Chef Folse's Flan de Queso

Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yields: 8 Servings

Flan is a popular dish in Spain and the former Spanish colonies in Latin America, and consists of a custard base often flavored with vanilla and topped with a soft caramel sauce. This variation on the traditional flan includes Creole cream cheese, giving it the texture and flavor of a cheesecake with the beautiful presentation of a flan.


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 and 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces Creole cream cheese, softened
5 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degreeF. To make caramel, in a small, heavy saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook, without stirring, until dark amber in color. While cooking brush down sugar crystals from the side of saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water and occasionally swirl pan to brown evenly. Immediately pour into ramekins and swirl so caramel coats the bottom of each ramekin and partway up the side. Set ramekins in a roasting or deep baking pan and set aside. In another small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and cinnamon stick and bring to simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon and set aside. While milk is steeping, in a food processor, blend together condensed milk and cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl then whisk in hot milk. Divide cream cheese mixture among ramekins and place ramekins in a large deep baking pan. Add enough boiling water to pan to reach half way up sides of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with a sheet of foil and bake custards 45-55 minutes or until custards are just set. The custards should still wobble slightly in the center when tapped. Remove ramekins from water bath and let stand at least 15 minutes. Just before serving, run a thin knife around flans to loosen then invert onto serving plates. Flans may be served hot or at room temperature. NOTE: Flans can be made 2 days ahead. Chill in ramekins, uncovered, until cool then cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. To serve warm, put ramekins in a roasting pan of hot water and straddle over 2 burners on low. Heat for 20 minutes.