I'm a firm believer in celebrating as many food holidays as possible!
My husband and I were never huge fans of flan, but my gosh, this one churrascaria we frequent makes THE richest, smoothest, and best flan ever. It's not a thin egg custard that feel water-y to the tongue, which is what I feel is what you get out of those boxed flan mixes.
Those of you new to flan, it's essentially a latin egg custard with a caramel topping that can be jazzed up any number of ways.
We were craving our favorite restaurant's flan, which is a little more dense, and to mimic it, I used cream cheese to give it the smoothness and thickness we wanted. Basically a flan cheesecake sans the crust.
This recipe has a handful of ingredients including a super easy caramel sauce. I think the hardest part of this recipe is the water bath because I didn't have a baking dish wide enough to fit my baking pan so I winged it and hoped for the best. Other than that, this is one easy schmeasy dessert that is sure to impress. The satisfaction you get when you flip that flan out of it's baking dish and into a plate without it breaking deserves a high five. Luckily husband was around to give me one.
Flan de Queso
1 cup sugar
1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 14 oz. can condensed milk
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Have a 9" circle baking dish ready to go.
In a small saucepan, melt sugar over medium heat until it's a beautiful caramel color, stirring constantly. Don't worry, the sugar crystallizes into large chunks, but then slowly, but surely, the sugar melts and begins to brown. Voila! You have caramel sauce. Did you know it is THAT easy to make caramel?
Pour the caramel sauce into the baking dish and spread/swirl around as much as possible before it hardens. Don't worry if you don't get too far with the caramel. It all comes together at the end.
In a blender, blend cream cheese until smooth. Add the condensed milk and evaporated milk and combine. Blend in one egg at a time, scraping down the sides after each egg. Add in the vanilla and give it one last swirl.
Pour the smooth milk/egg mixture over the caramel.
Now for the water bath...find a large enough baking pan to house the baking dish that contains the flan. I just used a large cookie sheet I had with raised edges. Soak a dish towel and lay it in your empty baking dish. Place your flan on top of the towel and then fill your empty baking dish with HOT water until it comes up halfway up the sides of the flan dish. My dish didn't allow it to come up halfway, but I just filled my cookie sheet up with water as much as I could. It was just fine.
Bake for 45-55 minutes. The flan should have some jiggle, but if you stick a knife in the middle, it should come out clean. This is when you know it's ready!
Take the flan out and let it cool to room temperature and then stick in the fridge overnight.
The fun part...post refrigeration! Grab a large plate, place it over the flan dish, and flip the flan dish over. Gently tap the dish until the flan falls out onto the plate (hopefully in one piece). The caramel sauce will come out with it. Feel free to scrape out every last bit of that sauce, or better yet, just lick the dish. No one is watching you. And then give yourself a high five! Garnish with berries, or sprinkle with cinnamon, or eat just as!