The flan takes its revenge in the dessert department

Earlier it was confined to the corners of stale cakes. This Anglo-Saxon cake, called “ custard pie across the Channel, and which was served at the coronation of Henry IV of England in 1399, returns to the front of the sweet scene and makes its mark in the windows of the most prominent confectioners!

The bread, called “Parisian style”, the 2022 version, takes height: it is made in circles measuring up to 10 cm in height. The flavors and ingredients are so numerous and inventive that they make you dizzy: with speculoos, buckwheat, with chocolate, caramel, red fruits, citrus fruits, coconut and other exotic fruits… But the flan classic with its vanilla cream resists and is a great success with amateurs.

The secrets behind a successful flan

The realization of this great classic is not that complicated, one essential element makes all the difference: patience! The first step is to make a good shortcrust pastry the day before, to prevent it from being elastic, and in sufficient quantity (at least 300 g for a 20 cm tin), to have a sufficient thickness of the pastry without the risk of it becomes soft. during cooking. To prevent the sides of the flan (!) from collapsing during cooking, it is advisable to put the mold, or the ring with the rolled out dough, in the freezer for at least two hours before pouring the pastry cream.

→ PRACTICAL. 10 tips for a successful gourmet pie

Precisely, this cream is also an essential element: the most greedy substitute part of the milk with cream to cook their pastry cream; for a creamier consistency, also replace half of the whole eggs with yolks. The pastry cream must cool completely in a bowl covered with cling film to avoid crust formation. Some pastry chefs rely on storing the pastry cream poured into the mold overnight in the fridge for a great result. Others whip the cream just before pouring it into the mold or ring for a fluffy, fluffy texture.

Know how to wait to better appreciate

Shape or circle, it doesn’t matter, but you must choose a tin or stainless steel utensil, not silicone or porcelain, which would soften the dough. Cooking is long and gentle at 150°C and for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the flan. A few hours of patience are needed before enjoying the flan: at least an hour at room temperature, then three or four hours in the refrigerator. Finally, it takes a good half an hour at room temperature to create all the conditions for a high-flying delicacy.

► In my library

The book by Mélanie Dupuis, Flan’s little handbook (Marabout, 2022, 144 pp., €15.90), which, thanks to beautiful illustrations by Yannis Varoutsikos and photographs by Pierre Javelle, describes all the movements and steps to make a good flan.

And also the very beautiful work of Ju Chamalo, Patisserie cakes (Éditions de la Martinière, 2022, 160 pp., €19.90) – with photos by Aimery Chemin – which presents almost 50 recipes for classic or original flans, such as Ardéchois, with candied chestnuts and chestnut cream.

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The recipes

► Baker’s flan

Recipe by Mélanie Dupuis, taken from the book Flan’s little handbook (Marabout, 2022)

For 8 people

For the dough

300 g flour
150 g of butter
2 g of salt
40 g of sugar
75 g of water
1 egg yolk

To the flan maker

740 g whole milk
135g 35% fat cream
2 eggs
100 g egg yolks (6-7 pieces)
200 g of sugar
65 g cornstarch

The day before, you make the sweet shortcrust pastry: Put flour, salt and cold butter cut into small cubes in the mixing bowl with the blade. Mix at low speed until the consistency of sand. Add water, sugar and egg yolk, mix to a smooth mass. Lightly flour the work surface, place the dough and knead it (gradually crush the whole dough with the palm of your hand to check that it is homogeneous). Spread it to a thickness of 2 cm in cling film and store in the fridge until the next day.

The next day, line a mold or a cake circle with the dough, dot the bottom
with a fork and set aside for two hours in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 150°C and make the flan mixture: Bring milk and cream to the boil in a stainless steel pan. At the same time, blanch the yolks and eggs with the sugar, then add the cornstarch. When the mixture of milk and cream boils, pour a third of it over the previous mixture, homogenize well, then return it all to the pan. Cook while whisking constantly. When the mixture begins to boil, cook for about two minutes. Pour immediately into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let the flan cool at room temperature for three to four hours, unmold or remove the circle, then refrigerate the flan for three hours before enjoying.

→ LISTEN. The episodes of “Rundt om bordet”, the 4e season of our podcast “Place des religions”

► Chocolate buckwheat

Recipe by Ju Chamalo, taken from the book Patisserie cakes (Editions de la Martinière, 2022)

For 6 to 8 people

300 g shortcrust pastry

For the buckwheat praline

150 g almonds
50 g buckwheat seeds
100 g icing sugar
3 g fleur de sel

For the flan

40 g egg yolks
50 g whole eggs
65 g icing sugar
40 g cornstarch
460 g whole milk
100 g + 50 g liquid cream (minimum 30% fat)
80 g 65% cocoa dark chocolate

Make the buckwheat praline. Toast almonds and buckwheat seeds separately for 10 minutes in the oven at 150°C. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, make a dry caramel with the sugar. Pour the caramel over the almonds. Allow to set well and cool. Mix everything together.

Add the fleur de sel, then the toasted buckwheat with the praline, mix again, but not too much to keep the buckwheat whole.

In a circle with a diameter smaller than the circle for the flan, pour the praline (the height depends on your gluttony). If there is any left over, store it in the fridge in an airtight container and use it for another recipe. Place the praline in the freezer.

Prepare the flan. Beat the eggs with the sugar until it is white. Add the cornstarch and continue to beat. Heat the milk and 100 g of cream to the first boil in a pot over medium heat. Pour over the previous preparation and then mix well. Pour it all back into the pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens, whisking constantly.

Off the heat, add the chocolate, mix well. Allow to cool, then add the remaining 50g of cream. Arrange the shortcrust pastry in a circle of 14 cm in diameter. Place the disk of frozen praline on the bottom of the dough. Soften the flan cream, then pour it over and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 35 minutes in the oven at 180°C. Let it cool for at least two to three hours before removing.

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