Cream Cheese Flan

This is my favorite recipe for flan. The cream cheese adds a slightly firmer texture and mildly tangy flavor. The trickiest part of the recipe is making the caramel, which burns easily if not monitored. I’ve burned a lot of sugar learning to get it right. Cook the sugar on medium low heat and watch it; you want it to be a medium caramel color for the best flavor. You will need a deep dish 9-inch glass pie plate for this recipe. Don’t fill it to the very top with custard, leave 1/2 inch of space. If you have extra custard, put it in a ramekin and waterbath it beside the flan. Bake the flan the day before you intend to serve it.

Cream Cheese Flan
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
4 oz. full-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1-2 tablespoons sugar or vanilla sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil 4-5 cups of water for a water bath. Make the caramel by placing 3/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan on medium low heat. Let the sugar melt around the edges, then stir to keep the sugar from burning. If you get sugar lumps, lower the heat and the lumps will melt as the caramel boils (you could always strain out larger lumps if necessary). Once the sugar boils, it will quickly turn a medium caramel color. This process should take 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and swirl caramel into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate, tilt the pie plate so the caramel will fill the bottom of the plate and some of the sides. It will harden quickly, so work fast. Set aside while you make the custard. In a blender combine eggs and cream cheese. Blend until smooth. Add the canned milks, 1-2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, and salt. Blend 3 minutes until smooth and foamy. Pour custard over the caramel in the pie plate. Don’t overfill. Leave 1/2 inch at the top of the plate. Place pie plate in a rectangular roasting pan to create a waterbath. Place in the oven, then carefully pour 4-5 cups boiling water into the roasting pan to reach half way up the sides of the pie plate. Bake 40-50 minutes until flan is set but still slight wobbly in the center. Remove flan from waterbath and cool on rack. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover with plastic wrap. Chill 6-8 hours. Slice to serve, drizzling some of the caramel on top of the flan. Serves 8.

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