• 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 5 eggs
  • 14 oz can condensed milk
  • 14 oz whole milk (you can measure in the condensed milk can)
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

There are many people who want my flan recipe.  Well here it is, but with a slight twist. We had to add cheese of course! The usual “cheese flan” is made with cream cheese.  I’m not a big fan of “flan de queso”; it’s just not something I enjoyed.  The simple flan is so tasty, it’s a shame to ruin it with cream cheese which has such a strong flavor.  So I thought about it and decided to try to use mascarpone cheese.  As you know I’ve been using this cheese regularly for my desserts. It gives everything a simple but obvious flavor, and I can still appreciate the original flavors of our desserts.  If you want my original flan recipe (which everyone does) just leave out the cheese.  This is actually my great-grandmothers basic flan recipe. You will be surprised at how simple it is, and amazed at the flavor it has.

First thing we need to do is the sugar, wait I always forget to tell you to preheat the oven to 350, ok now the sugar.  This was always the hardest part.  It is so easy to burn the sugar and sometimes it doesn’t cook right, and the sugar becomes crystallized on the sides of the pan and it just becomes a mess.  I used to stir continuously while the sugar was cooking, and then one day I heard on food network that you should leave the sugar alone to cook.  Put it on high, and don’t touch it! Since adopting this instruction, the sugar has always cooked properly; but it is still easy to burn so be careful.  Put about 1-2 cups of sugar in a saucepan.  I add just about 3 Tbsp of water and stir until the sugar is all wet.  Some people don’t use water at all though.  Put it on high, and don’t touch it, but watch it carefully! Once it starts to caramelize and become brown, pour it onto the bottom of a loaf pan.  It will continue cooking in the pan so don’t wait too long. It should be a honey color when you pour it out.  Carefully move it around in the pan, making sure the bottom and sides are coated with the sugar.  Ok, that was the hardest part!

Next in a blender combine the eggs, condensed milk, milk, vanilla, and mascarpone cheese.  Blend and then pour into the loaf pan with the sugar coating. Put the loaf pan into a bigger pan and add water to the outside.  This is called a ‘baño maria’ and it’s used to bake custards like flan and creme brulee.  The water should reach up about halfway, but if it can’t, if your pan is too small, don’t worry, just put as much as you can, it will still cook properly.  Put it in the oven and bake for at least 45 min.  Check it at that point and chances are it is still not done.  The top (which will be the bottom) should be browned and when a knife is inserted in the middle it should come out pretty clean.  Realistically it will probably be in the oven about an hour.

Once it is done, take it out and let it cool.  Stick in the refrigerator for a couple hours and when it is ready to be served just run a knife along the edge and flip the whole thing onto a platter.  It should come out nice and easy and with a lot of the caramelized sugar dripping down.  There will probably be some sugar stuck on the pan, just enjoy it, it tastes like candy!