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ABUELA'S CHEESE FLAN - Alexander Santiago-Jirau, NYTW Director of Education

"This is a recipe I learned from my grandmother while growing up in Puerto Rico. It's basically a flan that tastes like a soft light yet rich cheesecake. You can make it during the holidays and it is a must at Thanksgiving! Over the years, I have perfected the recipe by varying the amount of eggs. Every year I bring the flan to NYTW's Winter Potluck and go back home with an empty plate. It's really easy to make; give it a try!"
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Sweets
Cuisine Puerto Rican


  • Oven
  • Blender
  • Measuring Cup
  • Flan Plan or 9.5 in Pyrex Pie Dish
  • Saucepan
  • Large Baking or Casserole Dish


  • 5 Eggs (3 whole and 2 yolks)
  • 1 8oz Block of Cream Cheese
  • 1 14oz Can of Condensed Milk
  • 1 12oz Can of Evaporated Milk
  • Splash of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Sugar


  • Pre-heat oven at 350°.
  • Mix the eggs, cream cheese, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and a splash of vanilla in blender until the ingredients have been fully liquified (about 1min).
  • On a saucepan, put the sugar, sprinkle some water and in low heat turn sugar into caramel. Stir continuously as the sugar melts.
  • Once the caramel is ready, pour it into your flan pan or pyrex dish. Move the pan around to make sure the caramel fully covers the bottom of the dish.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan with the caramel.
  • Cook for 45min at 350° in a bain de Marie or bain-Marie (or Baño de María in Spanish). NOTE: A bain-marie is the fancy French term for a hot water bath. It’s used for cooking delicate dishes like custards to provide uniform heat around the food. Find a baking dish with high sides that will hold your flan pan. I usually use a large baking dish or casserole dish. Place the flan pan with the mix inside the casserole dish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then pour the boiling water into the larger baking dish and around the flan pan. Avoid splashing water into the flan! The water should come about halfway up the sides of the flan pan. You can also use hot tap water instead of boiling water. It is easiest to do this last step with the dish in the oven already. By pulling out the oven rack and filling the dish with water right there, you avoid the danger of splashing hot water into the flan when transferring the dish to the oven!
  • After 45min at 350° take a knife and insert it at the center of the flan. If the knife comes out clean, the flan is ready. If it is not ready, give it an additional 5min of baking time. Check with a knife again!
  • Once the flan is done, take it out of the oven and let cool down on your counter for 30min-45min.
  • Once the flan is cooler (yet still somewhat warm), use a knife to lightly separate the side edges of the flan from the pan if needed, then carefully flip the flan into your serving dish. The some liquid caramel should cover the flan. Drip any remaining caramel from the pan into the flan or around the dish.
  • Optional: garnish the center of the flan with a couple raspberries, cherries, or strawberries, and some mint leaves.
  • Place flan in the refrigerator for about 1hr. Then pull out and you are ready to serve.