Flan Pâtissier Douceur

Flan Pâtissier Douceur

Two weeks ago, I was walking in the street and had a sudden craving for a flan pâtissier. I would have ran to the closest bakery except that this traditional French dessert is not available in the Netherlands. I had no choice but to make it myself. 

Flan is an ultra comforting dessert. Its soft vanilla and milky taste is soothing and reminds me of childhood. It is one of the few desserts with a creamy gelatinous texture that I love — I am not a big fan of jelly-based dishes.

It can be prepared with or without a crust base. You can make the crust yourself (see instructions below) or work with a pre-made crust. For the pastry dough, I made the recipe from Mon cours de cuisine: La pâtisserie (Marabout). 

Makes 1 flan (rectangular mold or 22cm tart mold). Serves 8.

Pâte brisée / Shortcut Pastry Dough

Ingredients

  • 200 g of flour
  • 100 g of unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 20 g of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs

Preparation

1. Cut the butter into small pieces.

2. Pour the flour on your working surface. Add the butter pieces and rub them into the flour using your fingertips. The texture should become sandy and light yellow.

3. Make a hole in the center (like a fountain) and add in the center the water, sugar, salt and one egg. 

4. First mix with the tip of your fingers the liquid mixture in the center of the fountain. Then incorporate the dry mixture from the inside of the fountain into the liquid. The dough will be liquid. Bring the rest of the dry mixture and press with your hands. Don't knead the dough too much.

5. Roll the dough in a ball and flatten it. It should be 3-4cm thick. Wrap and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 200 C.

7. On a floured surface, roll out the dough. It should be 3mm thick. Cover the mold with the dough and trim the edges.

8. Prick holes with a fork. Cover with wax paper lightly buttered (to avoid stickiness). Bake for 10 minutes and remove the wax paper.

9. Beat the last egg. Brush the crust with egg. Put back in the oven in the oven for 3-4 minutes so that the egg dries The crust be lightly golden.

Flan Custard

Ingredients

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 L of whole milk
  • 150 g of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 90 g of corn starch

Preparation

10. Preheat oven to 200 C.

11. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, the corn starch and the sugar. Set aside.

12. Cut the bean open with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. 

13. In a pan, boil the milk with the vanilla bean and seeds.

14. Pour the milk into the egg mixture while mixing well continuously.

15. Strain the mixture back into the pan. Mix on low heat fire until it fully thickens.

16. Pour the flan custard into the mold.

17. Bake for 40 minutes. A light film will cover the flan and it will look slightly 'burnt'.

18. Let it cool on a rack. Then store in the fridge until service.

My Learnings:

  • Next time, make a crust for the bottom of the mold only. The crust on the sides kept on cracking and falling off each time I would remove and put it back into the oven. It is a waste.
  • The custard is white/light yellow due to the large quantity of milk. Some recipes suggest to add an extra egg yolk, I suspect that it helps to inject more yellow color in the custard.
  • The Portugese pastel de nata shares some similarities with the French flan pâtissier so I am adding this flan version on my to-do list.

 

I would love to know which desserts remind you of your childhood, feel free to share in the comments section below!

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