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My Mother's Flan

April 2013

Serves 6
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Orange segments (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
Fresh mint (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

To make the caramel, put 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil the syrup, stirring and swirling the pan, and you’ll see the caramel turning a light brown color. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until it becomes a dark amber color. Keep an eye on the caramel as it cooks; you don’t want it to burn. Quickly pour the caramel into six ramekins, coating the bottoms evenly. Set aside to let cool and harden.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and the eggs. Pour in the cream, half and half and vanilla and gently mix together well. Strain mixture through a sieve into bowl with a lip, or a pitcher. Set the caramel coated ramekins in a roasting pan and pour the custard into the cups. Carefully fill the pan with hot water up to a level in the middle of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and carefully place the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Rotate pan and cook for another 20-25 minutes, until the custard is set. 

Remove the pan from the oven and let custard cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Transfer ramekins to a plate to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, gently run a thin knife around the inside of the ramekin to loosen the flan. Cover with a plate and invert the ramekin onto the plate and allow the custard to come loose onto the plate. The caramel will pool around the flan. Garnish with orange segments, whipped cream and fresh mint, if you like.

Photography by Powers & Crewe