This dessert is very popular in Latin America. It is similar to Crème brûlée, but there is no need to flame a sugar crust.
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons of slivered almonds (optional)
Melt and caramelize 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy skillet and glaze the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan or six pyrex dessert cups. The sugar is melted by placing it over medium heat while stirring constantly. Reduce the heat when the sugar takes on a light caramel color. As soon as it is a light mahogany color, turn off the heat and pour it immediately into the pan or cups. This has to be done fast because the caramel will solidify into a hard candy as soon as it cools.
While the caramel cools, beat the eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, and the almond extract.
Add the milk and beat again. Pour the mixture into the pan (cups) containing the caramelized sugar and
cover with foil.
Place the pan (cups) on a shallow roasting pan with about one inch of hot water into an oven at 350° Degrees for 55 minutes. Bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove the pan (cups) from the water, remove the foil, and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight so that the caramel will dissolve into a thick syrup. To serve, loosen edges with a knife and unmold upside down so that the caramel glaze coats the custard. Place an almond on top of each slice.