Thursday, January 26, 2012

Brown Sugar Custard with Orange Zest

The boys decided they wanted an orange for breakfast yesterday. I thought, right on, I get to try out my microplane! Yeah, I know, I was supposed to be more excited they wanted to eat healthy for breakfast. So I zest the orange peel with no clue yet what to do with it, and give them each half of the orange. As usual, the oldest ate the fruit, the youngest bit into one slice and decided the texture was not for him. So now I had almost half an orange to work with as well. Some sleuthing on the iphone brought me to a custard that included orange zest on Food and Wine's website. Sounded delicious. Almost any dessert sounds like ambrosia to me though. I have tried fried oreos once in Las Vegas, and I thought they were actually pretty good, so maybe I'm not a great culinary judge. After dropping the kiddos off at school, I began making this simple custard, with a slight orange flavor to give it a grown up kick. The only changes I made to the recipe were to use whole evaporated milk as it was on hand, skip the straining step, and add candied orange slices for garnish instead of orange peels.

Brown Sugar Custard with Orange Zest


1 3/4 cups 2 percent evaporated milk (basically one large can, and half of a 5 oz. can)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
Candied orange zest, for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Place four 4-ounce ramekins in a small baking dish or roasting pan.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the evaporated milk to a simmer with the brown sugar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and orange zest. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Strain the custard into a glass measuring cup.
  3. Pour the custard into the ramekins. Add enough hot water to the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the custards are just set. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool. Cover the custards with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours. Garnish with the candied orange zest.

Candied Orange Slices


1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 navel orange, sectioned

In a medium skillet, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the orange slices and cook over moderate heat, turning them occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the orange slices are translucent, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the syrup is thick and the slices are tender but still intact, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer the orange slices to a rack to cool. Reserve the syrup for another use.
*The candied orange slices can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Of course I reserved that orange flavored simple syrup! It sits in the fridge, awaiting the weekend and a fresh margarita. And the custards were excellent. Much like Mexican Flan I've had in restaurants. A great dessert to impress guests with little effort, and the ability to make ahead so as not to be a headless chicken when your guests are afoot. Interestingly, I had purchased the first suggested wine to be paired with the custard this past weekend, never having heard of it before then. But wine doesn't last long in my home, so I can't say for sure how well I thought they went together, although I suspect quite well.

1 comment:

  1. I love fried oreos! But I'm sure I'd love fancy orange flans too. I figure it's good to be open-minded and appreciate both snobby food and fried oreos. :)