In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sugar forms an amber-colored caramel, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. While the mixture cooks, use a pastry brush to brush a bit of water on the sides of the saucepan as the mixture is cooking to avoid sugar crystals from forming. Immediately divide caramelized sugar among six 6-ounce custard cups. Place custard cups in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside.Advertisement
In a heavy medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Scrape the vanilla bean, if using, and add seeds and bean to the cream mixture. Bring just to boiling; remove from heat. Stir in coffee or espresso and the 1 teaspoon vanilla, if using. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, slightly beat egg yolks and egg with a rotary beater or fork. Gradually stir about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Add egg yolk mixture to cream mixture in saucepan. Stir until well combined. Set a fine wire sieve (chinois) over a medium bowl. Strain the custard through the sieve. Place bowl in a sink of ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture is cool (20 to 30 minutes).
Divide egg mixture among custard cups. Place baking dish on oven rack. Pour boiling water into the baking dish around custard cups to a depth of 1 inch. Bake in a 300 degree F. oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until custards appear nearly set when lightly shaken.
Remove cups from water. Cool slightly on a wire rack. (Or cool completely in cups. Cover and chill until serving time.) To unmold, loosen edges of flans with a knife, slipping point between flans and side of custard cups. Invert a dessert plate over each flan; turn plate and custard cup over together. Remove cups from flans. If you like, garnish each with orange sections and/or pomegranate seeds. Makes 6 servings.