Laura is not adventurous about food. When she was small and at her mother's house, her siblings were quite resourceful at concocting meals from food bank donations, but soup and beans don't give pre-teen cooks much latitude. When there was a perceived delicacy to hand, the same siblings described its make-up just short of cockroach legs and mouse tails. It's only in the last year Laura has tried cheesecake and found it worthy.
I ordered flan at a restaurant once, and Laura looked carefully, but declined my offer to share. Since then flan has been bandied about: "Well, you could send us to bed with nothing but flan to eat." "Mind your P's & Q's, young lady, or you'll have nothing but flan and water for supper." That sort of thing. Emily has had flan, Laura not.
We took inventory of the refrigerator this morning, preparatory to a short grocery run, and found Emily left us an unopened half gallon of 2% milk, and the dregs of a full gallon. Milk has not passed my lips in fifty years, and Laura doesn't drink it, either.
"Well, we could always sacrifice it to the dreaded flan," I observed. We fired up our computers for recipes.
Because she had no confidence in the custard part, Laura stuck with finding caramel sauce. I went through recipe after recipe for custard cups, caramel on the bottom, caramel on the top, a fluted spring form pan...I was close to giving it up when I found what I knew my grandmother made: 12 eggs, five cups of milk, sugar and vanilla, in a glass baking dish. Now we needed twelve eggs to go with the milk.
All Laura's attempts at caramel sauce included sweetened, condensed milk. I'm fairly confident our grandmothers didn't have sweetened, condensed milk available, so I turned Google pages until I found the real deal: brown sugar, butter, milk. I made the custard, Laura the caramel. We knew it would be so good, we each ate little tiny suppers, in anticipation. We weren't wrong.