From a cookbook I'm editing by a gifted Texas chef named Nancy Moorman. Puffy, creamy texture with a delicate carrot taste. The topping makes it, so I don't recommend omitting it. I made it in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish instead of individuals.
For the flan, sprinkle six buttered 1/2-cup molds lightly with cheese. Combine the water, garlic, sugar, and carrots in a saucepan and bring a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutesor until the carrots are tender; drain. Process the carrot mixture in a food processor until smooth. Add the half-and-half and process to blend well. Add the eggs, 2 tablespoons cheese, the salt and pepper and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared molds and place in a shallow roasting pan. Add enough hot water to reach 1 inch up the sides of the molds. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.
For the topping, melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the thyme and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and toss to coat. Toast over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp.
Let the flane cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with crumbs. (Or unmold onto a serving platter, if you have that sort of pan.)
TO MAKE AHEAD AND REHEAT: refrigerate, then reheat at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. (But I microwaved it and it was fine.).