Melt the 1/3 cup sugar directly in the 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 bottom and the entire surface is covered. Remove from heat; syrup will harden and crack, but that's okay.
Beat together eggs and the 7 tablespoons sugar; add milk, instant coffee dissolved in water, vanilla and cinnamon. Set caramel-lined pan in hot water in oven; pour in egg mixture carefully. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes; test doneness by gently pushing custard in center with back of a spoon -- when done a crevice about 3/8-inch deep forms.
Remove from hot water and chill at once. When cold, 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 flow out. To serve, cut in wedges, and spoon on sauce.
Recipe editor Patricia Mitchell
Online Since 1997
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