Dairy Free Blood Orange Flan

With all the creamy richness of a traditional flan recipe, this Dairy Free Blood Orange Flan relies on coconut milk and coconut creamer in place of dairy milk, and features a blood orange caramel sauce and a quick pepita bark. Delight your Valentine with this spectacular and romantic dessert for two!

A white square plate with dairy-free blood orange flan, pepitas bark, blood orange slice, and black spoon.

Today’s Valentine’s Day. There’s a whole day devoted solely to love. Does that make any sense? Nah. Love makes us all crazy. But it’s fun too.

~~ Lisa Greenwald, Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Valentine’s Day and Desserts!

Blood oranges start arriving at our local markets after New Years, and are typically available through February. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I once again turned to blood oranges for inspiration.

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you may be aware desserts are not my focus. In fact, my Valentine – Mark Andersen – is mostly deprived of desserts, and he dearly loves them. I ALWAYS make it a point to create a fabulous dessert for Valentine’s Day. 💕 In recent years, I’ve done a mulled red wine and plum sorbet (2016), Mexican chocolate mousse (2017), a blood orange margarita sorbet (2018), a Peruvian-inspired passionfruit dark chocolate dessert (2020). I think Mark lost out in 2019!

After a bit of experimenting, I landed on a combination of coconut creamer (non-dairy creamer) and lite coconut milk rather than milk. The hint of coconut works well in the flan, and it’s just as creamy as the best dairy flan I’ve had.

Blood orange zest finds its way into the custard, along with a dried red chile and a cinnamon stick, while fresh blood orange juice is the foundation of the caramel. Optional (and delicious!) orange bitters intensify the orange flavor of the caramel. Lastly, a piece of easy pepita bark, a slice of orange, and fresh mint sprig complete the dish. Delicioso!

Dairy Free Blood Orange Flan

  • sugar – turbinado or white sugar
  • blood orange – both juice and zest
  • cinnamon stick
  • vanilla
  • dried red chile – I use ancho, guajillo, or New Mexico red chile!
  • coconut milk – This is the canned coconut milk you’ll find in the international foods section. I use lite coconut milk.
  • coconut creamer – This is non-dairy coconut creamer found in the cold milk section.
  • eggs
  • garnishes – As shown in the photos, I garnish with pepita bark, orange slice, and fresh mint.

Pepita Bark

  • dark chocolate – I use a 3.5 ounce Ghirardelli 72% intense dark chocolate bar. Use what you prefer.
  • pepitas – I keep raw pepitas in my pantry. I toast them in a hot cast iron pan and salt them prior to coating with chocolate. You can start with roasted and salted pepitas and skip that step.
  • sea salt
Dairy free flan ingredients - coconut milk and creamer, sugar, blood orange, cinnamon, ancho, vanilla, eggs.
  1. Make the caramel layer – Spray the bottom of 2 small ramekins or heat-resistant bowls with cooking spray. Put sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Using a spatula, scrape and stir until the sugar melts. Carefully add 2 tablespoons blood orange juice. Stir to incorporate, then pour or spoon half the caramel into the bottom of each ramekin, dividing evenly. Caramel should set. (This can be done several hours ahead).
  2. Make the custard – Warm the coconut milk and coconut creamer over medium heat in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add orange peel, red chile, and cinnamon stick. Add sugar and vanilla extract, and stir to dissolve. Turn off heat and let mixture steep for at least 15 minutes. Whisk in blood orange juice. Strain, and pour back into the saucepan.
  3. Temper the eggs – Beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Temper the eggs by slowly whisking the coconut creamer and milk mixture by ladleful (about 1/2 cup) into the mixing bowl. Whisk the tempered eggs back into the saucepan. Gently reheat to just below boiling.
  4. Bake the custard – Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour custard mixture into prepared ramekins (half in each). Place ramekins into a baking dish, and add hot water to the pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan with foil and bake until custards have set, 30 to 45 minutes. To test custards, insert a paring knife. It should come out clean, and custard should not be wiggly. Remove from pan and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate ramekins, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Make the blood orange caramel sauce – Simmer 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a wide saucepan over medium heat. When most of the water has evaporated and sugar begins to brown, swirl pan until caramel is very dark. Off heat, carefully add 1/3 cup blood orange juice and stir well to dissolve caramel. Add 2 or 3 shakes of orange bitters (if desired). Pour sauce into a serving pitcher. Cover and leave at room temperature until you are ready to serve (or chill if you are leaving it overnight).
  6. Serve – Remove ramekins from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Pour half the blood orange caramel sauce on small plates. Run a small knife around the inside edge of each ramekin to loosen custard. Invert ramekin over the plate. Carefully remove ramekin to reveal a custard topped with a caramel layer. Garnish as desired.
Turbinado sugar melting in a brown saucepan with a spatula.
Melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high saucepan. Stir constantly to melt all of it, and be careful to avoid burning it!
The completed caramel for the flan in the brown saucepan.
Add the blood orange juice, and stir until completely incorporated. Divide between the 2 ramekins (that have been sprayed with cooking spray).
Coconut milk and creamer simmering with orange peel, cinnamon stick, and red chile.
Gently heat the coconut creamer and milk with the orange peel, cinnamon stick, and red chile. Steep 15 minutes, then strain.
Tempering eggs with the hot coconut creamer and milk in a glass bowl with a whisk.
After whisking eggs, add the hot strained custard mixture by ladleful, and whisk to combine.
The tempered eggs added back into the saucepan.
Add the tempered egg and custard mixture back into the saucepan, and gently reheat.
The custard in ramekins/bowls in the oval casserole dish prior to baking.
Divide the custard between the two ramekins or bowls.
Add boiling water to about the midpoint of your ramekins, cover with foil, and bake.
A bird's eye view of a white square plate with dairy free blood orange flan, pepita bark, and orange slice.
After pouring the blood orange caramel sauce on the plates, carefully transfer the custard, and garnish as desired!

My photos show an optional garnish of pepita bark – a super simple “recipe.” It’s nothing more than melted dark chocolate poured over toasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Pepitas in a very hot cast iron skillet being toasted.
Toast pepitas in a hot dry skillet.
Pepitas on parchment paper in a thin layer.
Spread pepitas out on parchment or waxed paper. Salt if they’re unsalted pepitas (optional).
Dark chocolate melted in a clear glass bowl.
Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.
Melted chocolate poured over the pepitas on parchment paper.
Pour the melted chocolate over top of pepitas. Using a spatula, spread to cover. Refrigerate, then break into pieces as needed. Store extra pepita bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day or two.
A close up side view of the blood orange flan with pepita bark, mint sprig, and orange slice and a red napkin.

Can I make this in advance? Yes. You can prepare the entire dish a day ahead. Keep the blood orange caramel finishing sauce and garnishes separate until serving. It will need to be reheated to thin it to pour on the plates.

Is flan best served warm or cold? This is a matter of personal preference. My recipe requires chilling a minimum of 2 hours. During this time, the caramel absorbs some moisture from the flan, and forms a sauce that looks gorgeous over top. You can warm it covered in the oven, bring it to room temperature, or serve cold. We like the blood orange flan at room temperature.

How long can I keep cooked flan in the refrigerator? You can store the flan in the (plastic wrap covered) ramekins in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

Have you “eaten in” with your Valentine? It’s never a question at Andersen casa, as fighting the crowds for an expensive restaurant-prepared meal on this popular date night is not appealing. Given restrictions in 2021, dinner at home is even more appealing… I hope you’ll consider making this lovely dairy free blood orange flan for two for your beloved!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
Two servings of flan on white square plates with black spoons and red napkins.

A bird's eye view of a white square plate with dairy free blood orange flan, pepita bark, and orange slice.

Dairy Free Blood Orange Flan

An elegant dessert for a special occasion… it's worth the extra effort!
5 from 3 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 servings
Calories 543 kcal

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Pepita Bark

  • 3.5 ounces melting chocolate - see Tips in post
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds - pepitas
  • sea salt

Blood Orange Flan

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon blood orange juice
  • ½ cup lite coconut milk
  • ½ cup coconut non-dairy creamer
  • blood orange peel from 1 orange
  • 1 dried red chile - stem and seeds removed, cut in pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • cup sugar
  • cup blood orange juice

Instructions

  • Make the caramel layer – Spray the bottom of 2 small ramekins or heat-resistant bowls with cooking spray. Put sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Using a spatula, scrape and stir until the sugar melts. Carefully add 2 tablespoons blood orange juice. Stir to incorporate, then pour or spoon half the caramel into the bottom of each ramekin, dividing evenly. Caramel should set. (This can be done several hours ahead).
  • Make the custard – Warm the coconut milk and coconut creamer over medium heat in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add orange peel, red chile, and cinnamon stick. Add sugar and vanilla extract, and stir to dissolve. Turn off heat and let mixture steep for at least 15 minutes. Whisk in blood orange juice. Strain, and pour back into the saucepan.
  • Temper the eggs – Beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Temper the eggs by slowly whisking the coconut creamer and milk mixture by ladleful (about 1/2 cup) into the mixing bowl. Whisk the tempered eggs back into the saucepan. Gently reheat to just below boiling.
  • Bake the custard – Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour custard mixture into prepared ramekins (half in each). Place ramekins into a baking dish, and add hot water to the pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan with foil and bake until custards have set, 30 to 45 minutes. To test custards, insert a paring knife. It should come out clean, and custard should not be wiggly. Remove from pan and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate ramekins, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Make the blood orange caramel sauce – Simmer 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a wide saucepan over medium heat. When most of the water has evaporated and sugar begins to brown, swirl pan until caramel is very dark. Off heat, carefully add 1/3 cup blood orange juice and stir well to dissolve caramel. Add 2 or 3 shakes of orange bitters (if desired). Pour sauce into a serving pitcher. Cover and leave at room temperature until you are ready to serve (or chill if you are leaving it overnight).
  • Serve – Remove ramekins from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Pour half the blood orange caramel sauce on small plates. Run a small knife around the inside edge of each ramekin to loosen custard. Invert ramekin over the plate. Carefully remove ramekin to reveal a custard topped with a caramel layer. Garnish as desired.

Notes

Macronutrients are an approximation only from MyFitnessPal.com, and DO NOT INCLUDE chocolate pepita bark!

Nutrition

Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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2 Comments

  1. I made this recipe and it’s incredible! So much easier to make than I imagined and full of flavors. My partner scarfed it down and eyed mine but I wasn’t giving up a single delicious bite! I will definitely be making it again!