© Gentl & Hyers
Valencia orange and cheese flan
This is a seductive flan with the texture of a creamy cheesecake and the aroma of fresh oranges. The key flavouring is Venezuelan Santa Teresa Rhum Orange, an orange rum liqueur. You can use Cointreau or Grand Marnier, but try adding a tablespoon or two of a good aged rum as well. It does wonders for the flavour.
2 c. (500 ml) sugar
¼ c. (60 ml) water
1⁄3 c. (90 ml) whole milk
2 12-oz. (375-g) cans evaporated milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract
3 Ceylon cinnamon sticks (canela)
6 star anise pods
peel of ½ orange, cut into long strips
8 oz. (250 g) cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia brand, softened
6 large egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 14-oz. (435 g) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. (125 ml) orange-flavored liqueur, preferably Santa Teresa Rhum Orange or Cointreau
1 tbsp. (15 ml) orange blossom water
4 c. (1 L) fresh orange juice (from 12-14 medium oranges)
peel of ½ orange, cut into thin slivers
orange slices, for garnish
Have a baking pan ready that’s at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep that’s large enough to hold the flan mold comfortably.
Place 1 cup (250 ml) of sugar and the water in a small heavy saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the liquid turns a light caramel colour. To avoid crystallization, do not stir, and brush the sides frequently with a pastry brush dipped in ice water. Pour into a mold, either a 9-x-2-inch (22-x-5-cm) round cake pan or an 8-x-4-inch (20-x-10-cm) loaf pan, and swirl at once to coat the bottom and sides. Let cool.
Place the whole and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape the black seeds into the milk and add the bean; or add the vanilla extract. Add the cinnamon, star anise and orange peel, and bring the milk barely to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower and simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Strain and discard the solids.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Place the cream cheese, egg yolks and eggs in a large mixing bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon while adding the condensed milk until smooth and well integrated. Add the cooled steeped milk, ¼ cup (60 ml) liqueur and the orange blossom water, and stir gently until well incorporated. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into the caramelized mold.
Place the baking pan on the middle oven rack. Put the mold in the pan and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides. Bake until just until set, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
While the flan is cooling, place the orange juice, the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) sugar and the slivered orange peel in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced almost by half. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) liqueur and continue simmering for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Chill the flan in the refrigerator, in the pan, for at least 3 hours before serving. Unmold onto a decorative platter and garnish with orange slices. Pour the sauce into a bowl to serve with the flan. Serves 8.
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