This is a seductive flan, with the texture of a creamy cheesecake and the aroma of fresh oranges and orange blossoms.
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
1 vanilla bean
3 sticks Ceylon or Mexican cinnamon sticks (canela)
6 star anise pods
peel of 1/2 orange, cut into long strips
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 large egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup orange flavoured liqueur (Cointreau)
1/8 cup spiced rum
1 Tbl orange blossom water
4 cups fresh orange juice (from 12-14 medium Valencia oranges)
peel of 1/2 orange, cut into thin slivers
orange slices for garnish
Have a baking pan at least 3 inches deep and large enough to hold flan mold ready.
Place 1 cup sugar and the water in a small heavy saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, and cook until the liquid turns light amber. Do not stir, but instead swirl the pan gently. Pour into a 9 by 2 inch deep round cake pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Let cool.
Place the whole milk and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the milk and add the bean. Add the cinnamon, star anise, and orange peel and bring barely to the boil, over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and cool. remove spices and peel.
Preheat oven to 350 F
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, 1/4 cup liqueur, and the orange blossom water and stir gently until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into the caramelized mould. Place the baking pan with mold on the middle rack of the oven and pour in hot water to come halfway up the sides of the flan mold. Bake until just set, 60 – 70 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
While flan is cooking, place the orange juice, the last 1 cup of sugar and the slivered orange peel in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced almost by half. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup liqueur, 1/8 cup spiced rum and continue simmering for 10 – 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 flan for at least 3 hours before serving. unmold onto a decorative plate and garnish with orange slices. Pour the sauce into a decorative bowl and serve alongside flan.