The Perfect Pairing: Nina Daza Fuses Leche Flan with a Filipino Classic

Leche flan has always been a staple food in every Filipino occasion, and there seems to be no single rendition of this classic custard dessert. Read on to learn yet another twist by a culinary icon.

There’s something about sweets being paired with another food fare that always makes eating them even more enjoyable. Leche flan, for one, is a dessert that is known to have a flavor profile that has been leveled up time and time and again. Whether one adds the nutty ube or the sweet macapuno, the classic Filipino flan is always an opportunity to whip up two distinct dishes into one harmonious treat.

Yet, nobody has ever thought of combining fried noodles and silky custard in one bite—nobody until food stylist and recipe developer Nina Daza-Puyat. “I want to think outside of the box and showcase the local favorites,” she tells LifestyleAsia. “I want something that is unique and special, but still is recognizable to the Filipino palate.”

A breath of fresh air

Stimulated by the process of handpicking ingredients herself when she formulates recipes, “The Philippine Cookbook” author Nina thought of replicating the rich and bittersweet taste of leche flan in the Sapporo Long Kow Vermicelli. “Leche flan has always been served exactly the same way,” she argues, “that is, either atop a pool of syrupy caramel sauce or on a spread of ube jam. There has to be another way to innovate this all-time favorite.” Hence, Nina chose to add another layer of gastronomic experience and make it look extra pretty.

Nina explains that she prepares the leche flan the traditional way—poured into a llanera, and either set in a streamer over a pan of simmering water or baked in a bain-marie. When cooked, she carefully flips the milky dense custard on a plate and crowns it with the crispy caramel-drizzled vermicelli. “The key to achieving that puffy noodles is to fry them when the oil is white-hot and to do so in batches,” she adds.

Altogether, the fried vermicelli is a texture twist to the creamy flan that makes every bite more interesting. Not only does it blast one’s taste buds with a more contrasting finish, but it also makes for an overall pleasing plating.

Sapporo Long Kow Vermicelli is a low-glycemic index carbohydrate that is low in sodium. It is gluten-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free. For more information, visit their website.

Photography ED SIMON of KLIQ, Inc.
Creative and Art Direction NIEL JHED IBAY
Recipe and Food Styling NINA DAZA-PUYAT

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