1 3/4 cup sugar
3 egg whites
8 egg yolks
2 large cans of evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons brandy or rum (optional)
Put one cup of sugar in a deep baking dish or loaf pan. Place over heat and melt sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat when it turns golden brown. Swirl it to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Cool.
Beat the egg whites and yolks with the remaining sugar, milk and vanilla. Strain the mixture into the pan on top of the carmelized sugar. Cover and place in a water bath. Cook for 1 hour at 350 degrees. A water bath is a pan of hot water placed in the oven, with the baking dish set in the water to even out heat distribution. The water bath adds moisture to the oven, which is vital when baking cheesecakes or custards to avoid cracking or rubbery consistency.
Use a knife or toothpick to make sure the fan is fully cooked. They should come out clean when inserted into the dish. Turn the pan over on to a serving platter so the carmelized sugar is on top. For a spectacular presentation pour brandy or run over the custard and light it to serve it flaming.