DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m hosting a Mexican Fiesta theme party and I was thinking of ordering flan for desserts, but I can’t find a bakery where I can order one to feed my 30 or so guests. Do you know where I might be able to find one? Alternatively, I could make some if it’s not terribly difficult, but then I’d need a good recipe. Either way, your help is appreciated. — Wendy, Mechanic Falls.

ANSWER: Flan is a classic Mexican dessert that is basically a custard bathed in a delicious caramel sauce, and it would make the perfect party dessert if cooked in larger-sized pans instead of traditional, individual ramekins. There are few specialty bakeries in the entire state that offer flan on their menus, and most Mexican restaurants that serve flan do so in individual servings. You can, however, make flan in 10-inch glass pie plates. You’d want to double this recipe, courtesy of greatpartyrecipes.com to feed 30 people:

Basic Flan Recipe

Flan must be made ahead and chilled well. This recipe requires two 10-inch glass pie pans.

Ingredients:

1½ cups sugar, divided
4 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan combine 3 tablespoons of water with 1 cup of sugar. Cook without stirring over medium heat until it becomes a deep caramel syrup, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately divide the syrup between the two pie plates and swirl to spread the caramel evenly.

2. Heat the milk and cream together but do not let it boil. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks until well-blended, then beat in the remaining ½ cup sugar. Very gradually, beat the hot milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the vanilla. It’s now custard.

3. Divide the custard evenly between the two pie plates. Now set the pie plates in a larger pan with hot water to reach halfway up the pie plates and bake for 1 hour or until the custard is set.

4. Remove the flans from their water bath and cool. Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled.

5. To unmold the flans, run a sharp knife around the edge and, if need be, dip the bottoms in hot water for a few seconds. Place a round platter over each flan and invert. The caramel that was on the bottom is now on top, making a sauce.

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