This classic Spanish dessert has many cousins, including crème brûlée and crème caramel. Serve flan simply, with berries and fruit on the side.
In a saucepan over medium heat, cook ½ cup sugar, stirring constantly, util it liquefies and turns a golden shade. Pour the caramelized sugar into a heat-safe flan mold or soufflé dish. Carefully swirl the liquid around to coat the bottom and sides of the dish.
Pour half-and-half into a saucepan and heat until steamy, but not boiling. Add vanilla and almond extracts. In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until light-colored and fluffy. While beating, slowly pour in warm half-and-half. Mix until combined.
Pour egg mixture into flan dish. Place in a baking pan with water coming halfway up the sides of the flan dish. Bake at 350ºF until firm, about 1 hour. (Make sure water in baking pan doesn't evaporate.) Cool in refrigerator and serve with berries.
Once you get the hang of it, making smooth flans and crème brûlées is quite simple. First, always add hot mixtures to eggs slowly, while beating the eggs. Or, beat in a small amount of a hot liquid to warm the eggs, then whisk the eggs into the hot mixture. This will keep the eggs from cooking. Also, custards should be baked in a very moist, humid oven. A water bath will keep the custard from cooking too quickly, which could result in a lumpy dessert.