Pineapple Flan

This quivering custard of tropical intensity is made like a traditional crème caramel.

1-1/4 cups sugar
8 extra-large eggs
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put 3/4 cup sugar in a small nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until sugar melts completely into a dark liquid caramel, about 3 minutes. Coat the interiors of five 5-ounce custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. Immediate divide caramel among cups (pouring to coat bottom of each.) Caramel will harden.

Separate 4 egg yolks and whites, saving whites for another use. In bowl of an electric mixer put 4 whole eggs, 4 egg yolks, and remaining cup 1/2 cup sugar. Beat for 1 minute, until eggs and sugar are well blended.

Slowly add pineapple juice, little by little, and continue to mix until juice is incorporated. Do not let mixture become too frothy. With a ladle, divide mixture evenly among custard cups.

Place custard cups in a large, deep pan. Create a water bath by adding boiling water to pan so that water level comes two-thirds up the sides of the cups. Carefully place in oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm. Remove cups from water bath. Let cool, then refrigerate until very cold, preferably overnight. When ready to serve, carefully unmold custard onto dessert plates, loosening the sides with a small sharp knife if necessary. Caramel will coat the top and sides of the flan. Serve immediately.

Serves 5