Portuguese caramel flan recipe

Portuguese caramel flan recipe
 
Being Portuguese you have to know what crème caramel is. This classic dessert is made only for the Holidays and each family have their own recipe. It's funny because I remember as a kid the competition between my tia's and mom about whos flan will taste better. Today I'm sharing my twist on it.  Hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!
 
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Ingredients:
 
Caramel
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp of water
 
Flan
6 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 cups of milk
1 lemon peel
1 vanilla bean (open and scrapped)
Step 1
Preheat oven at 350' F.
Step 2
Caramel
Place the sugar in a medium size pot. Pour the water in the middle. Let it cook on medium heat. Your sugar will start melting and turning into a golden color. Stir continuously until it is completely melted and has thickened. If it smells burned, its because the heat is to high and your caramel has burned, you will have to start all over again. ***Be extremely careful because you can seriously burn yourself. Never ever touch the sugar*** 
Step 3
Once melted, poor the caramel into the bottom of each ramekins for individual portions OR 1 medium size oven proof dish. ***You just want to cover the bottom*** Set aside while the caramel hardens. To wash your pan, simply fill up the entire pot of water and let the sugar dissolve on it's own.
 Step 4
In a medium size pot, heat the milk with the lemon peel and the vanilla beans on low for about 5 minutes. (cut the vanilla bean in half, remove the beans and place both peel and beans in you milk.) You DON'T want your milk to boil, you just want it to be warm. Strain your mixture in another bowl and let it cool down.
 Step 5
Using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, sugar and salt until you get a lemony color about 5 to 6 minutes on medium speed.
Step 6
Lower the speed. Continu beating and gradually add your milk mixture until all the milk is incorporated.
 Step 7
Poor your egg mixture into your ramekins or soufflé dish that has been coated with caramel.
 Step 8
Transfert all your ramekins OR your soufflé dish into a larger oven proof deep pan. Fill the pan with water at least 1 inch. Bake 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Step 9
Let the flan cool in it's dish. Transfert your flan in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours or over night. (the custard has to set) When ready to serve, loosen the sides with a knife cutting all around it. Place a serving dish on top of your flan and flip your dessert. Let the caramel drip over your flan. You may also use a spoon to scrape it. If your caramel is to hard, place your dish in hot water until it melts. Then simply transfert it on to your flan.
Enjoy!