This coffee infused Italian version of crème caramel makes a wonderful end to any meal. The flans can be made 2 days ahead of serving, making it the perfect entertaining dessert.
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup water
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee granules
½ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
softly whipped cream
Lightly grease 6 x 200 ml or 4 x 300 ml capacity ovenproof baking dishes with canola or vegetable oil.
Preheat the oven to 130˚C.
Caramel: Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat very slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Brush any stray sugar crystals off the side of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water. Increase the heat and boil until the syrup turns a dark golden colour.
Quickly pour into the base of the dishes, tilting to coat evenly. Set aside.
Custard: Heat the milk, coffee, caster sugar and the vanilla in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl then whisk in the hot milk. Strain the mixture into a large jug.
Place a clean kitchen cloth in the base of a deep baking dish and put the dishes on top. Pour the custard into the dishes. Add enough hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes and bake for 40 minutes or until the flans are just set in the centre. They will continue to firm up as they cool. Carefully remove the ramekins from the baking dish and cool. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
To serve: Gently run a knife around the edge of each dish to loosen the custard from the sides. Invert onto serving plates and serve with a spoonful of softly whipped cream.
Menu: Enjoy after a meal of Pork Belly, Apple and Tarragon Salsa Verde, Gnocchi Alla Romana, Fennel, Radicchio and Apple Salad with Red Wine Dressing