Whenever a recipe calls for orange zest, I look for a good, ripe tangelo. The zest has a more vibrant flavor. The juice does, too. It worked beautifully in this dish.
I modified the following recipe from “The Golden Book of Desserts” to use the directions for making the caramel from “The Joy of Cooking.”
Orange and Tequila Flan
3 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split in half
5 large strips orange zest
1 cup sugar, divided use
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup tequila, divided use
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
Heat the milk, vanilla pod and orange zest in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer then remove from the heat and set aside. let the flavors infuse for 1-2 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Rinse 6 (3/4-cup) ramekins with cold water.
To prepare the caramel, place 3/4 cup of sugar with the water and 2 tablespoons of tequila in a small saucepan over medium heat without stirring. Very gently swirl the pan by the handle until a clear syrup forms. It is important that the syrup clarify before it boils, so slide the pan on and off the burner as necessary. Increase the heat to high and bring the syrup to a rolling boil; cover the pan tightly and boil for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook the syrup until it begins to darken. Gently swirl the pan by the handle once again and cook the syrup until it turns a deep amber. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of tequila and quickly pour the caramel into the ramekins.
Beat the eggs, egg yolks and remaining sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy.
Remove the vanilla bean and orange zest from the infused milk. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod and stir into the milk. Reheat to boiling point. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the custard into the ramekins.
Place the ramekins in a deep baking pan and fill the dish with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the custard has set but is still a little wobbly in the center. Let cool to room temperature. When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of each ramekin and dip into almost boiling water. Turn out onto plates to serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Adapted from “The Golden Book of Desserts,” edited by Anne McRae/”The Joy of Cooking,” 1997 edition