Simple ingredients. Simply delicious. This is gratifying to make and wonderful to eat.
- Make a hot water bath for the flan by setting a 9-inch cake pan in a larger pan. While holding down the cake pan so it doesn't float, fill the larger pan with just enough hot water to come about 3/4-inch up the side of the smaller pan. Then remove the smaller pan and put the larger pan of water in a preheating 350°F oven while you mix the flan.
- Melt the 1/3 cup sugar directly in the 9-inch cake pan the flan will be baked in. To melt evenly, hold the pan securely (wear a good oven mitt or use tongs) over or just resting on a burner; shake and tilt the pan, rather than stirring the sugar. Watch carefully. Once melted, sugar will caramelize (brown) quickly; as soon as it does, tilt pan so that the entire surface is covered. Remove from heat; syrup will harden and crack, but that's okay.
- Beat together eggs and the 6 tablespoons sugar; add milk and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the caramel-lined pan, open the oven door, and carefully place the flan in the hot-water bath. Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes; test doneness by gently pushing custard in center with back of a spoon. When done, a crevice will form.
- Remove from hot water and chill at once. To serve, loosen custard edge with a knife, then cover with a rimmed serving plate. Holding plate in place, quickly invert. The flan will slowly slip free and the caramel sauce will flow out. Cut in wedges, and spoon on sauce.
Recipe editor Patricia Mitchell