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Flan Al Caramelo

Flan, a baked custard with a caramelized sugar sauce, has become a part of the international culinary repertoire and needs no translation. Flan is a staple in just about every restaurant in Spain. Should you prefer an orange variation, add one more egg and substitute 1 1/2 cups orange juice for the milk and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest for the lemon zest.

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 whole large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Whipped cream, if desired

To caramelize sugar, in a small heavy saucepan, cook 1/2 cup sugar and water over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the syrup turns golden in color (the sugar will crystallize before it liquefies). Immediately pour the syrup into 6 individual custard cups.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl until uniform in color. Whisk in the milk, remaining sugar, salt and lemon zest.

Divide the mixture among the prepared cups. Place cups in a baking pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up their sides. Bake about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the custard comes out clean. Remove cups from pan and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Run a knife around the edge of each cup and unmold the flan onto a dessert plate, spooning the caramelized sugar over it. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

"The Best of Spain," by Evie Richter

Thursday, December 27, 2001

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