Carmel Baked Custard

1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups milk *
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Caramelize 3/4 cup sugar by placing in a heavy pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts and turns a golden brown. Do not burn sugar – it will ruin the taste of the custard. Immediately pour caramelized sugar into individual custard cups, ramekins or baking dish (loaf pan, 9” cake pan, etc). Tilt dish to coat bottom well. Set aside.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Place baking dish inside a larger pan. Fill larger pan with “hot” water up to the level of the custard mixture. Place in hot oven. Bake about 45 – 70 minutes (depending upon size of baking dish) or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove baking dish from pan of water and cool. To serve, run a knife around edges to loosen custard from dish. Invert onto serving plate with edges.

*NOTE: Milk may be a combination of skim, whole, half-n-half or cream. The richer the milk or greater the cream the richer the custard. I prefer 2 1/2 cups 1% milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream.

FLAN VARIATION: Reduce sugar to 3/4 cup and caramelize as above. Substitute milk with 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk and 1 3/4 cups half-n-half. Follow directions above. Cool flan 1 hour on counter then refrigerate 4 hours to overnight before serving.

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