I love chocolate as much as the next girl, but I promise you that I will choose desserts from the custard/pudding family first every time. The texture! I love the smooth creaminess that holds its shape but yields the second it's placed on your tongue...
The only problem is desserts of this nature are usually comprised almost entirely of cream, egg yolks and sugar. Aka, not health food as we usually define it.
Which is why, dear readers, I was positively THRILLED to find this recipe for "Orange Flan." Which is as close to health food that custard will ever venture. Which is why I bought a large bag of oranges the very next day.
In general flan, unlike creme brulee or other egg custards, is not worth eating without the caramel topping, and this orange flan is no exception. Make the caramel. It will hit your tongue first, giving way to a mysterious orange egginess. If you think this is a puzzling set of flavors, you are correct- but you'll be completely satisfied mulling them over as you take the next bite...and the next...
Flan de Naranja (Orange Flan), adapted from Apple Pie, Patis and Pate
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and get out 4 ramekins and a baking dish that will hold all of them.
Have 4 6-oz ramekins at the ready. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in a sauce pot. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring only until the sugar is dissolved. Once the syrup boils, watch it carefully and swirl the pan occasionally to make sure the mixture is heating evenly. Cook until the caramel is deep amber- but be careful! It cooks some after you take it off the heat, so you may want to take it almost there and have some cool water in the sink to stick the bottom of the pot in to make sure you don't burn it. Burnt caramel is inedible.
Working quickly before the caramel hardens, pour a little into each ramekin, coating the bottom. I swirled mine to get the caramel on the sides too, but it's not necessary, and hot caramel is VERY HOT. And STICKY. And DANGEROUS. (or, because we're dealing with a Spanish dessert here- PELIGROSO!)
Make the custard:
6 large eggs
5 T sugar
1 1/3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (about 4-5 large oranges)
1 t orange zest (from one orange)
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Try not to incorporate too much air into the eggs. Mix in the sugar, and then slowly mix in the orange juice while beating the eggs. Strain to remove pulp or seeds. Add the zest and stir.
Get out the baking dish and line with a tea towel. Place ramekins in the dish and distribute the custard mixture evenly among them. Pour hot water in the pan so it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins. This will help the flans bake evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes until the centers are set. Once done, remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool at room temperature. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Run a knife around the edges of the flans and invert onto plates to serve.
I figured it out- each flan only has about 1.5 eggs and less than 2 tablespoons of sugar. Not too shabby.