Flan. A simple, classic Spanish dessert. It is similar to other baked custards, but is lighter and has a creamy texture and mellow flavor. Add that sweet caramel that pools over the top, and you have a simply delicious dessert that will impress your guests. It may seem difficult at first because of the steps, but there are only a few ingredients, and other than the wait time it is relatively easy! Just exercise great care when handling the hot caramel.
Adapted from: The Best International Recipe
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1½ cups milk- (I usually use low-fat, but any other type can be used resulting in varying degrees of richness)
Bring a kettle or a large pot of water to boil.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350. Place a kitchen towel or a Silpat baking mat in the bottom of a large baking dish or roasting pan and place a 9″ cake pan in the center.
In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to a boil, swirling the pan gently, until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally. (there is no need to stir) You want the mixture to caramelize to a deep, dark mahogany color, about 7-10 minutes.
Carefully pour the caramel into the cake pan, swirl to coat the bottom, and cool slightly until hardened.
Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the zest, condensed milk, and low-fat milk. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and gently place the roasting pan on the oven rack. Being careful not to splash any water inside the pan of custard, pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake until the center of the custard is just barely set, is no longer sloshy, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 170 to 175 degrees, 30-40 minutes. The custard will firm up as it chills in the fridge.
Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Wrap the cake pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Run a knife around the cake pan to loosen the custard. Invert a large serving plate on top of the cake pan, and grasping both the pan and the plate, gently flip the custard over onto the plate. Drizzle any extra caramel sauce over the top (some caramel will remain stuck in the pan) serve immediately.