My friend wanted me to share the flan recipe we served at our church’s annual Christmas Dinner. It’s actually straight from the Taste of Home website (see “Creamy Caramel Flan” recipe here). But I can embellish with my own story, for your amusement. And add a few tips. Otherwise though, yeah, not my recipe!
But I can tell you: you can multiply this recipe by 24, making it in thirteen 13×9″ pans, cut into 16 servings each, for 208 servings total. IF you are truly serving a crowd, like we did last night. The dessert received good reviews (and some raves, but those were all my friends, right?).
But here’s the catch. Do not caramelize the sugar on one big batch. Do a quarter batch at a time- this cuts your losses, in case the first batch of sugar turns into a burning mass by mistake.
What? How does one turn the sugar into a burning mass, you ask? Well… turns out, caramelizing one pound of sugar at a time is usually no problem (we do it almost daily at The New Deli), BUT. In caramelizing a larger quantity, it could happen that once the sugar gets to just the right temperature, the sugar will keep on cooking, going right past that golden stage, to the stinky brown stage. Even with the heat off! It apparently reaches critical mass and you can hardly get it out of the pan quick enough.
So, my first tip: maybe don’t try to make 210 servings of this. But if you do, turn the heat off for the sugar before it’s the right color. Wait and see- it might get to the right color on its own, given a few extra minutes, even with the heat off.
Second tip: If you want this to become more of a cheesecake than a flan (but an easier cheesecake, since you don’t even need to make a crust for it), then just bake it a bit longer than called for. We apparently did, and that’s what happened!
The recipe’s listed below, with one or two tweaks, if you want to try a single batch of this.
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. water
- 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Cook the sugar and water over medium-low heat, in a heavy-bottomed pan, until melted and golden, about 15 minutes. Pour quickly into a 9×9″ dish (or the equivalent), tilting to coat the bottom; let cool 10 minutes or so. Use: > 3/4 c. sugar > 1/4 c. water
Beat the cream cheese until smooth: > 8 oz. cream cheese
Add eggs one at a time, until mixed: > 5 eggs
Then add: > 1 can sweetened condensed milk > 1 can evaporated milk > 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix well. Pour over caramelized sugar.
Put dish in a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan, 1″ deep.
Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set (mixture will jiggle).
Remove dish from the larger pan, let cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Then refrigerate overnight.
To unmold, run a knife around edges and invert onto a large rimmed serving platter; spoon sauce over the top.
Just for fun, here’s the recipe for 208 servings, below:
Caramel Flan for 200
13 pans cut in 16 pcs. ea. (.318 ea.)
- 9.84 lb. sugar (2.45 lb. per batch)
- 2.68 lb. water (.67 lb. per batch)
- 24 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
- 10 dozen eggs
- 24 cans (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 24 cans (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 4 oz. (.24) vanilla
In a heavy saucepan, cook sugar and water over medium-low heat until melted and golden, about 15 minutes. Use quarter-recipe amounts (do this four times): > 2.46 sugar > .67 water
Quickly pour into (FOUR + ¼ PAN/ea. batch) ungreased 13 x 9” dishes, tilting to coat the bottom; let stand for 10 minutes.
Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Use quarter-recipe amounts as follows (do this four times). Use: > 3 lb. cream cheese > 30 eggs > 6 sweetened condensed milk > 6 evaporated milk > .24 vanilla
Pour over caramelized sugar, in FOUR + ¼ PANS/ea. batch.
Place dishes in larger pan (chafing pans?). Pour boiling water into larger pan, 1″ deep. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set (mixture will jiggle).
Remove dish from a larger pan to a wire rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
To unmold, run a knife around edges and invert, to serve.