The oranges - or large globose many celled berries with sub-acid juicy pulp enclosed in a tough rind, externally of a bright reddish yellow/orange colour to give the definition provided by Fanny - should be popped in a pan, covered liberally in cold water which is then brought to the boil before simmering gently for around an hour. Fanny suggests that the way to tell if they are ready is to pinch them lightly between your first finger and thumb and they should be as flabby and soft as a worn out tennis ball. This isn't a point of reference I am familiar with, and I have no worn out tennis balls to hand, but after an hour with the kitchen smelling heavenly they are quite squishy, which seems right. They need to be plunged into iced water now to cool completely.
Meantime I prepare my flan case and ever trusty confectioners custard. I have some individual cases left over from a previous bake which seem ideal, so just need to whip up a batch of custard. Maybe as a result of the Christmas clear out and the need for some retro comfort, or because the colour seems so bright and appropriate, I go against Fanny's method and make my custard from Birds powder. How very daring of me! Total rebel, is this the way 2014 is going to be?!
Once the oranges are cool, Fanny tells me to wipe them thoroughly and slice them neatly into 1/8 inch slices, skin and all, pop them into a shallow pan, cover with stock sugar syrup and simmer gently for 20 minutes. The syrup reduces quite a bit in this time. Once again the whole house is filled with vibrant orange aromas, replacing the familiar pine smell of the tree.
When the custard is cooled and spooned into the cases, the only remaining thing to do is to add some orange juice and a splash of orange liqueur (thanks Fanny!) to the reduced syrup and brush it over the neatly placed orange slices. I can see why this is Fanny's Star Dish of the week now, it's such a lovely colour, the flat smells wonderful and it tastes smashing - just like the very best homemade marmalade. So, Christmas is over but I am sure there is lots to look forward to in the coming months, this sparkling orange flan is just the start!