Yield: 6 servings
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
* 3 large eggs
* 2 large egg yolks
* Pinch salt
To make the caramel: have ready a 2-quart round flan mold and a large
roasting pan. Combine 1 cup of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in
a heavy-bottomed pot or pan. Place over medium-high heat and cook
until the sugar begins to melt. Swirl the pan over the heat until the
syrup darkens to a medium amber color, about 10 minutes; don't stir
with a spoon. Remove from the heat and immediately add the lemon
juice, swirl the pan again to combine, and then pour into the flan
mold. Tilt the dish so that the caramel evenly coats the bottom and a
bit up the sides, place in the roasting pan and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, bring a kettle of water to a boil
for the water bath and keep it hot.
Combine the cream, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small saucepan over
medium-low flame. Bring the cream to a brief simmer, stirring
occasionally. Take care not to let the cream come to a full boil to
prevent it from spilling over.
In a large bowl, cream together the whole eggs and yolks with the
remaining 1/2 cup of sugar; add a pinch of salt. Whisk until the
mixture is pale yellow and thick. Temper the egg mixture by gradually
whisking in the hot cream mixture; don't add it too quickly or the
eggs will cook. Pass the mixture through a strainer into a large
measuring cup to ensure that the flan will be perfectly smooth. Pour
the custard into the caramel-coated mold.
To create the water bath: pour the hot (not boiling) water into the
roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the mold; be careful not
get water into the custard. Carefully transfer to the middle oven
rack, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the custard is barely set
and just jiggles slightly. Let the flan cool in the water bath, then
refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to serve, run a knife around the inside of the mold
to loosen the flan. Place a dessert plate on top of the flan and
invert to pop it out.