A traditional flan consists of a custard cooked over a caramel sauce, and then inverted, so the caramel pools around the bottom. The custard can take on many different flavors from chocolate to berries since it is essentially a mild egg and cream base.
I wanted to try a flan using our new Anise Infused Maple as the caramel and so was looking for the perfect partner in the custard. Orange and anise are an excellent pair, so I incorporated a mild orange flavor in the flan to complement the warm, spicy note in the anise. It was perfect.
Flan is cooked in a water bath, known in French cooking as a bain-marie. This moderates the heat as the custard is forming, ensuring the eggs don’t seize up too quickly. The trick is to get the pan full of water and ramekins into the oven without the water splashing into the uncooked custard and ruining it. I have found it easier to put the ramekins and the dry pan into the oven first and then pouring water into the side of the pan when it is safely on the rack.
- ¼ granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup Anise Infused Maple Syrup
- Zest from ½ orange
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 eggs
- ¼ sugar
Preheat oven to 325. Find 6 ramekins and a pan they can all fit in where water comes up at least half way up the ramekin.
For the caramel, put the sugar, orange juice and Anise Infused Maple in a small sauce pan and heat over medium flame. Let the mixture come to a low boil and cook until it is reduced by a third (or simply thickened). Immediately pour the caramel into the ramekins, distributing evenly and let cool.
In a medium saucepan, add the zest, orange juice, vanilla and cream. Stir to combine and heat over medium flame until scalded but not boiling. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended and slightly lighter in color. Slowly add the hot cream mixture in a drizzle so as not to cook the eggs right away. Continue adding all the cream. At this point you can pass the mixture through some cheesecloth to remove the zest or leave it in.
With a ladle, gently pour the batter over the cooled caramel in the ramekins until evenly distributed. Put the ramekins in the pan and place on the middle rack of the oven. Pour warm water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins and close the oven door. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully remove them from the water bath and set them aside to cool. When room temperature, put in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
When ready to serve, find a small dessert plate. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin and place the plate upside down on the flan. Holding on to both, invert the plate and ramekin and the flan should drop onto the plate. If it remains stubborn in the dish, run the knife around the flan once more and try again. The flan should drop onto the plate with a pool of caramel around it.