Preheat your oven to 350°F. Toss ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon with the coconut flakes in a bowl until they are coated and lightly toast in the oven (about 5 minutes). Remove and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for about 1 minute. Add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla and mix well. Now comes the tricky part: when you temper the hot milk mixture into the cold eggs. This step needs to be done slowly and carefully or your egg mixture will certainly curdle.
When all ingredients are combined, use a strainer to transfer the mixture into the pan you will be baking your flan in. Place the flan pan inside a roaster pan and slowly add warm water. The water level should come up about half ways up the flan pan. Bake until the center sets. Check at 30 minutes and about every 10 minutes after. You can use a cake tester to check for doneness. Flan should giggle slightly like jello when set.
When custard is done, remove from oven and allow it to cool at room temperature in the water bath. This will allow for cooling to take place gradually. You will notice small dark flecks, don’t be alarmed, the flecks are from the cinnamon.
Here are some tips on making a great flan dessert.
Use only a good quality vanilla extract. The difference is huge.
You will need a round roaster pan to do the water bath in. I normally use a disposable one. It can last up to three or four uses.
I normally use a flan pan which can also be used for crème caramel (The French’s version of flan). If you do not have a flan pan, a conventional pie plate will be adequate.
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