Traditional Spanish Flan
This recipe is for individual flans, but if you want one large flan, bake the caramel and custard in a large baking dish for 1 hour and chill for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. For the caramel, dissolve the sugar in ⅓ cup water in a sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar caramelizes to an amber color. Remove from heat and carefully add 1 cup water. Return to heat just to dissolve the caramel remaining on the bottom of the pan.
Ladle 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of the caramel into eight ramekins set inside a baking pan with 2-inch-high sides. Set aside. (Save leftover caramel or discard it.)
For the custard, heat the half-and-half, milk, and sugar together in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together in a bowl and temper the eggs with 1 cup of the hot liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pan. Immediately strain the custard into a pitcher.
Pour the custard into the ramekins, leaving a ½-inch space on top to allow for expansion. Pour hot water into the bottom of the baking pan so it comes halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Cover the baking pan tightly with foil and set it in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, then check to see if the custard has set by jiggling one of the ramekins. It should move like gelatin and not be liquid in the center. If not done, return them to the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are set. Remove the baking pan from the oven, remove the foil, and carefully lift out the ramekins with tongs and set them on a tray to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate them until they have completely cooled, at least 2 hours.
To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin and place a dessert plate on top. Invert the plate and ramekin and give a little shake to release the flan to the plate. Let the caramel run out to form a pool of sauce on the plate.