Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Orange Flan or Flan de Naranja


One of the things I miss about living in California is the great Mexican food.  There are Mexican restaurants here, but they are not as good as the ones I am used to in California.  I don't know if it is because they change the flavors to suit a Southern palate or why it is.  I ALWAYS go to a West Coast chain called El Torito when in California.  This time they had a meal that included a miniature flan.  It was delicious.  Think custard or crème brulee but without the crunchy caramelized topping.  Instead it is upside down with a caramel sauce topping.

I looked around for a flan recipe.  I found one with orange and lemon in it.  Sounded good to me. 

Orange Flan
Flan de Naranja

I speak a little Spanish, but mostly just enough to order food!

Caramelized Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice


2 cups half and half
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup orange juice (I used 3 large oranges for the whole recipe)
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar

First get everything out you will need to make this.  It will use most of your pans and you don't want to go searching for them in the middle of cooking.

You will need a 9 X 13 baking dish and 6 ramekins.  I used 2 saucepans, a medium and a large.  Get out a strainer,a micro plane,  a mixing bowl and measuring cups.  You may need another mixing bowl if you don't have a quart size measuring cup.

Preheat oven to 325.


First remove the stuck on labels and wash the fruit.  I used one lemon and three oranges.  I was buying one orange anyway for the zest.  You may want to buy one and use OJ from the refrigerator, but I used fresh.  Zest the lemon and one orange and set aside.  Use a bowl or a plate.  MORE stuff to get out and then wash!  You want to zest before you squeeze them.  I just used my hands over a quart size measuring cup.  If you have a small amount of oranges, have some OJ in the refrigerator or freezer, just in case!  You will need one cup, divided use.


Break the eggs in a medium bowl.  Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.  Keep the whisk, you will want to stir it again just before you use it.

Heat a medium sauce pan over a medium burner and then add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup orange juice.  If you did your own squeezing, you should strain it so you don't get seeds and pith in it.  Yes, that is a word and no, I am not lisping.


You will need to stir this almost continuously.  Take a few breaks.  Like right now.  Put the zest and the cream and the other half cup of orange juice in the large saucepan.  Put it on a burner over medium low heat.  You want to cook this JUST until it starts to think about boiling.  It will start to bubble around the edges.  Then turn off the heat.

The sugar and OJ mixture will take longer to cook.  You want to reduce it by half.  It will turn a darker color but the OJ will keep it from becoming as caramelized as you would want for regular flan.

At some point you will find yourself stirring both pots at once.  That is OK.  If you get over busy, turn off the milk.  You just want to scald it, not boil it.  It only takes a few minutes and the sugar/OJ mix takes about 10 minutes.

Now take a break and put about 4 cups of water in the microwave or heat it in a kettle.  You will need it for the water bath for the ramekins and you want it very hot. 

After the sugar/OJ mix is reduced, quickly pour a small amount into each ramekin.  If you wait it will harden. 

Take a small amount of the hot milk and drizzle it into the egg mixture while you are whisking.  If you just dump it in you will have scrambled eggs.  Orange flavored scrambled eggs.  You need to temper it by slowly bringing the egg mix up to temperature.  Then add the rest of the egg mix, while still whisking.


Pour this through the strainer into a bowl or measuring cup with a lip.  Carefully pour about 1/2 cup into each ramekin.  Place them in the large baking dish. 


Carry the baking dish close to the oven door.  Set it down and THEN add the hot water until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  This way you won't have to carry the hot, unwieldy dish all across the kitchen and risk burning yourself.  And it is a risk.  Use mitts and both hands.  Carefully place it in the oven and set the timer for 50 minutes. 

Test with a clean knife by inserting it in the custard.  If it comes out clean you are done.  If not, set the timer for 10 more minutes and test again.  Mine took the whole hour.  Don't worry about how it looks  You will serve them upside down!


Remove from the oven and once again be careful not to spill the water.  It is hot.  Use a pair of tongs to remove the ramekins to a wire rack to cool.  Don't drip across the finished ones.  Pull from the side that has the wire rack.  When cool enough to touch, put them in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

To serve, take a knife or small spatula and run it along the inside edge of the ramekin to loosen.  Hold a plate upside down over the ramekin and turn everything over.  Tap the bottom of the ramekin if it doesn't come out right away.  You may have to encourage it with a knife. 

The custard will come out with the orangey caramelized sauce over the top and down the sides.  Yum.

I added a few strawberries and a bit of Cool Whip, but it was fine all by itself.








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