Called the national dessert of Spain, flan provides a creamy, delicate conclusion to a meal. For a large crowd, you'll need to double the recipe and use two pans.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
4 strips orange zest, colored part only, about 2 inches long
12 extra-large egg yolks
1/4 cup orange liqueur
Mint sprigs (optional)
Prepare Caramel: In a heavy medium-size skillet, combine sugar and orange juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. When boiling process begins, stop stirring. Holding handle of pan, gently tilt the skillet off the heat to distribute color evenly as sugar caramelizes. When sugar reaches a uniform amber color, pour into a heat-proof 10-inch pie plate.
Prepare Flan: Place a shallow baking pan in the lower third of oven and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine half-and-half, heavy cream, sugar, and orange zest; bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally.
In large bowl, beat egg yolks. Blend 1 cup of cream mixture into the yolks. Stir egg-yolk mixture back into saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in liqueur. Pour into prepared pie plate and place in the baking pan partly filled with water in the oven.
Bake uncovered 1 1/2 hours or until knife blade inserted in center comes out clean. Remove flan and water bath from oven; cool on a rack, cover, and refrigerate 4 to 5 hours.
To serve, run a knife blade around the edge of the flan, then carefully invert it onto a rimmed serving plate. Allow a moment for the caramel to drip onto the flan. Carefully lift pie plate. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 548 calories, 7.4 g protein, 35.7 g fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 64 mg sodium, 430 mg cholesterol