This Pumpkin Cream Cheese Leche Flan recipe is a delectable dessert that combines the seasonal warmth of pumpkin with the flavors of traditional flan. Cream cheese adds an additional layer of richness to this fall dessert that can be enjoyed all year long.
WHAT IS FLAN?
Flan is a popular caramel custard dessert with Spanish origins that is popular in Mexican, Philippino, and Latin American cuisines. It consists of a smooth, creamy custard made from eggs, sugar, and milk, that is baked or steamed until set. Once cooled, it is inverted onto a plate, revealing a sweet and slightly bitter caramel sauce that contrasts well with the custard.
This pumpkin cream cheese leche flan combines the flavors and textures of flan de queso (cream cheese flan) and pumpkin pie – two of my faves – and reminds me of a pumpkin cheesecake flan fusion.
INGREDIENTS FOR FLAN DE CALABAZA
- Sugar: I prefer to use pure cane sugar in recipes
- Pumpkin puree: you can make it from scratch or use canned pumpkin puree, which will say “pure pumpkin” on the label
- Evaporated milk
- Condensed milk
- Cream cheese
- Ground cinnamon
- Mexican vanilla extract
- Salt: a pinch brings out the sweetness in desserts
- Large Eggs: at room temperature
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare caramel by dissolving sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once sugar begins to liquify, stir it frequently with a wooden spatula until it is dissolved and completely smooth. Be sure to break up any lumps with a spatula.
At this point, do not walk away from the stove until your caramel is ready. It can burn in seconds! You will notice that the sugar will start to transform into an amber color sauce. If it burns, you’ll have to start the process all over again.
If your sugar is cooking too quickly, reduce stove to low heat and gradually increase to create the caramel.
Once your caramel topping is a deep golden brown, smooth, and no longer has lumps of sugar, you can proceed to the next step. The caramel in the image above is seconds away from being ready.
Working quickly and carefully, pour caramelized sugar mixture into cake pan, ramekins, or flan mold and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Use baking gloves if necessary. Do not touch or attempt to taste caramel – it is extremely hot!
Combine evaporated milk, condensed milk, pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a blender and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add whole eggs to the blender and process for another 10 seconds. Alternatively, you can whisk eggs in a large bowl and incorporate them into the mixture by hand.
The pumpkin puree adds a light orange hue to the dessert.
Pour mixture into flan pan.
Prepare baño María (water bath) by arranging flan pan into a larger baking dish I use the largest dutch oven pot I have because my baking dishes are too small for my flan pan. Pour enough hot water into the larger baking dish to come half way up the sides of the flan pan. Be careful not to add too much water or splash any into the flan.
Place flan in water bath on a wire rack in the oven and bake for approximately 60 minutes (times will vary depending on oven and in a conventional oven can take up to 2 hours). Lift the foil and check if the center is set. If it’s still very jiggly, it needs more time. NOTE: If baking in a conventional oven, you can also skip the foil and bake uncovered.
To test if flan is ready, insert a toothpick or knife into the center of the flan. If it comes out clean or mostly clean, it’s ready. If it comes out completely wet with the custard mixture, it needs more time.
Remove from oven and let water cool before removing flan pan from the water bath. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
To de-mold flan, remove foil and then carefully run a sharp knife around the edges without cutting into the flan.
Place a large plate over pan.
Moving carefully, invert flan onto a plate. Flan should come out easily with caramel sauce.
Top it with edible flowers or fresh berries for that extra wow factor.
LOOKING FOR MORE FLAN RECIPES?
- Coconut Flan with Passion Fruit
- Mini Coffee and Cream Cheese Flan
- Flan de Rompope (Eggnog and Rum Flan)
- Fresas and Flan
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Leche Flan (Flan de Calabaza)
- 8-inch heavy-duty aluminum cake pan (larger cake pans also work)
- Large serving plate
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare caramel by dissolving sugar in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Once sugar comes to a boil, stir it frequently with a wooden spatula until smooth. Working quickly, pour caramelized sugar mixture into flan pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Do not touch or attempt to taste caramel – it is extremely hot!
- Combine evaporated and condensed milks, pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt, and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add eggs and blend another 10 seconds just until incorporated. Pour mixture into flan pan and cover with foil.
- Prepare baño María (water bath) by arranging flan pan into a larger baking pan or pot (I like to use a large cast-iron pot). Pour enough hot water into the larger baking pan to come halfway up the sides of flan pan. Be careful not to splash any water into the flan.
- Place in oven and bake for approximately 60 minutes (bake time will vary by oven). Lift the foil and check if the center is set. If it's still very jiggly, it needs more time. To test if your flan is ready, you can also insert a toothpick or knife into the center of the flan. If it comes out clean or mostly clean, the flan is ready. If it comes out completely wet with the custard mixture, it needs more time.
- Remove from oven and let water cool before removing flan pan from the water bath.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To de-mold flan, run a knife carefully around the edges without cutting into flan. Place plate over pan and invert onto a plate. Flan should come out easily with caramel sauce. Garnish with edible flowers or berries if desired.
A Note from Lola
Lola’s Cocina is a small business that earns various revenue streams. This includes sponsored posts and affiliate commissions from linked products, which I use and love. This commission is an agreement between Lola’s Cocina and retailers, with no extra cost to readers. This income helps sustains the site.
Lola Wiarco Dweck
Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.