This divine version of the traditional Puerto Rican dessert was created by Chef Naxielly Dominguez for our healthy cooking classes in Spanish. Not only is this coconut flan low fat, it is so simple... to make and delicious to eat that it has since become a firm favorite at all of our classes. A real tropical treat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set 8 4-ounce ramekins or aluminum muffin tins in two large roasting pans and set aside.
In a small, heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over moderately high heat; stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until an amber caramel forms, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour about ½ tablespoon of the caramel into the ramekins using a metal spoon, then swirl to coat the bottom of the ramekin. Immediately sprinkle each ramekin with ½ tablespoon of grated coconut and set aside.
In a blender or food processor, put the rest of the grated coconut, cream cheese, coconut milk, condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla. Blend until you get a uniform mixture. Transfer to a bowl and stir for a couple of minutes to remove the foam.
Pour the custard into the prepared ramekins. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards for about 30 minutes or until set. Let cool in the water bath for about 20 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator.
To turn them out, run a sharp knife round the inside edge. Set a plate over the top and quickly turn the whole thing upside down. The flan should plop out onto the plate along with a dribble of caramel. If the flan is very cold, sit them in ¼-inch of hot water for 5 minutes — this will loosen the caramel before turning them out.
Chef Naxielly Dominguez
When making the caramel, use a small stainless steel pan for the best results.
We’ve called for ½ cup ramekins per serving, but we often use ¼ cups at classes. It is just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth without going overboard on the calories. If you do use the smaller size, check the flan for doneness after 20 minutes.
If you need extra calories, use regular coconut milk and whole condensed milk.