A standard dessert throughout Spain and much of the rest of Europe, flan is simply a sweet, baked custard. It makes the perfect finish to any hearty, spicy, intensely flavored main course. Our version is made naturally with Rapadura, an unrefined, unbleached whole cane sugar prized for its caramel flavor.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Have ready an ungreased 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.
Combine 1/2 cup Rapadura with 1 tablespoon water and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute until mixture is thick and bubbly. Be sure to stir constantly as the Rapadura will burn easily.
Immediately pour the hot caramel syrup into the baking dish and swirl the pan until it coats the bottom. Set aside.
Gently but thoroughly whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and the remaining 2/3 cup Rapadura in a mixing bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk and vanilla. Pour the custard mixture into the prepared dish. Set the dish in a larger baking pan and fill the larger pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Bake until a knife inserted two-thirds of the way to the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. The center should still be slightly soft, as the flan will finish cooking after it is removed from the oven. Cool in the water bath, then remove baking dish from water bath and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
Before serving, run a sharp knife around the edge of the flan. Place a large rimmed serving plate over the baking dish and, using both hands, invert so that the flan and the liquid sauce unmold onto the platter. Refrigerate again until serving time.
Note: This flan can be made in individual 8-ounce ramekins, in which case the baking time would be reduced by about 10 minutes.
Source: Sound Consumer December 2003
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