This recipe, from my friend Karen, will delight anyone who loves flan, creme brulee, creme caramel, or any in that family of vanilla custards. Of course, for this one, you should like cinnamon, too.
Karen and her husband, Dan, made this when they hosted bridge once in the past. Come to think of it, they are due to host next month. Maybe, just maybe, she'll make it again.
My group gets together once a month, on a Saturday evening, for food, drinks, sweets (not only dessert, but bowls of chocolates on the card tables), and good cards. Though we are all pretty good, I think, this is about as laid back and non-cutthroat a group as you could hope to find. Perfect. The only sad thing (well, one of them) is that our lives are getting so busy that fewer can make it each month. I myself have missed the last two get-togethers due to schedule conflicts.
My turn to host in April. I'd better make sure to be free that date.
1 quart milk
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 cinnamon sticks
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bring the milk and 1/2 cup of sugar, and the cinnamon sticks to a boil over medium heat. Once they come to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and allow it the milk mixture to cool for 30 minutes.
Heat a small, heavy saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of sugar. Stir until melted and amber. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until all is dissolved. Pour into a loaf pan, or into four to six individual dishes.
Lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Whisk in milk mixture and vanilla. Strain. Pour milk mixture over the dissolved sugar. Place loaf pan or individual custard dishes into a larger baking dish, and add hot water until about halfway up the sides of the inner dishes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes for 1/2 cup sized custard dishes, one hour if using a loaf pan. Remove from the oven, then refrigerate until cold. Turn upside down onto dessert plates and serve.
Here's a recipe that uses evaporated milk and condensed milk.
[Image from the Orlando Public Library]