Puerto Rican Flan de Queso: a rich and creamy cheesecake-like baked custard dessert that’s not too sweet thanks to the slight tang of cream cheese. As if that wasn’t enough, the entire flan is swimming in a pool of shimmering sugar caramel sauce!
Puerto Rican Flan de Queso
Update: VIDEO added September 2017. Scroll down to watch this recipe in action! Original recipe published March 2016.
I am so excited to bring you this Puerto Rican flan de queso! More excited than usual shall we say. This is the first Puerto Rican dessert on Kitchen Gidget. I’ve shared my family’s favorite Puerto Rican food recipes, like Puerto Rican Beans, but no meal is complete without dessert! And it’s pretty obvious if you take a look around this blog that I have a major sweet tooth.
I knew it was time to remedy that situation and undoubtedly the most popular Puerto Rican dessert is flan. The only question was which kind to make? There’s the classic flan which is essentially a baked custard bathed in caramel sauce. There’s coconut flan which is very popular with a flavorful twist, and then there is cheese flan which is made with cream cheese.
Puerto Rican flan de queso is like flan met cheesecake and they had the most scrumptious love baby. Silky smooth, lush, slightly dense…the cream cheese adds a mild tang which keeps this flan from becoming too sweet. Finishing it off is a dripping caramel syrup that takes this over the top.
Let’s talk a little bit about the steps that go into making a flan. It can be a little intimidating, but I’ve found that flan is also very forgiving. The first part is the sugar caramel. It takes patience to completely melt the sugar down. It will get clumpy, but eventually smooth out. Swirl the pan to give it a stir.
Take it off the heat as soon as it has dissolved so it doesn’t burn. You must immediately pour it into your prepared pan because it hardens quickly. It should be poured in an even layer on the bottom of the pan, but if there are a few gaps it will still turn out fine.
You may use an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan. Whichever pan you use, be sure it has 2-inch high sides to hold all of the custard. The flan will cook inside a larger pan filled with water. This ensures the flan cooks evenly with a soft, silky texture.
For the best texture, use room temperature ingredients and cream cheese that is well softened. I take the extra step of straining my custard mixture before I pour it into the pan. This way I catch any little cream cheese bits that didn’t dissolve, but that’s just my personal preference. Like I said before, as a common dessert, flan is really not complicated!
Lastly, when ready to serve, run a knife around the edge to loosen. Cover the pan with a plate and flip it over all at once. The flan should fall right out onto the pan. If it’s sticky, dip the bottom of the pan in warm water for a few seconds before inverting again. Use a plate with edges angling upwards to catch all that caramel!
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Watch the video!
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat to oven 350°F degrees. Set a kettle of water to boil. Set an 8- or 9-inch cake (or pie) pan with 2-inch high sides inside of a larger baking pan (such as a 13x9).
- In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until completely dissolved. Watch carefully so it does not burn. You may swirl the pan to stir. Remove from heat when it is a dark golden, amber color.
- Immediately pour the melted sugar into the bottom of the cake pan, working quickly before it hardens. Set aside.
- In a blender beat the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure there are no lumps. Pour the strained custard into the cake pan over the sugar caramel. Next, add boiling water to the larger pan. It should come up the sides about an inch deep. The cake pan will be sitting in a water bath.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until set around the edges with a slight jiggle in the middle. Remove from oven and let the flan cool in the water bath, about an hour. Once cool, refrigerate at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
- When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges to loosen. Set a plate over the flan and flip upside-down to invert. Slice into wedges and serve.