Flan is one of the most popular Spanish desserts. It is smooth, rich, creamy, sweet and not particularly low in fat. The classic one is a mixture of eggs, milk and sugar which is poured into the molds with caramel and then baked in water bath. Milk, which is used to prepare a flan, is often flavored with vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest. There are, of course, many mouthwatering variations of flan: with almonds, fruits, chocolate, coffee, cheese, yogurt, turrón or dulce de leche. There are also savory ones, which may contain fish, seafood, vegetables and so on. Today, however, being in a season for strawberries, I decided to prepare flan with cream cheese, covered with strawberry sauce with a hint of vanilla; instead of traditional liquid caramel.
Ingredients (serves 4):
125 g cream cheese
170 g evaporated milk, unsweetened
80 g sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
butter for greasing the molds
250 g strawberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
40 g sugar
30 g water
seeds from a slice of vanilla bean
Pour the water into a saucepan. Add the sugar and cook over law heat until the liquid becomes syrup. Add the lemon juice and vanilla seeds, mix well and set aside. Wash the strawberries and remove the stems. Put them into a blender, add the sugar syrup and mix until smooth. Cool in the refrigerator.
Mix the cream cheese with sugar and vanilla sugar. Add the evaporated milk, eggs and a pinch of salt. Blend until the mixture is well combined.
Grease the molds with butter and then pour in the mixture. Put the molds with flan into casserole dish or bigger mold and pour in some hot water, which should reach halfway up the molds.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC and bake the flans for about 60 minutes. For the first 45 minutes you can cover the molds with aluminium foil, this will prevent the flans from burning. Remove the flans from the molds when completely cooled down. Let them chill in the refrigerator. Serve topped with strawberry sauce.