Ever since I was a little boy, I remember my mother would make custard flan for my birthday or special occasions. It made the day!
Since I've been on my own, I have tried to replicate the recipe that captured my taste buds so many years ago. One can easily find many recipes online, but my mother used an ancient cook book from a drawer with boxes of handwritten recipes that she'd collected over the years. Her cooking skills had evolved to the point where she'd rarely need to re-read the instructions, instead trusting her instincts, taste-buds, and memory to add a dash of "this or that".
I couldn't fully appreciate the skills and talent of people who can cook until I no longer had access to such delicious foods on a regular basis. My younger brother is a trained chef and seeing him in action makes me appreciate the value of individuals like family members who share their love through their cooking. The fondness of memories from special events are inextricably tied to the food in my head. Looking back, I realized what took so little time to enjoy started many hours, months, or even years before everyone could have a slice of "heaven" on their plate. My grandmother's recipes were passed down to her children and her memory lives on as I got to enjoy her famous Christmas fruit cake last January in India. There are numerous family occasions where the highlight for me is sitting down with family members to cut, chop, mix, prepare, or grill foods together. The end result being a tasty meal enjoyed in the presence of loving company which dwarfs the experience of buying something off a menu.
My Flan Recipe:
-Preheat oven to 350ºF
-Mix 3 eggs in a large mixing bowl with 12oz of condensed milk
-Add about 1 cup milk and half cup of sugar
-Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
In a separate small pot, melt half a cup of sugar without burning it too much.
In a Flan dish, coat the entire base with the melted caramelized sugar.
Once the dish is coated, pour the well mixed flan batter into the dish and cover with aluminum foil to bake in the oven for an hour.
Once cooked, chill and serve cold.