Last Tuesday I had dinner at a friend's house and brought this coconut milk-cream cheese flan over for dessert. The very next day I had to do my glucose test at my OB's office to check for gestational diabetes. If you've never had to have a glucose test, consider yourself lucky. It involves drinking a sickly sweet orange beverage, that tastes like a cross between flat orange soda and orange Gatorade, then you wait an hour and they take your blood. A couple days later I found out that I failed my test by 2 lousy points! You have to score a 135 or lower and I scored a 137. I'm putting the blame on this sweet sticky flan :-)
Because I failed the first glucose test, I had to do do another test this morning, only it took close to 4 hours to complete and they took my blood 4 separate times, every hour on the hour. I had to do the test while fasting and was starving since I hadn't eaten in 15 hours. NOTE: Don't deprive a pregnant women of food and beverage. It's not pretty. After that I had to go to my OB to get a shot, so I was poked 5 times within a matter of hours. But it's over now, I survived and I got a delicious lunch afterwards and a long nap after that. If it sounds like I'm complaining, I am. hee hee! But I'm entitled to that every once in a while.
So, onto this flan. It's made with coconut milk and cream of coconut, but surprisingly didn't taste at all like coconut, just caramel. It also has cream cheese in it that makes it extra creamy and firm. The end product was more like a cheesecake with a baked caramel sticky syrup on top- cheesecake in texture, and flan in taste. I thought it was good, but not at all what I was expecting. My older brother is a flan lover- he'll go to a restaurant and order 3-4 servings for dessert. I saved a big hunk of this for him and while he ate it and seemed to like it, the first thing he said was "this tastes like cheesecake". So decide for yourself if you want to make this, but don't eat it before you go in for a glucose test.
Coconut Milk-Cream Cheese Flan from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
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For the Caramel:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the Custard:
- 16-ounces cream cheese, room temp
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1/2 cup cream of coconut
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 7 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Boiling water as needed
To make the caramel: Combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and starts to turn color. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup turns to a deep amber color, 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture gets too brown it will start to smoke and smell burned and the caramel will be ruined, forcing you to discard the mess and start again. Once you begin making the caramel, do not leave the pot! Caramel can go from perfection to disaster in just seconds.
Immediately pour the caramel into a 9-inch cake pan, swirl to completely coat the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan, and set aside. WARNING: Caramel will be extremely HOT. Thus it will cause the pan to become very hot as well. If necessary use an oven mitt so you don't burn yourself.
To make the custard: In a blender or food processor, combine all the custard ingredients (except the boiling water) and blend or pulse at low speed just until smooth and combined. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into the caramel-lined pan. (Not all of my custard fit into the cake pan. My pan was completely full to the top and had to bake a smaller ramekin of the custard separately).
Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300°F. Place the cake pan in a larger roasting pan and place the roasting pan on the oven rack. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil, piercing the foil in several places to allow steam to escape. Bake until the flan is firm to the touch in the center and doesn't jiggle when the pan is moved, 50 to 60 minutes. (Mine took 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook all the way through).
Transfer the flan from the water bath to a wire rack and let cool. When completely cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, preferably overnight.
To unmold: Run a table knife carefully around the edges of the pan, pressing it against the side of the pan to loosen the flan but avoiding cutting into the custard. Hold a serving platter (one large enough to hold the lovely, golden sauce) over the top of the flan and invert. Shake the pan gently to release the custard. Remove the pan and let the caramel sauce flow around the sides of the flan and pool around the edges of the serving plate. Serve immediately.
How 'bout a sunset kissed slice o' flan?