Saturday, February 21, 2009
Seville Orange Flan
My annual obsession with seville oranges continues, this installment being a perfectly textured flan. Yeah, you heard me. Perfect.
It's heavy on the eggs, but doesn't taste too eggy... I personally like it to be a touch on the eggy side, though. Some people get all freaked out by the eggy flan thing, and they should just go eat some creme brulee and get over it.
I don't use any cream in this one because it inhibits the sharp, clean flavor of the sevilles. Whole milk lends just enough richness, but still keeps the flan silky and light.
I cook my caramel for the bottom of the ramekins a hair darker than usual, for some bitter twang.
Lots of vanilla beans and a little drizzle of creme fraiche are the only other players in the dish, providing the equipment for a jooshed up creamsicle.
If you can get your hands on seville oranges, do two things with them. Make the cuban roast pork shoulder from the Dean and Deluca cookbook, and serve this flan for dessert.
Seville Orange Flan
yield: 5 (or more if using smaller ramekins)
3 oz water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups whole milk
zest of 1 large (or 2 small) seville oranges
2 vanilla beans
3/4 cup sugar
7 egg yolks
1 Tb grand marnier
1. Infuse the milk: split open the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into a sauce pot. Add the pods to the pot. Add the orange zest and milk. Bring to a full boil, then cover, remove from heat, and let steep on the counter for 2 full hours.
2. Make the caramel: Spray 5 ramekins with pan release. Place ramekins in a roasting pan lined with a tea towel (this keeps the ramekins from sliding around). Combine the sugar and water in a pot. Stir very gently with your finger until the sugar is absorbed. Place pot over high heat and cook, brushing down the sides of the pot with a pastry bag dipped in water (OR- this is what I do: Cover the pot with a lid and allow the condensation to wash down the sides of the pot for you. Just stay close so you can occasionally peek to see how your caramel is coming along)
Once the sugar is reaching an amber color, remove pot from the heat. Tilt pot around gently to encourage even caramelizing. Ladle the caramel into the ramekins. Set aside while you make the custard.
3. Custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt. Have a heatproof container and a fine sieve or chinois at the ready. Remove cover from pot of infused milk and bring to a full boil. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the eggs. Strain custard, then stir in the grand marnier. The custard base can be made ahead of time.
4. Bake: Pour custard base into the prepared ramekins. Fill the roasting pan with
very hot water so that the ramekins are about 3/4 of the way submerged. Cover pan with foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for 60-90 minutes, until flans are set but not wobbly. Once ramekins are cool enough to handle, remove from the water bath and let sit at room temp for about 10 minutes (putting hot flans right in the fridge causes the custard to crack). Refrigerate overnight for best results.
5. Serve: Run the tip of a knife around the edge of ramekin. Place a dessert plate on top of the ramekin. Invert flan onto the plate (you may need to shake it a little until you hear the flan separate from the ramekin). Drizzle with a little creme fraiche a la Jackson Pollack.