What is a cheesecake flan?
January 15th, 2011 by

Gingerbread Cheesecake Flan with Blood Orange Sauce, Gingered Apples, Candied Kumquats and Pomegranate Seeds

For New Year’s Eve the restaurant planned a special five course tasting menu but unlike some of our other specialized tasting menus, the New Years Eve menu had choices for each course. For the dessert course we offered three options: a chocolate dessert, a fruit dessert, and a cheese plate. For the fruit option my boss picked a recipe, of which she had done a variation for the menu a few years ago, called a cheesecake flan. She asked me to play with it a bit, changing the flavors and the plating. The dish pictured above is one example of the possibilities we threw around.

Before we go deeply into the components of the dish above, it would probably be useful to consider the cheesecake flan itself. What is a cheesecake flan? I admit to being quite baffled myself when she first handed me the recipe until I made it and tasted it. The texture is exactly what you would expect if you mashed a creamy dense cheesecake with a slick eggy flan. The result is actually quite nice, dense but also light, cheesy but not cloying especially when served with an acidic element to cut the fat and sweetness.

I chose gingerbread as the main flavor for the cheesecake flan because it seemed festive and the spices were well balanced by the creaminess of the cheesecake element. The apples added a fruity juiciness and some texture. I soaked them in a water infused with fresh ginger to keep them from discoloring and to add dimension to the gingerbread spices in the cheesecake. The pomegrante seeds and candied kumquat added some much needed acid and color. There is also a lightly sweetened guava sauce to act as a bridge between all of the other components.

BecauseĀ  I was thinking about gingerbread houses all day and I had a little bit of extra time I also piped some quick sugar icicles. I hope the people who ate this dish found them whimsical and not trite, though I suppose confusing is also an option. Overall, I was satisfied with this dish, I thought once I got past the “what is this” stage that the plate came together in a well balanced and fun sort of way.

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