Topping: place saute pan over medium-high heat. Pile sugar in center of pan and drizzle edges of pile with water to prevent burning. As sugar begins to heat, fold melted edges into the center, gently stirring to break up large lumps and prevent syrup from sticking and burning on sides. Melt sugar for 7 to 10 minutes, until it thickens and turns and even shade of reddish brown.
Quickly divide sugar among 6 (8 oz.) ramekins, swirling so even layer forms. Sugar will crackle as it cools. Place ramekins into a 2-inch deep baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350°F and center rack.
Custard: combine milk and sugar in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until sugar is melted and mixture reaches 120°F; do not let milk boil. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and rose water. When milk is warm, put a couple ladlefuls into egg mixture, whisking constantly so eggs don't cook. After a few ladles have been added, quickly add egg mixture back into pot of milk. Decrease heat to low and whisk for 30 seconds until incorporated.
Ladle custard into ramekins, filling to about 1/4 inch from rim. Place pan of ramekins in oven and fill pan halfway with warm water. Bake for 1 hour until custard is congealed by not browned.
Carefully remove ramekins from pan and cool in fridge for 2 hours. To serve, gently separate flan from sides of ramekins with sharp knife and turn onto dessert plates. Caramelized sugar will have liquefied in bottom to form sauce.
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Recipe reprinted with permission from Doña Tomás, © 2006,Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky, published by Ten Speed Press click for book review