Anyone who’s ever made Creme Caramel knows that the hold-your-breath moment happens way after all the work- when the rich flan has been chilled and is ready to be unmolded in all its jiggly glory. As one runs the thinnest knife possible around the edges of the pan, and gets ready to transfer it to a serving platter- that’s the moment we learn whether it’s baked up smoothly and whether the caramel has melted perfectly.
But here’s an idea: make your Creme Caramels in individual portions, such as these affordable aluminum containers pictured above. Serve them right from there with spoons, and you take unmolding completely out of the equation. The containers are disposable, yes, but they look just fine- and believe me, once your friends and family take their first spoons of these creamy delicious flans- made only with egg yolks- they won’t care. Really.
Mini Creme Caramels
1 cup white granulated sugar, divided into two half-cups
6 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Now make your caramel: Put 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan, and cook into a caramel- a rich golden brown (too much and it’ll be bitter, too little and it’ll be too sweet). Immediately remove from heat, and divide up into 9 mini custard cups. Set this aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks with the other 1/2 cup sugar. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Slowly (you don’t want to cook the eggs) drizzle in the warm milk. Then stir in vanilla. Pour into your custard cups.
Set cups in a large baking pan, place on the oven rack, then add hot water to the pan, up to about half of the custard cups. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in centers comes out clean.
Let cool completely. Cover with foil, and chill until ready to serve- with spoons!