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Eclecticisms: Flan Cheesecake

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flan Cheesecake

While baking this cake there was a brief moment where I thought to myself, "It's finally happened. I'm in over my head. This isn't going to work". To be fair, this was around 9:45 at night after I'd scalded my wrist, hurt my pan while digging through my pantry and snuck into my parents house looking for a roasting pan. It was all worth it in the end, and I plan to do it all again. Ok... maybe not the scalding part.

This recipe is from Wolfgang Puck's site, but the credit goes to pasrty chef Sherry Yard.


Ingredients

Caramel
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup water
1 Tbs lemon juice

Cheesecake Base
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese (room temp)
1 1/4 Cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 Tbs grated orange zest
6 Eggs
1 Cup heavy cream

To begin, you will make the caramel that will top your cake. In a heavy metal sauce pan, combine the water, sugar and lemon juice. Over high heat, bring the ingredients to a boil and continue to cook until the mixture is a deep caramel color. I was a bit impatient and afraid to over cook this, so I kept checking the color in the cake pan. It's not easy to tell when this is getting darker when you use a black pot. If you have a lighter color, I'd recommed using that instead.)

As I've been doing in all my recipes lately, I used organic sugar. I swear, it tastes better!

The mixture will get very bubbly as it boils. I stirred it very often, though now that I've read up more on carmelized sugar, I  see that some people say not to stir it at all, but it worked fine for me.

Definitely too light of a color, so I kept boiling the mixture.
Let me say that this doesn't smell very good while you're cooking it. Also, it's incredibly hot and dangerous so be mindful of any kids or pets running around the kitchen. After it's been boiling for awhile and the sugar has liquified, it will start to get a sort of spider web effect (very thin hair-like texture when you pull your spatula or wooden spoon out). The adjective spindly comes to mind, though I'm not sure that's really the word to use. When it cools, it resembles glass. Anyways. It was on my next try to pour a tiny bit into the pan to check how the color was progressing when I dripped it on my wrist. Needless to say, it hurt like a son of a.... and I was in a lot of pain! Lukily, I just ended up with a small, albeit painful, blister.

I probably could have gone just a bit longer, but got a nice, rich color.
Once the  caramel is done, pour it into a 9" cake pan and rotate it so the carmel completely covers the bottom and a bit of the sides. Use a poholder, because that pan will be HOT! Set aside to cool while you prepare the cake base.

Set your oven to 325 degrees and put a kettle of water on. (Seriously. And no, we are not making tea.)

Beat your cream cheese on low speed until smooth, or about 3 minutes.




Scrape the sides of the bowl well. low speed until the cream cheese is smooth. Stop the machine. With a small knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. With the knife tip, scrape the tiny vanilla seeds from inside each half into the mixer bowl.

Vanilla beans smell heavenly!
Add the orange zest and sugar, beating on low until everything is thoroughly mixed (about 2 more minutes).






This batter smells AMAZING. The vanilla beans give it a very cool color, and reminded me of ice cream!
Add eggs one at a time, beating throroughly and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.


With the blender on low speed, slowly add in the cream, stopping 2 or 3 times to scrape the sides of the bowl.


Put your cake pan into a roasting pan or any metal dish that will hold it, with room to spare. Now, pour this mixture into your pan. Be careful, so you don't spill over the edges!

This is the pan I got at my parents' house. I had planned on using one of my casserole dishes but they are too small to fit the cake pan. (Make sure you have something big enough!) This vegetarian does NOT own a roasting pan, and apparently they aren't the same size. Oops!
Pour the boiling water into the larger pan, so it comes about halfway up your cake pan. Carefully place it in the oven and bake for about 1 hour, or until the cake begins to firm on the edges. (The center will be very jiggly, but don't worry... that's how you want it!)

A little spillage, but nothing serious.

Very carefully remove the cake from the oven and once cool enough, take the pan out and let cool on a wire rack. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I find it best to chill over night, partly because I like to bake so late, but mostly because this way I won't be tempted to pick at it early!


Once chilled, place a plate on top of the cake pan and holding it securely, flip the cake pan over. My panic really kicked in here, because I was convinced the cake wouldn't come out all at once and I'd end up with a huge mess on my hands.

But....

guess what.

It came out PERFECTLY! (And I cried out with glee, like a little girl.)

Expect some of that sugar to drip out! It's messy!


Gorgeous! (If I do say so myself.)
To help ease the cake out of the pan (assuming your's sticks like mine did) you can gently press around on the bottom the the pan to loosen the cake. You'll hear the sugar cracking as you go. The bottom of the pan will look super cool when you're finished.



Even Pickles came to see the neat cracked-glass look!
´╗┐After I marveled at the beauty left in the pan, I realized I had to clean it out and lost some of the excitement. It was much easier than I initally thought though. Just run super hot water on it and rotate the pan as it comes off, making sure to get all the spots.


My stove is a mess in this pic because my friend Derrick and I had just prepared dinner for 20 people, but I had to get a shot of the cake after I cut it. It looked so neat!


Enjoy! This is one of the lightest and tastiest cheesecakes I've had. I can't wait to make it again, and I think Brian agrees...


... since he so obviously enjoyed this one.

Happy baking!
´╗┐

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6 Comments:

At January 24, 2011 at 9:45 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

mmmmmm cheesecake! =) I've been dying to make cheesecake for a while now! I might have to pass this recipe to the hubs to make it for me!

xoxo
Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

 
At January 24, 2011 at 9:49 PM , Blogger Deanna said...

Aaaaaaaaand it happens to be gluten-free as well!

Thanks for sharing this recipe! I'm gonna have fun trying to de-egg it. :-)

 
At January 24, 2011 at 9:51 PM , Blogger BEadECLECTIC said...

It is gluten free! Let me know how the de-egging works!

 
At January 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM , Blogger Alison said...

This looks fabulous!

 
At January 25, 2011 at 2:35 PM , Blogger ohkeeka said...

Gorgeous! Reading this makes me so hungry. I'm not a fan of the egg-y/custardy texture of flan but I LOVE the flavor, so this sounds really fantastic. I wish I was as gifted in the baking department as you are!

 
At February 3, 2011 at 8:33 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks so much for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday. I hope you'll be able to join in again.

 

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