This flan is smooth, soft and creamy with an incredibly rich flavor. The caramel sauce sets over the top and makes an impressive dessert.
Flan Napolitano is Mexico’s version of a classic dessert. Flan is an egg based custard usually cooked in a shallow dish that has a layer of caramel on the bottom. When it is inverted onto a serving plate the caramel is on top creating a delightful sauce of deliciousness.
Flan is one of the traditional desserts in the Mexico, Spain, Latin and Caribbean countries. Also, it is very similar to the French creme brûlée which is so well known in America. In Mexico, Flan Napolitano is made with the addition of cream cheese to the egg mixture giving the custard a firmer and creamier texture.
When we lived in the Philippines our family loved the dessert called Leche Flan which was made with eggs, condensed milk and evaporated milk. I watched our friend, Naty, as she put this dessert together and one day she wrote the recipe down for me. I have adapted her recipe and added cream cheese to make Mexico’s Flan Napolitano.
I used half-pint wide mouth mason jars to make these delectable desserts. I love how easy and transportable the mason jars are. Screw the lids on and stack them in the fridge until your ready for dessert. As long as you use the jars that have the wide mouth shape to them then the flan will slide out of the jars easily.
The mason jars are heat proof and durable which makes them a great choice for this recipe. If you don’t have mason jars then another ideal choice are the heat proof pyrex custard cups or porcelain ramekins.
Be certain to have your dishes warm before adding the hot caramel syrup to them. Even though these dishes are heat-proof they can sustain thermal shock if there are extreme temperature changes. If you pour the hot caramel sauce into a cold glass dish, the sudden change in temperature will cause the dishes to break. You can run hot tap water over the dishes to get them warmed up then dry them before placing the hot caramel in them.
The hot water bath is an essential step. The water will insulate the custard and prevent it from cooking too fast which will cause the egg-based custard to curdle and give it a rubbery texture. Slow, even heating is the key to a perfectly creamy flan.
This is a dessert you will want to keep bookmarked. Once you serve it to guests, you will get repeat requests to make more.
A creamy, sweet flan custard with a caramel sauce. Flan Napolitano is a traditional dish in Mexico.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
For the Custard:
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 6 egg yolks, whisked briefly with a fork
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer while preparing the custard.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt sugar and corn syrup until liquefied and light amber in color. This takes some time....be patient and it all comes together eventually and turns a light caramel color. Carefully spoon 2-3 tablespoons of hot syrup into each of 6 individual small oven-proof dishes. An example would be pyrex custard dishes. I used the half-pint, wide mouth Mason jars.
- In a medium size bowl, add the cream cheese and slowly, in increments, add the condensed milk, stirring to keep the mixture smooth. Do not use the blender, mixer or food processor as it will add air bubbles to the mixture. Add the evaporated milk, the egg yolks and sugar and mix together. Pour the custard mixture through a fine mesh strainer that has been set over a large bowl and strain out any egg particles or lumps.
- Ladle the custard mixture into the prepared dishes that have been set into a large pan. Set the pan with the custards in the oven and pour hot water into the pan so it comes half-way up the sides of the custards. Bake for 40 minutes, (check after 30 minutes and cover with a sheet of foil if custards begin to brown) until a knife inserted into the center of one custard comes clean. Do not over cook. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the hot water, then remove from the water and refrigerate to cool completely.
- To serve, insert a knife between the custard and the dish to loosen the custard. Carefully invert the dish onto serving plates and garnish if desired.
- These custards will keep for 3 to 5 days refrigerated.
It is a good idea to have the custard dishes warm/hot prior to adding the hot caramel syrup. This step will help prevent your dishes from cracking.Making the caramel syrup will take longer than putting the custard together. Cook it to only a light caramel color. I have a glass cook-top and it requires a low heat setting in order to melt the sugar slowly. When mixing the cream cheese and condensed milk together, I found that a stiff spatula works best.