recipe by José Andrés, Chef of Mi Casa and Chef/Owner of ThinkFoodGroup. Image courtesy ThinkFoodGroup.
In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan add the sugar and water. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing down sides of the pan with a brush to prevent burning.
Increase the heat and boil the syrup, stirring and swirling the pan. You’ll see the caramel turn into a light brown color. Continue to cook for 5 more minutes until it becomes a dark amber color. Keep an eye on the caramel as it cooks; you don’t want it to burn. Working quickly, pour the caramel into six ramekins, coating the bottoms evenly. Set aside to let cool and harden.
Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.
In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar and the eggs. Pour in the cream, half-and-half and vanilla extract then whisk together gently as to not Let the mixture sit until the sugar dissolves.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into bowl with a lip, or a pitcher.
Set the caramel coated ramekins in a roasting pan lined with a kitchen towel then divide the custard evenly among the cups. Carefully fill the pan with hot water to reach a little more than the middle of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil, crimping to seal, then carefully place the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Rotate the pan then cook until the custard is set but the center still jiggles when the dish is nudged, another 20-25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, uncover, then let custard cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a plate to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Let the custards stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
To serve, gently run a thin knife around the inside of a ramekin to loosen the flan. Cover the ramekin with a plate then invert the ramekin onto the plate and allow the custard to come loose onto the plate. The caramel will pool around the flan.
Garnish with orange segments, fresh mint leaves and whipped cream, if you like.
2009 Oremus “5 Puttonyos” Aszu, Tokaj, Hungary.