The simple addition of orange to this traditional Spanish dish from chef Andrew Zimmern takes this creamy dessert to new heights. Slideshow: More Beautiful Desserts
In a small saucepan, gently stir the sugar with the corn syrup, orange juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Cook, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, 6 to 8 minutes. Brush down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush if crystals form. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the grated orange zest. Working quickly, pour the caramel into eight 6-ounce ramekins, tilting to coat the bottoms.
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and cream and cook over moderate heat until it reaches 160°, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. While whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk mixture to the eggs. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve set over a large heatproof measuring cup.
Line a roasting pan with a kitchen towel and set the ramekins on the towel. Pour the custard into the ramekins. Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Loosely tent the pan with foil and bake the flans for 35 to 40 minutes, until just set but still jiggly in the center. Using tongs, carefully transfer the ramekins to a rack and let the flans cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight.
Run a thin knife around each flan. Invert a plate over each ramekin, then turn the flan out onto the plate, shaking the ramekin gently if necessary. Serve immediately.
The flans can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 4 days.
Young tawny port.