Creamy custardy flan with a dark caramel sauce is the perfect ending to a Mexican feast. The individual flans are baked in a baine marie or water bath, which is not as difficult as it sounds. Because the flans should cool completely before serving, this is a good dessert to make the night before.
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cups water
Cinnamon or nutmeg for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Melt over medium low heat until a deep amber color. Do not stir and watch carefully as the sugar can burn very quickly.
Carefully divide the caramel syrup among 4 ramekins or custard cups. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla with an electric mixer. Stir in milk and water.
Place a 9 x 13 inch pan in the preheated oven. Place the ramekins in the pan. Carefully pour water into the pan until it is about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 50 minutes or until custard is set.
Carefully remove ramekins from the baine marie. Cool completely before serving. To serve, run a knife around each custard, then invert onto individual dessert plates. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired.
Gary: Flan has overtones of caramel that is perfect with oxidized white dessert wines. Look for Pedro Ximenez, particularly from the Montilla region in Spain, and some of the sweeter-style sherries. The Aussie “stickies” from Rutherglen made from Muscat or Tokay would be a delightful accompaniment. White dessert wines without oxidation can also be marvelous, particularly those with concentrated flavors, such as the modern style of Malaga, Sauternes/Barsac, Late harvest Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc and other botrytised delicacies.