Flans of all kinds are served all across Latin America. This version is something of a cross between a crème caramel and a cheesecake, dense with cream cheese and rich with amber caramel. It can be made a day or two ahead, although the temptation to sneak a spoonful will be almost overwhelming.
- 220 gm caster sugar (1 cup)
- 250 gm cream cheese, at room temperature
- 375 ml evaporated milk (1½ cups)
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 200 gm condensed milk
- Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 1Preheat oven to 160C. Stir sugar and 80ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, bring to the boil and cook without stirring until medium caramel (6-8 minutes).
Pour into a 20cm-diameter watertight cake tin (not a springform tin), and swirl pan quickly to coat base and sides with caramel.
- 2Beat cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth, then add 2 tbsp evaporated milk and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, to just combine, scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Gradually add condensed milk, lemon rind, vanilla and remaining evaporated milk, and beat to just combine. Pour into caramel-lined tin, place in a roasting pan, place in oven and fill with hot water to halfway up the sides of the cake tin. Bake until light golden and just set (50 minutes to 1 hour). Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then run a knife around inside of tin and carefully invert flan onto a rimmed flat serving platter. Refrigerate to chill, then serve.