You will be remembered fondly for this creamy, gently flavored flan. It’s an elegant dessert that can be made up to two days ahead of serving. Perfect!

1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1-1/4 cups whole milk
1-1/2 teaspoons aniseed
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously oil a 1-quart casserole or 8 3/4 cup custard cups.

Combine the milk, aniseed, cinnamon stick and lemon peel in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and remove from the heat. Allow to stand for 45 minutes.

Lightly whisk the eggs into a large bowl. Strain the cooled flavored milk into the eggs; add the vanilla extract and salt. Set aside.

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat; stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil without stirring until the syrup forms and becomes deep amber in color. Swirl the pan and occasionally brush any crystallized sugar clinging to the sides of the pan down into the caramel using a wet pastry brush. Immediately pour the caramel into your prepared casserole or custard cups, which will serve as mold(s). Place the molds in an oven safe pan.

Give the egg and milk mixture a quick brisk stir or whisk and pour into the prepared molds. Place the pan of mold(s) on the center rack of your preheated oven and pour hot water into the pan until it reaches half way up the side of the mold(s).

Bake a 1-quart casserole mold for approximately one hour and individual custard cups for approximately 35 minutes, until gently set. A knife tip inserted in the center of the flan will come out clean when done. Place flan on a rack to cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the flan. Invert the flan onto a pretty dessert plate, allowing the caramel syrup to run down the sides.

Beginners’ Tip:
The casserole or custard cups serve as molds. The flan bakes in a pan with water half way up the side of your mold(s). An extra step now will eliminate guess work and make the next time you bake flan even easier.

Before you begin, fit your molds into an appropriate oven proof pan. For instance a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan will accommodate 8 custard cups. With your molds in place add water until it reaches about half way up the outside of the molds.

Remove the molds and measure the water into a saucepan. The point in measuring is to make note and the next time you prepare flan, you can use the same set-up and know precisely how much water you’ll need to preheat.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

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