Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cheese Flan

Flan can be traced as far back as ancient Rome. The Romans, having domesticated chickens, found themselves with a surplus of eggs for which they developed new recipes, one of which turned out to be a custardly concoction known as flan. Flan survived the fall of the Roman Empire and the transition between ancient times and the Medieval.

Eventually, flan found two different outlets: In Spain it became a sweet custard generally made with caramelized sugar. The Moors introduced citrus and almonds which are commonly found to flavor flan. Once Christopher Columbus found America the rush to the riches of the region brought the richness of flan with it. Nearly all of Central and South America loves flan in its various custardly forms. England, with its love for pastry crusts, went its own way and developed a different kind of flan. This one makes use of a pastry shell with an open top filled with custard and often mixed with nuts or fruit.

I have found that Americans are not too fond of flan, they don't like the consistency or the "egginess" of it; however, they do love cheesecake. The following is a variation of Flan ... Cheese Flan which is delicious and a proven success with Americans.

 6 oz. cream cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar for caramel syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (I like to bake Flan at a low heat for a longer time period).
  2. In an aluminum bread pan (you can use any other aluminum baking dish) over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully tilt the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a blender beat all ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into cooled baking dish.
  5. Place the baking dish with the flan mixture into a larger rectangular pan that is at least 2 inches deep.
  6. Place both of these into the oven and pour hot water into the larger pan to about half way full.
  7. Bake for approximately 2 hours, until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the flan.
  8. Let cool and refrigerate.
  9. When ready to serve, carefully invert the flan onto a serving plate. The caramel syrup will cover the flan.

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