Of the 320 plus recipes we have on Kawaling Pinoy, leche flan is definitely the most precious to me. Not only is it the most commented, the most shared on social media and the primary driver of traffic to the site, it also bears a story near and dear to my heart. This Filipino-style caramel custard requires a pretty simple process but my learning to make it was very much a personal victory. (If you are a new reader here, this won’t make sense unless you read this). Taking my first bite of that creamiest, smoothest flan I made on my own was like being freed from the ghost of Christmas past. It’s amazing, really. To take that first bite and know that he has nothing on me. Not only do I make the better flan, I now love and am loved by a better man. Ha!
While leche flan is silky with a melt-in-your mouth texture, cream cheese flan, on the other hand, is a bit more dense and sort of cheesecake-like in consistency. As you can see in the recipe, cream cheese replaces part of the eggs as called for in regular flan. Although I prepare mine using an electric mixer, you can cut through the steps by simply processing the eggs, milk and cream cheese in a blender or food processor until smooth. I find this cream cheese variation a bit more forgiving as even with the beating with an electric mixer, the resulting product has none of the coarse, “bubbled” texture characteristic of a leche flan mixture that has been roughly blended together. There’s even no need to strain the egg-milk-cheese mixture! Having said that, it is still a good idea to let the mixture sit for a few minutes before pouring into llaneras to allow the foam to subside a little. The recipe yields 4 1-cup size llaneras, which you can easily double to satisfy hefty appetites. Enjoy!
- 8 tablespoons sugar
- 1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
- 5 eggs
- 1 (12 ounces) can evaporated milk
- 1 (14 ounces) can condensed milk
- 4 small (1-cup size) llaneras
- In each llanera, place 2 tablespoons sugar. Set llanera over low heat until sugar is melted and golden. Using tongs, move llanera repeatedly over flames to prevent sugar from burning and to distribute melting liquid on bottom of mold . Remove from heat and allow caramel to cool and harden.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at low speed. until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add condensed milk and evaporated milk and stir until well-combined. Let mixture sit for a few minutes to allow some of the foam to subside. Alternatively, combine eggs, milk and cream cheese in a blender and process until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared llaneras.
- Cover llaneras with foil and arrange in a wide, oven-safe dish with about 1-inch of water (water bath). Bake in a 375 F oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the middle of custard comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to cool and refrigerate to set. To serve, turn flan over on a serving plate, ending with caramel on top.