½ cup plus ½ cup sugar
½ cup half-and-half
½ cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split ( I used vanilla essence)
1 tsp lemon zest
½ cinnamon stick
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
Heat the oven to 275 degrees.
To make the caramel, put the ½ cup sugar in a small pan. Start cooking over low heat. After 5 or 6 minutes, you’ll see the caramel starts turning a light brown color. Cook for another 7 or 8 minutes until it becomes a dark brown color. Keep an eye on the caramel as it cooks; you don’t want it to burn.
Remove from the heat and carefully add 1/3 cup of water. The caramel will sputter and release steam as it hardens. Return the pan to low heat and cook until the caramel is thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and coat the bottom and sides of 4 small ramekins with the caramel. Set aside.
Combine the milks in a medium saucepan and add lemon zest, cinnamon stick and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Heat milk over medium-high heat and remove the pan from the heat just as the milk is about to reach a boil.
Whisk eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add the hot milk into the eggs, whisking vigorously. Strain the mixture and then fill the ramekins with the mixture.
Set the ramekins in a deep baking pan. Fill the pan with hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove, and let the ramekins cool completely before placing the flans in the refrigerator overnight.