary

November 17, 2014

Lecheng puto. Puto flan. Puto de leche. Whatever you call it, it was love at first sight. Pepper.ph featured this new trend a few weeks ago and dang did it look so good! And because I have low EQ, a ton of free time on my hands (well, I actually skipped studying for 2 weeks), and a craving so strong you'd think I was pregnant (no, I'm not), I flipped and worked on these babies.

Ok, so a little bit of a primer for non-Filipino readers. Leche flan is a caramel custard. Puto is a steamed rice cake. And both are traditional Filipino desserts. Apparently, and quite recently I guess, someone out there had a little eureka moment and combined the two desserts together.

Now that that's cleared up, all the recipes I found on the internet call for steaming both the flan and the puto. The only steamer we have in the apartment is the rice cooker's steamer, which is too small for my 6-pc muffin pan. Also, all the recipes I found use individual plastic molds for the lecheng puto, which I did not have and did not want to buy just for these experiments. So, I improvised with my muffin pan and our oven, using a baine marie (water bath).

The first experiment (not pictured) was quite tasty. But the custard stuck to the goddamn muffin pan and the puto did not have any rice component in it despite its "true" description: "steamed RICE cake." I remember the white puto we used to buy from the talipapa (market) when I was a kid and this did not taste remotely similar to that one. So for the second experiment, I decided to stay true to the original desserts and combined recipes for a legit leche flan, and a nearly legit puto ("nearly" because it is not the traditional way of making the puto but at least it used rice flour).

I have no recipe to share with you just yet because the second experiment's results were not quite what I was looking for. The puto part was great but the tops hardened. The insides were quite tasty and soft so I just shaved the hardened tops off to make them edible. The leche flan was ok but did not pair very well with the puto - the first custard recipe would be a better pair for the puto, I think. I had a lot of the leche flan mixture left over so I decided to make a standalone leche flan too, using my 9-in round cake pan. It bubbled up quite a bit - the oven was probably way too hot (350F), so no recipe for that one yet either. You can find the hidden Pacman in the photos above, though.

In other words and after 5 paragraphs of what-is-this-writeup-supposed-to-be, this is a failure report. Hehe. There will be more experiments in the future and I hope I'll be able to get a recipe sorted out soon. Honestly, the only reason for this post is that I wanted to share with you these photos. Hah!

By accident, I found a new "spot" on our dining table that gets this golden light in the afternoon just before the sun sets and it looks amazing for photos. So yeah, that's it. Sorry for being a blabbermouth. I promise there will be a recipe soon. Until then, ciao!

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