Smooth and sweet Classic Flan is a caramel custard treat! Also known as Crème caramel it's the perfect alchemy of eggs, cream, sugar, and a sweet vanilla bean. It may seem a little involved to make but we break it down and you'll see just how easy it is to create a showy dessert for any occasion.
Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F/175°C
Slice the vanilla bean down the center with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds to remove them...
Add the cream, milk, Pink Himalayan sea salt, vanilla bean, and vanilla bean seeds to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, over medium-low heat, after it starts steaming, remove the saucepan from the burner, set aside and steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Then increase the heat to high and cook without stirring until the syrup turns a deep amber color, swirling the pan if necessary. See VIDEO above for help with understanding what color you want your caramel. This process takes about 10 minutes but you must watch it like a hawk because it goes from golden to burned in seconds. If you burn it at all toss it and start again.
Quickly, but carefully spoon or pour the caramel into (6) 3/4-cup ramekins or silicone molds.
Using oven mitts immediately tilt each ramekin to coat sides. Set ramekins into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish that's been lined with a thick kitchen towel.
Add the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar to a glass bowl....
whisk until just blended.
Remove the vanilla bean and gently whisk the cream mixture into the eggs, being careful not to overbeat the custard. You don't want to add air/foam, so use a gentle stroke.
Pour the custard through a fine-meshed sieve
Divide the custard evenly between the ramekins or silicone molds and then fill the 9x13 baking dish with hot tap water (not boiling) halfway up the molds to create a Baine Marie bath.
Bake in the preheated oven until gently set and golden about 40 minutes, transfer to a rack to cool for about 2 hours and then wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight.
Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the flan to loosen.
Place a plate on top of the mold and invert...
Shake gently to release the flan.
Serve with fresh berries and mint if desired (whipped cream is not a classic addition to flan by any means, BUT we had some leftover heavy cream and our guests thought it was magical)