I feel like Dr. Seuss..."The fox in socks likes flan in a pan". My dear friend, Adrianna, taught me how to make this. She was born and raised in central Mexico, so I KNOW this is autentico! It is so YUMMY. It has a firm consistency (which I like). Next time you are in search of a dessert to bring to a pot-luck, try this!!! I guarantee there won't be any left to bring home.
Blend together: sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, eggs, vanilla and salt in blender until frothy on top. May have to do it in two batches. If so, mix half of everything in one batch and the remaining half in the second batch so you get a uniform mixture. Set aside.
Place DRY sugar in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stir sugar constantly until it melts and turns golden brown. This takes awhile and the sugar will get all lumpy before it melts. Just keep stirring and do NOT add water. When it reaches a light-medium golden color…pull it off the stove (if you brown the sugar too much it will turn bitter and you’ll have to chuck it and start over, so be careful.)
IMMEDIATELY pour the caramelized sugar into an UNGREASED 7 1/2 x 12 inch glass baking dish* to coat bottom of dish evenly. You have to work quickly as this sets up really fast. Let sugar-coated baking dish cool on counter to room temperature. As the sugar cools, it will crack. Don’t worry, it’s not your dish cracking…just the sugar.
Pour egg/milk mixture into dish over cooled sugar. Place filled dish in 1-inch water bath**. Cover with tented aluminum foil and crimp edges around dish. Be careful that foil does not touch top of flan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours or until knife comes clean when inserted. Remove foil and continue baking, uncovered, for 10-15 additional minutes until top of flan is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool to room temp. Cover with tented foil (can use toothpicks to hold foil off top of flan) and refrigerate until cold (overnight is best).
* May use individual ramekins if preferred. May also use a 9x13 pan but you will need to increase the recipe by about 1/2.
**to make water bath (aka "Bain Marie"), use disposable aluminum roasting pan (or a regular roasting pan) that is at least a couple of inches larger around than the baking dish. Fill with hot water about 1 inch or so up the side of baking dish. You will periodically need to refill water bath to maintain adequate level during baking process.