Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recipe: Heather Haven Shares Uncle Tio's Flan de Naranja

Welcome to Heather Haven, author of the Alvarez Family Mystery Series. Her protagonist, Lee Alvarez, shares Uncle Tio's authentic recipe with us. Heather is generously offering a PDF copy of A Wedding to Die For, an EPIC finalist for best mystery of the year 2012. However, she would like it to be a reward for the 'most mysterious' comment. Please leave your comments below, then copy this recipe for your files.

Recipe from a PI: Tio’s Flan de Naranja
Lee Alvarez, protagonist of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series by Heather Havenshares one of her uncle’s recipes.
I don’t mean to brag, but as the central character of the humorous Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series, I get to eat a lot of terrific food. That’s because my Tio is the retired head chef of the world famous Las Mananita’s Restaurant in San Jose, California. During his illustrious career, his recipes were often written up in gourmet food magazines. They’d throw in a few pics, too, because Tio is one classy-looking uncle. I have all the articles and pictures in a scrapbook I started in my early teens. That was before my PI days. I don’t have time to make scrapbooks anymore – I don’t have time to do squat anymore– but I always seem to find time to sit down at the dinner table and scarf down one of his culinary masterpieces!
Tío’s desserts undo me. While he’s creating a recipe, he makes it again and again until it reaches his idea of perfection. Meanwhile, lucky me gets to gobble up every version, as he strives for the ultimate. When Tio was working on his homemade mango and red plum ice cream garnished with fresh spearmint leaves, I must have gained six pounds. Fortunately, I spend a lot of time chasing bad guys over Bay Area rooftops, so I tend to lose the weight as fast as I gain it. I’ll tell you, though; my favorite is his Flan de Naranja. No lie, his flan has gone down in song and legend. Tio even picks the oranges himself from our backyard. Olé!

Tio’s Flan de Naranja
Serves 4-6:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
5 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 orange peel
1/2 fluid ounce orange liqueur
2 ounces candied orange peel, grated
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and yolk. Beat in sugar until smooth. Set aside.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, half-and-half, the vanilla bean and its scrapings, and the peel of one orange. Heat until bubbles form at edges of liquid, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove orange peel. Beat hot cream into egg mixture, a little at a time, until all is incorporated. Stir in orange liqueur. Pour into 4 to 6 individual custard cups.
Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place cups on towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the cups.
Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes, until set. Let cool completely.  Sprinkle candied orange peel on top of each cup before serving. Yum!

About the author
Heather is a story teller by nature and loves the written word.  In her career, she’s written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book.
One of her first jobs as a writer was given to her by her then agent. It was that of writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week and then promptly came down with the flu. She wrote “The Sands of Time” with a temperature of 102 and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Later on, she wrote short comedy skits for nightclub acts and ad copy for such places as No Soap Radio, where her love for comedy blossomed. Many of her short stories have been seen in various publications, as well as 2 one-act plays produced in Manhattan, one at the well-known, Playwrights Horizons.
Her novels, Murder is a Family Business and A Wedding to Die For, are the first two books of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery series. The third in the series, Death Runs in the Family, debuts May 2012. The series is published by MuseItUp Publishing in ebook and print form and can be found at MuseItUp, Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and many Bay Area bookstores. Heather says the series is a joy to write. She gets to be all the characters, including the cat!
You can visit Heather online at and her blog at

The Alvarez Family
Murder Mystery Series
Heather Haven

Welcome to the Family! And when the Alvarez clan is not is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of intellectual property and computer software.
Murder is a Family BusinessA Wedding to Die For, and the soon to be released Death Runs in the Family are part of the humorous mystery series revolving around Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Graftonʼs Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitchʼ Stephanie Plum. Completing the Alvarez Family is Leeʼs Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; beloved uncle “Tio;” and her energetic orange and white cat, Tugger. These whodunit novels explore familial love -- the good, the bad and the annoying.

 “Heather Haven makes a stellar debut in Murder is a Family Business. Highly recommended.” Sheldon Siegel. New York Times Best Selling Author of Perfect Alibi.

“Heather Haven has done it again with the second in the Alvarez series [A Wedding to Die For]. Just when I thought she couldn't best herself, she did.” Ginger Simpson, Dishin’ It Out with Ginger


Anonymous said...

Gosh...I'm not a mystery writer, but I can howl at the moon...what am I? Does that sound mystery enough??? LOL

The recipe sounds delicious...and I think if I try it my family is going to begin a new tradition of wanting it.

Miss Avarez - thank you for sharing.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks Kay Dee...Howling at the moon is a mystery or just loony???

J.Q. Rose said...

Heather, thanks so much for being my guest today. I remember having flan for the first time. It is a treat!

Roseanne Dowell said...

yum this definitely sounds like something I'm going to love. Thanks for sharing.

Tanja said...

Torta tal-larinġ... tidher tajba ħafna...

Cellophane Queen said...

I very much enjoy Heather's Alvarez books. I recommend for sure. I wish somebody would send me the flan already made. Dry ice in a shipping box? With a severed head?

Pat Dale said...

wow! A new dessert I can learn to love. this one is a keeper for certain, folks. Just like Lee and her sleuthy hijimx!

gail roughton branan said...

We're gonna beat Tanja's comment for mystery? I think not. Dessert sounds delicious but way over my head (cooking skills anyway.) And how the heck do you scrap a vanilla bean anyway? Now there's a mystery! res judicada, res ipsa loquitor. (Yes, Latin, but actual legal terms still in use. If Tanja can throw in Maltese, I can try some legalize, can't I?)

Anonymous said...

With only a week left until your festive holiday, I'm trying to avoid finding my way into your roaster. Start a new tradition, eat more beef. Who am I?

Guess that's not very mysterious, but it's the best I can come up with on spur of the moment, LOL. Besides, I can't top Maltese or Latin.

J.Q. Rose said...

What a bunch of creative mystery makers...Aveha a onderfulwa ayday! (oh, don't pick me out for the mystery comment. I've already read and enjoyed Heather's mysteries. Can't wait for the new one!!

Unknown said...

Ystery may omment cay uh hay? Ell way, here tay re aay any may ysteries may bout aay ur oay ister say, eather hay aven hay ut bay hat tay lan fay ounds say elicious day. ummy yay!

Love you Heather and JQ! That was fun!!!

Heather Haven said...

Wow! So many great comments! Forgive the delay in answering all these great comments. I've been at a 1-day retreat with writing pals. I just love all the languages! How can one choose? Thanks so much for participating, guys. Love you all!

Heather Haven said...

Janet, thanks so much for making this possible. You are a living doll!

J.Q. Rose said...

Uh-huh, Karen, we speak the same language!
Heather, the blog is up all day tomorrow too, so we may have more mysterious comments.

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