To celebrate I share with you...
FLAN!! The universal Mexican dessert! Be careful not to burn the caramel.
1 1/2 cups (12 oz/375 g) sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) milk
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) half-and-half (half cream)
3/4 cup (6 oz/185 g) sugar
8 whole eggs, plus 4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (essence)
Boiling water, as needed
Preheat an oven to 325F (165C).
To make the caramel, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture begins to turn golden, 12-15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking and swirling occasionally until the mixture is dark brown and smells of caramel, about 5 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and pour into a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan or eight 3/4-cup (6-fl oz/180-ml) custard cups. Using a kitchen towel or hot pad, tilt the pan or cups, swirling the caramel to coat the bottom and sides evenly. Let stand for a few minutes; the caramel will cool down and form a layer about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick on the bottom and sides. Then pour the excess caramel back into the saucepan it was cooked in.
To make the flan, pour the milk into the saucepan holding the excess caramel
and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the caramel has dissolved
in the milk, 3-5 minutes. Strain the warm milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve
set over a bowl. Add the half-and-half and stir to mix well. Add the sugar,
whole eggs and egg yolks, and vanilla. Whisk until blended, then strain through
the fine-mesh sieve into the prepared pan or cups. Set the pan or cups in a
roasting pan and place the roasting pan in the oven. Pour boiling water into
the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan or custard cups.
Bake until the center of the custard(s) feel just firm when pressed gently with
the fingertips, 45-55 minutes for the large pan or 30-40 minutes for the individual
cups. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 1 1/2 hours. Then cover with
plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days.
To serve, run a knife along the inside edge of the pan or cups to loosen. Invert a serving dish over the pan or a saucer over each cup. Quickly invert and carefully lift off the pan or cup. Carefully pour excess caramel into a small sauce pitcher.
Serve chilled. Offer the extra caramel alongside.
"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"