I have series of books I love called Culinaria. These food encyclopedias focus on a country , break it down by region, and give all sorts of recipes, essays, photos,history,culture,and culinary information.A real treasure trove of information. I love these tomes because not only can I read about the familiar,but the non familiar.Culinaria was a concept by German publisher Konemann. I believe they were very expensive at first when published and went out of print. However I fall upon them from time to time in Borders and Costco at reduced prices. I have paid $9.99-$19.99 for these books . Some are hardcover and some reduced paperbacks. So far I have Spain, Germany, Hungary, and France.I love to pick up and read sections of these books, however have never tried a recipe.
One of the first dishes I mastered as a child was a simple flan, or Creme Caramel as I used to say( I was studying French). I love the simplicity and richness of this dessert. Its funny because flan and crema catalana( similar to creme brulees) may actually be attributed to the Spanish origins first.A possibility.Regardless I love this dessert. Culinaria shows a traditional recipe for flan , as well as fried flan( see something new to me!). Flan takes on many variations depending on the region .Who knew something so simple can become so interesting. Any way I’m hibernating today in this Chicago deep freeze , and what better comfort dessert.

Flan Al Caramelo adapted from Culinaria Spain 2004/2007
Caramel Custard
serves 4

* I added a splash of Cointreau for flavor
1 1/4 cups/250 g sugar
4 eggs , plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups/500 ml whole milk

Put half the sugar and 1/2 cup /125 ml of water in sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until a thick golden syrup forms.Pour into the four ramekins so the bottoms are evenly coated.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F/150 C. Beat eggs, remaining sugar, and yolks. Bring milk to a boil and remove from heat. Allow to cool a bit and add gradually to the egg mixture.Pour into ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish and fill with water so it comes up halfway to the sides if the ramekins. Bake approx 45 minutes. Check to see if water doesn’t evaporate and fill again if necessary.Remove custards from pan and allow to cool. Place ramekins in the refrigerator to continue cooling.
Before serving, dip the base of each ramekin in hot water, and carefully loosen the sides. Turn onto dessert plate and serve.