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The classic utensil for melting the sugar on top of a flan is a salamander, which is first heated in coals or on a burner.

  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July/August 1991


  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar


  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of the milk. Beat together granulated sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow and thick, then beat in cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine remaining 3 cups of milk, the lemon zest, and the cinnamon stick. Heat to boiling. Whisking quickly, add the egg-cornstarch mixture; lower heat and continue to stir until thickened. Strain, then pour into shallow dessert dishes or small ramekins to a depth of 5/8 inch. Let cool.

  3. Sprinkle flans with superfine sugar. With a hot salamander, or under a broiler, heat tops until golden brown.

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