¾ cup sugar and a pinch of salt or use ready-made caramel
1 ¼ cup whole milk
1 cup double cream
2 ½ teaspoons instant-espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons whisky (optional)
2 large eggs
For approx. 14 espresso cups or 12 ramekins. You can also half the recipe. This coffee version is something special if you use espresso cups.
Preheat oven: 160°C or 320°F or, if available, you can cook the flans in a steamer. See instructions ‘If steaming’ below.
If you are not using ready-made caramel: Cook 1/2 cup sugar with a pinch of salt in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel. Immediately pour the caramel into the cups and tilt to coat bottoms. Let the caramel cool down.
If you are using ready-made caramel: Just pour the caramel into the cups and tilt to coat bottoms.
Bring the rest of the ingredients — except the eggs – to simmer over moderate heat, stirring; then remove from heat and let it cool a bit. Whisk eggs until blended. Slowly whisk in milk mixture. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve. Divide the custard over the prepared cups.
If baking in oven: Arrange the cups in a roasting pan lined with a kitchen towel. Pour enough hot water into the baking pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake flans in the preheated oven for about 50 min. Remove cups from water and let stand 30 min.
If steaming: Arrange the cups on the perforated tray and steam at 90°C (195°F) for 30 min.
Chill until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. Optional: Serve them dolloped with whipped cream and/or garnish with coffee beans.
If you are using espresso cups, don’t bother to unmold them. Just serve them directly as if you were serving an espresso. Surprise and delight your guests!