Flan de queso or cheese flan is what would happen if flan and cheesecake had a gorgeous, delicious baby. It’s rich and creamy and a little goes a long way.
1/4 cup water plus 2 Tbsp extra
2/3 cups sugar
2, 8-oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
2, 14-oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of Salt
1 egg yolk
Making the Caramel:
Pour 1/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Slowly pour sugar into the center of the saucepan, making sure to not get any sugar on the sides of the pan. Using a spatula, gradually stir the sugar just enough to moisten all the sugar.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it starts boiling cook without stirring until the mixture becomes a straw color. This can take anywhere from 7 to 13 minutes. At about the midpoint it’s going to look like it’s not working and that the sugar is just getting crusty. It’s ok. It will start to melt and turn brown.
Once it gets to the straw color stage, gently start to swirl the pan over the heat until it becomes more of an amber color. As soon at it reaches that amber color, remove from heat and add the 2 tablespoons of water while you swirl the pan. This will make the caramel start to bubble and the water will start to incorporate into the caramel.
Pour the caramel into the flanera*. Be careful, it is very hot! Swirl the flanera around so the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides is coated with the caramel. Set aside.
Making the Flan:
Put cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk (don’t throw away the cans just yet), vanilla, egg, and egg yolk into a blender.
Take the empty cans of condensed milk and pour in the 1/4 cup milk into one of the cans. Use the liquid and a spatula or spoon to get all of the condensed milk out of the can. Pour this into the second can and do the same. Then pour the liquid into the blender.
Blend all the ingredients together. Start on low and pulse and then move to medium speed. Scrape down the sides if you need to and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth. It’s ok if it is a little frothy on top.
Pour the mixture into the flanera over the caramel. Leave at least an inch of space from the top rim. It’s ok if there is some of the mixture left over.
Place the top on the flanera and clip in place. If you are using a regular pan, cover tightly with foil.
Add 4 cups of water to the Instant Pot liner and place the trivet in the Instant Pot. Place the Flanera in the Instant Pot on top of the trivet. The water should be halfway up the side of the flanera. If the water comes up more than half way, there is too much water and should take some out before placing the flanera back in the pot.
Lock the Instant Pot lid into place and make sure the valve is set to SEALED.
Cook on High Pressure for 25 minutes and then allow to Natural Release for 30 minutes. Remove the flanera from the Instant Pot and remove the lid. It should be a little jiggly in the middle, but when you place a toothpick int he center it should come out clean. You can also check the temperature which should be 180˚F. Place the uncovered pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for an hour.
Once it’s room temperature, cover with a cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Overnight is best.
To umold, slide a pairing knife around the edge of the flan. Place a serving dish on top of the flanera and invert. It’s probable that the flan will not just pop out. Don’t worry! Here is a tip to release it.
- Wet a towel and wring it out so it is damp, not soaked.
- Place the damp towel in the microwave for 30 seconds so it gets hot.
- Place the hot towel on the underside of the flanera. This should slightly melt the sugar inside and release the flan. You might have to warm the towel 2 or 3 times until it starts to release.
*See source link above for explanation of a flanera pan, visuals of the various steps and more details of her ties to Cuban cuisine.