Flan Ice Cream for the Hot Days Ahead
Maybe is the laziness of summer, but I have been fixated with the idea of just throwing the ingredients of my cheese flan into an ice cream maker and hit on. What would I get out of that? This was an experiment I had never made before so ice cream was not an obvious answer.
I started to experiment with the easiest series of steps, which was cooking the eggs with the condensed and evaporated milk as if I was making a curd (ice cream has a curd base after all) and then to the ice cream machine where I’ll add the cream cheese in pieces. I was counting that the cream cheese would incorporate to the ice cream with the rotation of the bowl. But even if the cream cheese was quite softened, as soon as it touched the cold bowl it started to harden pretty fast. I ended up with ice cream filled with big chunks of cream cheese. Needless to say it was a disaster. A very delicious disaster nevertheless.
On my second round I decided to mix the cream cheese with everything else and cook that mixture before transforming it into ice cream. I beat the cheese first to make it very soft and fluffy and then incorporated the rest of the ingredients. I chilled the mixture overnight to allow the proteins of the eggs to relax. And the next day, after the ice cream machine went on and on churning that ice cream base, the most creamy and delicious ice cream was ready to be spooned. And it tasted exactly like my cheese flan recipe. It was such a delicious surprise. I was very happy! I played around with the method but the ingredients and the amounts were exactly the same, which was my goal since the beginning.
To enhance that particular flan flavor I made a caramel sauce as you would for a flan, which is completely optional of course. Here I had to alter the traditional flan caramel sauce to make ir pourable, that’s why it uses coconut milk and butter. The first time I had my ice cream I added some of the caramel sauce, but we’ve been having our good share of it without the sauce. Either way I know you are going to love this treat!
1. Make sure the cream cheese is very soft before beating it.
2. Technically you just need to chill the base a few hours, but it’s much better if you can chill it overnight, this way it will be very cold and it will have a smoother and thicker texture which will yield a creamier ice cream.
3. I used coconut milk for the caramel sauce but you can use the traditional heavy cream if you prefer. You may store it in the fridge and if it is not soft enough to pour when you want to use it just heat in the microwave for a few seconds.
Cheese Flan Ice Cream
Total time - 5 hours or more if chilling overnight Active time - 20 minutes
Equipment - Stand mixer or electric hand mixer, large glass bowl, large sieve, ice cream machine
Cream cheese at room temperature and very soft – 12 oz
Sweetened condensed milk – 1 can (14 oz)
Evaporated milk – 1 can (12 oz)
Vanilla extract – ¼ Tsp
Eggs at room temperature – 5
Put the cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Beat it in medium low speed either with the whisk attachment if using the stand mixer or with the beaters if using a hand electric mixer until fluffed and very creamy and work towards breaking any lumps, about 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer still running slowly pour in the condensed milk and let it incorporate with the cheese. With a very thin stream add the evaporated milk. Finally add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time and wait until one is incorporated before adding the next one. Beat for 1 minute.
Place a large sieve on a large glass bowl and pass the mixture through it. Put the bowl on a skillet filled with a bit of water. Bring the water to a gentle boil while stirring the mixture slowly and frequently with a wooden spoon or large silicon spatula. Do not use a whisk or fork. Stir until the mixture gets a little bubbly and it reaches a temperature of 170°, about 8 to 10 minutes. Retire the bowl and let it cool down for a few minutes and then chill it in the fridge at least for 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Pour the chilled mixture into the bowl of the ice cream machine that has been already frozen. Turn it on and churn for 20 minutes, until the ice cream is almost overflowing out the bowl. Transfer ice cream to a stainless steel or freezer resistant recipient. Freeze for a few hours before eating for a semi soft ice cream or wait until the next day for extra firm ice cream.
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – ¼ cup
Coconut milk or heavy cream – ¼ cup
Butter – 3 TBSP
In a small saucepan combine sugar with water. Combine using a hand whisk. Heat in medium heat and whisk occasionally, just until a paste forms from the sugar and water. Let the sugar melt, swirling around the saucepan from time to time to stir. Cook until the sugar is dark golden brown and has a strong caramelized smell. Be careful not to burn the sugar (see notes). Retire form heat and add milk or heavy cream. The caramel will burst into bubbles and that’s completely fine. As soon as the caramel goes down add the butter and stir to combine. Return to heat and cook for about a minute. Retire from heat and let it cool. Store in the fridge and reheat in the microwave a few seconds every time you need to use it.