Lourdes Ryczek of Chicago shared this Cuban recipe from her maternal grandmother, who began making it in the 1920s. "I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen making her signature flan," Ryczek writes.
Donna Pierce writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.
Maria Amelia's Flan
-- Makes 12 servings
CARAMEL: 1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cans (15 ounces each) sweetened condensed milk
3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the caramel, dissolve the sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling, not stirring, until sugar caramelizes, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour caramel into a 9-inch cake pan, swirling the pan slowly to cover the bottom evenly. (Mixture will harden immediately.) Set aside.
Move a rack to lower third of oven; heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a teakettle of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, for custard, beat the eggs with a mixer on medium speed. Beat in the milks slowly. Beat in the vanilla and salt until the mixture is well combined, about 1 minute. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into the caramel pan. Cover with foil.
Place cake pan into a larger baking pan; place in the lower oven rack. Pour boiling water into the larger pan, letting the water come about 1 inch up the sides.
Bake until flan is set, about 2 hours; remove from water bath. Set on wire rack to cool. Refrigerate 24 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the flan; unmold onto a plate.
Per serving: 366 calories, 11 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 136 milligrams cholesterol, 58 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams protein, 174 milligrams sodium, 0 grams fiber