I was quite taken by surprise when one of my friends on Facebook asked if I made a good flan, or the fancier name being crème caramel. The "quite" because I had never made one. Being up for the challenge, I bought the ingredients, played around with many recipes, and voila, crème caramel. Now it was Harry's turn to be taken by surprise because I texted him to say I had made it, and it was in the fridge setting...could he pick it up tomorrow, being this morning, which he did. Even though I could only scrape the little that was left around the side of the pan with some of the caramel, I was really pleased with the way it turned out, and the delicate Irish Cream flavor it imparted. The cream cheese also makes the flan not so eggy-tasting. I was happy, but Harry even happier. The only thing I have to say, though, is that making the caramel should be a no brainer...you don't use a candy thermometer on this one as there's only 1 1/4 cup sugar to deal with. But you have to be vigilant as not to burn the caramel, which means standing close to the stove and not stirring but swirling the melting sugar as it browns. I made the mistake of using what I thought was a heatproof scraper, one of my favorites, I might add, only for it to turn into a shape of art after I put into the caramel. Oh well...this is a great alternative to a cheesecake, and doesn't take long to put together, so give it a whirl.
1 1/4 cups sugar 4 oz cream cheese softened
1 tbsp water 5 eggs
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1/3 cup Bailey's or Carolan's Irish Cream* kettle of boiling water
* you can omit the irish cream, or add perhaps 2 tbsp grand marnier or rum, or 1 tsp vanilla...
In a heavy saucepan over medium low heat, combine the sugar and water, and stir for a minute or two. Then continue to cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan as sugar melts and starts turning golden...the whole process should take about 12 minutes. Quickly pour into a round 2 quart casserole or if you don't have one, find something similar that's oven proof and will fit into a larger pan for baking. Let cool for 10 minutes while preparing the custard. I beat the cream cheese and all the eggs in my nutri bullet. You can also use a blender. I then pour this mixture into a bowl and add both milks and the irish cream, whisking to blend. Pour over the caramelized sugar and place in the larger pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan to one inch. Bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes, until the top is brown and center is just set...yes, it will jiggle. Remove casserole from larger pan and cool on a rack for an hour. Place in the fridge for at least 8 hours up to overnight. Unmold by running a knife around the edge and inverting it onto a large RIMMED platter. Do not use a flat platter as some of the caramel will be liquid and you want all of that to spoon over the flan when you serve it. Bon appetit!
if you continue to use a spoon to stir, the caramel will harden on the spoon, as shown here. you just want to stir until the sugar and water are mixed together, then swirl as it browns.
right out of the oven...