1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 cups milk
2 cups half and half
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Make caramel. When dark amber, remove from heat and pour into a 9" round cake pan, swirling a bit up along the sides to 1/4" thickness.
3. Pour any excess caramel back into the pan it was cooked in and add 2 cups milk. Cook over low heat to dissolve excess caramel in the milk, about 1-2 minutes. Pour the warm milk into a bowl and stir in the sugar until melted.
4. Lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks together in a bowl until just combined.
5. To the warm milk and sugar, add the cold half-and-half, beaten eggs, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Strain the mixture and ladle gently over the caramel in the cake pan.
6. Set flan in a roasting pan. Add boiling water into the pan until it rises halfway up the cake pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until the center just feels firm when pressed gently with fingertips.
7. Set aside to cool for at least 1 1/2 hours or until room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.
8. To serve, run a knife along the inside edge of the pan to loosen the flan. Cover with a platter and quickly invert. Carefully drain excess caramel into a small sauce pitcher and reserve. Serve wedges of flan on dessert plates topped with extra caramel sauce.