“So many recipes, so little time.” This is the time of year when I begin to feel overwhelmed by all the recipes that appeal to me. In fact, I’m still catching up from last October’s recipe wish-list.
When I had seen a recipe for caramelized orange-pumpkin flan in last year’s October issue of Sunset, I thought I had a winner and put the recipe aside to try. Reading through the recipe, I turned my nose up at some the the ingredients and came up with my own version of a pumpkin-orange flan.
As much as I enjoy using pumpkin in recipes, my interest peaks during the fall, so I try to limit using pumpkin in my cooking and baking to October and November. Once I see the calendar turned to December, the poor pumpkin takes a back seat to Christmas-y ingredients. This flan fits the bill for a beautiful fall dessert, and the pumpkin adds great depth of flavor to the flan recipe I have used for years.
You can see how the flan separates into layers as it bakes, with the caramel on the bottom, the heavier pumpkin custard next, topped by the lightest layer of orange-flavored flan.
My basic flan recipe was adapted from one in Anna Thomas’ The Vegetarian Gourmet and I have used it for years. I spiced up a can of organic pumpkin purée from Trader Joe’s and added lots of orange zest to both the caramel and the custard. It turned out to be a nice way to say “Welcome back!” to pumpkin.
TIP: My mother always used to buy new spices this time of year for fall recipes and I do the same. So if your cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger have been in your pantry for over a year, toss ’em and replace with fresh spices.
- 1¾ cups organic cane sugar, divided use
- zest of 2 navel oranges, divided use
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup organic pumpkin purée
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- orange peel curls (optional garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 cup of the sugar over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar until it has totally melted and is a light brown syrup. Turn off the heat and stir in the zest of 1 of the oranges.
- Working carefully and quickly, pour the zest-infused caramel into a soufflé dish. Tilt and turn the dish to coat the bottom and sides with caramel. It will harden quickly. Set aside.
- Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan, just until it simmers - small bubbles will appear at the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with remaining ¾ cup sugar. Beat in the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add the salt and remaining orange zest. Mix well. Slowly add the hot milk, stirring as you pour.
- Pour the custard into the caramel-lined dish. Set the dish in a square baking pan and fill the pan halfway up the soufflé dish with hot water.
- Bake flan for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the custard comes away clean.
- Remove the soufflé dish from the pan of hot water and cool on a rack. Chill in fridge for several hours before turning onto a serving plate. Use a knife to loosen the edges of the flan, if needed. Pour remaining caramel over the flan, garnish with orange peel curls and serve.