Vanilla Flan



1 1/4
cups sugar, divided
cup milk
cups heavy cream
large eggs
large egg yolks  

teaspoons pure Mexican vanilla extract



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Add 1 cup of sugar to a small, dry skillet.  Place the skillet over medium-high heat and melt the sugar.  As the sugar caramelizes, press the unmelted sugar into the liquefied part with the bottom of a heavy spoon.


Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until you have a clear, deep-amber liquid.  Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour equal amounts of syrup into six 1/2 cup ramekins, tilting cups to distribute the syrup evenly on the bottoms and sided.


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar.  Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until hot, but not boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.


In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks until well blended.  Slowly pour the eggs into the heated milk mixture, whisking constantly.  Stir in the vanilla extract.


Place the ramekins in a baking pan and divide the milk mixture among the prepared ramekins.  Add boiling water to the pan to come about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake the custards in the water bath for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until they no longer tremble when moved.


Remove the ramekins from the pan, cool, and refrigerate, covered for 3 to 4 hours.


To serve, unmold custards by running a knife around the edge of the ramekins and transfer onto dessert plates. 


Makes 6 servings.



Variation, for Espresso Flan, adds 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered Espresso to taste to the heated milk mixture, stirring until it is dissolved.