1. Preheat oven to 350° F or 325° F if convection.
2. Combine sugar and the water in medium heavy-based saucepan; stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil uncovered, without stirring, until mixture is a deep caramel color. Remove from heat. Pour into a deep 8-inch round baking pan; cool completely.
3. Whisk cream cheese and spices until smooth, add in eggs, vanilla, and sugar in large bowl.
4. Combine cream and milk, citrus peel, cinnamon stick and star anise in medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Shut off heat and let spices steep for 10 min. Strain over egg mixture, whisking constantly to bring the eggs to temperature without scrambling. Strain mixture into cake pan.
5. Place pan in baking dish; add enough boiling water to come halfway up side of pan. Bake, in oven, about 40 minutes or until set. Remove custard from baking dish, let it come to room temp, cover and refrigerate overnight.
6. Gently flip flan into deep-sided serving plate. Enjoy!