Wash apricot and score the skin with a knife before you blanch them.
Place them in a pot of hot water.
Let them simmer in the hot water for 2 to 3 minutes.
You will see the skin just starts to peel off.
Place them in a bowl of cold water.
When cool enough to touch peel them.
Cut the fruit in half, remove seed and,
Pulse in a food processor until smooth.
Strain thru a sieve and set aside.
Use the amount required in your recipe.
Add the sugar and water in a pan over medium heat
Shake the pan, do not stir the pan as it cooks.
Cook until the water evaporates and the sugar starts to turn a golden amber.
When you reach a deep amber color turn the heat off
Pour the caramel sugar in an 8-inch cake pan
Preheat the oven at 160 C/ 325 F
Place milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to an almost boil.
In a separate bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar, apricot puree, salt until light and fluffy.
Pour the hot milk mixture gradually into the egg mixture a few tablespoons at a time stirring continuously.
Strain thru a sieve to remove any curdled eggs
Assemble and bake
Pour the custard over the caramel in the cake pan
Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan
Pour enough water in the roasting pan to come to almost ½ way up outside the cake pan
Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Once baked - remove from the oven, cover with cling wrap.
Chill in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight (up to 3 days)
Unmold, garnish and serve
To release the caramel from the pan.
Pour warm water in a large baking pan again.
Let the flan pan sit in the warm water for no more than 20 to 30 seconds.
If you shake the pan, the flan will wriggle loose.
Place a large serving platter on the flan pan. (see video)
And flip the two together in a quick motion to reduce any spills.
Garnish with chopped apricots and a few mint leaves (I used cherries in season)
Cook the sugar on low to medium heat and shake not stir the pan.
When working with hot sugar it is very important to not multi-task. Give it your undivided attention because not only can sugar go from amber to burn in seconds it is also very hot and cause serious injuries.
You can use a combination of milk and cream for a rich and velvety texture.
I am using only egg yolks for a thick firm consistency that will set nicely, but you can also use a combination of 3 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs.
It is important to pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture, not the other way round. And, it is important to pour it gradually so you don't cook the eggs.
Bake the custard in a water-bath this prevents the eggs from over-cooking and curdling.
Bake until the custard is just set. It will continue to cook with the residue heat even after it is taken out of the oven. Overbaking will make the custard dry and grainy (as the eggs curdle)
Chill the custard for at least 3 to 4 hours as it tastes much better and has a chance to set.
Scrape the inside edge of the ramekin to help release the caramel.
Since the caramel is set you will need to dip the pan in warm water for 30 seconds or more just until it is released. Keeping it in the water for too long will melt the caramel.