Even if you have never been to a Cuban restaurant or tried Cuban food in your entire life (which is really sad and I want to give you a virtual hug) you probably have heard of flan. Flan is a dessert found in many countries, but in Spanish cultures it’s the quintessential dessert. Flan can come in various flavors, from coffee to coconut, but one of my favorites is flan de queso or cheese flan. It’s what would happen if flan and cheesecake had a gorgeous, delicious, baby. It’s rich and creamy and a little goes a long way.
There are tons of recipes out there for flan de queso, but my all time favorite is the recipe from my husband’s abuela, Edith Fernandez. Not only does it taste like a spoonful of heaven, but it’s mixed in the blender for a silky smooth texture. When she made it in the oven, she used an IMUSA aluminum pot, but I found that a flanera (flan pot) fits perfectly in the Instant pot and keeps the moisture off of the flan.
Instant Pot Cheesecake Flan
Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez adapted from Edith M. Fernandez
1/4 cup Water plus 2 tablespoons extra
2/3 cups Sugar
2- 8 oz packages of Cream Cheese, room temperature (I’m always forgetting to leave the cream cheese out ahead of time to come to room temperature. If you are like me, you can just put the cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for a few seconds on 30% power. You don’t want it to be hot, just so it’s not very cold.)
2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
pinch of Salt
1 whole Egg
1 Egg Yolk
-The pan I used to cook the flan in is called a flanera, or a flan pan. Most people have never heard of a flan pan. It is a 6 inch round pan with a top that clips on. If you are an avid Instant Pot user I would recommend buying one online. They are very inexpensive and you can use it for lots of different recipes. (If you don’t have a flan pan, you can use any 6 inch cake pan that has a solid bottom. Do not use a spring form pan.) Here is a link to buy the Flan Pan on Amazon. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=drlanaperez-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0018EAXNQ&asins=B0018EAXNQ&linkId=4d2af22346d94be1c290f9eaa537b533&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF
Making the Caramel:
-Start with the caramel. Pour 1/4 cup Water into a medium saucepan. Slowly pour 2/3 cup 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. The following pictures show you the different stages of the caramel.
-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 Tbl 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 the 2 packages of Cream Cheese, 2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk (don’t throw away the cans just yet), 1 tsp Vanilla, 1 Egg, and 1 Egg Yolk, into a blender. (If you don’t have a blender you can use a hand mixer.)
-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 dot he same. Then pour the liquid into the blender. This was a step that my husband’s grandmother did and for some reason it makes a difference. So don’t skip it!
-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 half way up the side of the flanera. If the water comes up more than half way, there is too much a 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 degrees. 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 int he 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.