This scrumptious Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Flan is a delicious custard dessert that’s perfectly spiced and great for Thanksgiving or Christmas! A yummy alternative to pumpkin pie and completely gluten-free!
In the Philippines, one of the most lasting food legacies Spain has left behind with us is the flan or creme caramel. Flan is basically a type of custard. Its unique feature is the liquid caramel on top when the custard is served inverted onto a platter. In the Philippines, we simply call it “leche flan.”
Now I won’t go into the debate of whether you should only use egg yolks or the entire egg when making the custard for the flan. I, personally, use only egg yolks when I make the Leche flan which makes for a softer, super smooth, richer, and creamier flan.
That’s my preference anyway but I have also tasted other flans that use the entire egg and they were also pretty decent. They come out firmer and bouncier but that’s perfectly fine, too.
Leche flan is a huge favorite in the Philippines, especially during the holiday season. I cannot imagine a holiday table without 1-2 (or perhaps more!) Leche flans cooked in oval-shaped molds especially sold and made just for this dessert! That is how much we love Leche flan! It has its own special baking pans!
Because I am such a huge fan of Leche flan, I thought I’d try making a pumpkin version of it for fall and especially for Thanksgiving. However, since I didn’t want the pumpkin flan to simply be like a crustless pumpkin pie (though there’s nothing wrong with that!), I decided to add some cream cheese to the mix as I’ve seen other recipes with that.
I was intrigued with the addition of cream cheese and thought that perhaps it would not only add extra cheesy goodness to the flan but perhaps produce a different texture as well.
Indeed, it became a cross between a custard and a cheesecake – slightly in between – lighter than regular cheesecake but a little denser than the usual custard! I love it!
I’m glad it turned out to be delicious, and what a great alternative to pumpkin pie – perfect for those on a gluten-free diet because it’s naturally crust-free.
For the spices, I decided to use a combination of individual spices because they bring a perfectly delicious complexity to the flan. If you can’t be bothered with using all the spices either use a pumpkin spice mixture (about a tablespoon) or make it without it, too. It’s truly just a matter of taste!
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED TO MAKE THE SPICED PUMPKIN FLAN
(For the full recipe instructions and printing, please check out the recipe card below).
For the caramel topping
Dark brown sugar – for a vibrant and deep caramel color this is preferred.
A little water
For the custard
Eggs – use large eggs brought to room temperature.
Spices (like ground cinnamon,
A little salt
Enjoy this yummy pumpkin flan! Advance Happy Thanksgiving!
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Flan
This scrumptious Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Flan is a delicious custard dessert that's perfectly spiced and great for your Thanksgiving or Christmas! A yummy alternative to pumpkin pie and completely gluten-free!
- 7 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 (14) oz canned condensed milk
- 1 (12) oz canned evaporated milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.
To make the caramel, place the sugar and water in a shallow pan over medium heat. Stir just until the sugar is melted. Allow to boil. When it starts to really thicken, quickly pour the hot caramel over a 9-inch cake pan making sure to spread it all over to cover the entire pan. Set aside and allow to cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and no more lumps appear. Slowly add the eggs and beat just until combined. Add the pumpkin puree, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, spices (maybe replaced with 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice) and, salt. Beat until well-blended.
Alternatively and for convenience, simply add all ingredients in a blender (if you have one big enough to accommodate all the ingredients) and mix until combined.
Pour the liquid mixture into the prepared cake pan over a fine sieve or strainer.
Place the cake pan in a bigger pan. Fill the pan with hot water (hot water from the tap is fine) up to half the height of the cake pan. Bake baine marie (in the water bath) for about 50-60 minutes, or until the center has set.
Allow to cool in the water bath or just until it's no longer too hot to handle. Completely cool on a rack and then refrigerate. Overnight refrigeration is recommended.
To serve, run a thin knife around the pan a couple of times and then invert onto a plate. Enjoy such creamy deliciousness!
If you're feeling rather indulgent, serve with a little heavy or double cream on the side! Yes, for my family everything is better with cream!
NOTES: TIPS & TRICKS
Use a blender for an easy and convenient mixing of all the ingredients.
Instead of using individual spices, simply replace them with 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice.