ALMOND FLAN WITH SUMMER FRUITS (for six)
1-3/4 cups sugar
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 large whole eggs
5 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ pint strawberries
½ pint blueberries, picked over
2 peaches, cut lengthwise into sixths and sliced crosswise (If peaches are not available, substitute the fruit of your choice. The pictures above use clementine sections instead of peaches.)
mint sprigs for garnish
1.In a small heavy saucepan dissolve ¾ cup of the sugar in ¼ cup water over moderate heat, stirring, bring the syrup to a boil, covered, and boil it, uncovered and undisturbed, until it begins to turn golden. Boil the syrup, swirling the pan, until it is a deep caramel, pour it immediately into a loaf pan, 9 by 5 by 3 inches, and swirl the pan to coat the bottom and ½ inch up the sides. Let the caramel harden.
2. In a saucepan scald the milk and the cream. In a large bowl whisk together the whole eggs, the yolks and the remaining 1 cup sugar, add the scalded milk mixture in a stream, whisking, and stir in the almond extract and the vanilla. Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into the loaf pan.
3. Set the loaf pan into a baking dish and add enough hot water to the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake the custard, covered with a double layer of foil, in the middle of a preheated 325* oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. (The flan will continue to set as it cools.) Remove the pan from the dish and remove the foil. Let the flan cool on a rack and then chill it, covered, for 3 hours. (The flan can be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.)
4. Run a thin knife around the sides of the pan, invert a platter over the pan, and invert the flan onto it. Arrange the strawberries, blueberries and peaches around the flan and garnish it with mint sprigs.