Are you ready for Thanksgiving? How about a Filipino-style dessert? You can make this Instant Pot Leche Flan with Kabocha Squash ahead of turkey day. The abundance of kabocha squash in the markets inspired me to buy a large whole piece. But after cooking several dishes, I had enough to make dessert using the squash.
Whether you are hosting or coming as a guest to a Thanksgiving dinner with family or friends, this is a great addition to the dessert table. This flan will stand out next to the plethora of pies which are the more traditional American desserts. Don’t get me wrong. I love pies. We all do. But who can resist a rich, smooth custard-like flan with the caramel syrup dribbling downwards on the sides? Once you’ve had a spoonful of this creamy, decadent dessert, there is no stopping you from taking another bite and another and one more. You get the picture.
I am familiar with kabocha squash because of the different dishes my mom taught me to cook. I admit the tough, green outer skin of the kabocha squash (also called ‘kalabasa’ by Filipinos) is hard to cut through or scoop out. So, I boiled half of it for a five minutes in the Instant Pot. This made it easy to mash the squash.
We did not celebrate Thanksgiving in our family till we came to live in America a lifetime ago. Back then, our sons were small, and the significance of the American holiday did not yet dawn on them. Our first Thanksgiving meals here in the States were celebrated with aunts and cousins who generously invited us to their homes. Later, as our children grew older and our family schedules got hectic, I cooked our own traditional turkey dinners. Roasting the turkey and cooking all the sides took hours. I often had to schedule making the desserts in advance. These days, thanks to the Instant Pot and other modern conveniences in the kitchen, I can cook dessert and dishes in half the time. Plus, it gives me more time to spend with family and give thanks for the many blessings we have received throughout this year.
Instant Pot Leche Flan with Kabocha Squash
- Instant Pot multicooker - 6 quarts or 8 quarts.
- Filipino llanera - 5-inch length oval tin to make flan; or a round 7-inch metal cake pan
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar for caramel topping
- 1/2 cup boiled mashed kabocha squash also known as kalabasa to Filipinos
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
- 1 can (14 oz.) 14 oz. can condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Prepare the caramel: Using a medium-sized heavy stock pot, over medium heat, add the sugar. In about 5 to 6 minutes, the granulated white sugar will start to bubble. It will gradually turn from white to golden brown. Tilt the pan around to level off the caramel syrup. Once the entire mixture is a golden amber and the sugar has melted completely, immediately pour the syrup into a prepared oval llanera or a round 7-inch cake pan that fits in the inside pot. For this recipe, I used two oval llaneras. Set aside for the caramel syrup to cool and harden.
- To boil the squash in the Instant Pot:
- Place a quarter chunk (about 1/4 of the whole piece) of kabocha squash in the inside pot of the Instant Pot.
- Pour 2 to 3 cups of water over the squash.
- Close the lid and lock it in place. Set the valve to Sealing.
- Check the cooking pressure is on High.
- Press Manual button. Select High Pressure for 5 minutes.
- When done, do a Quick Release. Click Cancel to turn off.
- Carefully open the lid. Use tongs to take out the soft squash. Place the squash on a plate. Remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh. Mash the softened squash. You need 1/2 cup for the flan. Set aside.
- To make the flan in the Instant Pot:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, evaporated and condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Add the mashed squash to the mixture. Blend ingredients well. If necessary, place the squash and milk mixture in a blender or food processor. Blend or process for 1 minute for a smooth consistency.
- Using a sieve, pour the custard mixture into the flan container lined with caramel. Cover and seal the cake pan with foil.
- Place the flan cake pan on the metal or silicone wire basket in the inside pot of the Instant Pot.
- Pour 3 to 4 cups water on the side of the inside pot. Water should reach the top of the wire basket.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Lock it in place. Set the valve to Sealing. Check the cooking pressure is on High.
- Press the Steam button on the keypad and steam each oval llanera for 20 minutes.*Note: For a round, 7-inch cake pan, steam for 25 minutes.
- When the buzzer sounds to signal cooking is done, do a Quick Release. Carefully open the lid. Use silicon mitts to hold the handles of the wire basket and take out the flan. Cool on the counter. Check to see if flan is done by pricking the tip of a sharp knife to the center. If knife comes clean, flan is done.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight for flan to firm up. Serve as a dessert or snack.
- To cook the Kabocha Squash Flan the traditional way:
- Prepare the squash by par-boiling it in a small stockpot with water for 15 to 20 minutes. Take out the squash, remove seeds and mash the flesh. Set aside.
- Make the caramel to line the containers according to directions above. Set container aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, evaporated and condensed milks, vanilla and the boiled/mashed squash. Process in a blender or processor for a smooth texture.
- Pour the liquid mixture, using a sieve into the containers lined with caramel. Cover with foil. Preheat the oven at 325 F.
- To cook the traditional way: Prepare the bain marie or water bath - Place a large roasting pan in the middle rack. Pour water to fill half of the pan. Place the covered flan in the center. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes at 325 F. When done, take the flan out of the oven. Cool on counter and later in the refrigerator to firm up.
- Quick Release for the Instant Pot: This is when you release the pressure instantly. Press Cancel on your Instant Pot and turn the Steam release handle on the lid to a Venting position. Allow the steam to release in a few minutes. (From "Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother's Traditional Philippine Food In a Multicooker Pot").
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- As with all appliances, please read the user's manual of your Instant Pot, pressure or multicooker before using. Follow safety precautions and suggestions. Use accessories made of metal or silicone or specifically recommended for the Instant Pot or multicooker. Do not use glassware.
Nutrition Notes: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com – sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.