A simple quivering and regressive dessert called “baker’s” flan, however, unleashes passions and is worn as a standard by the greatest pastry chefs in France.
Gourmet and reassuring, composed of an egg cream and a good paste , it does not hide behind any artifice, and reveals to the world the talent of the one who created it.
It seems that flans have been found almost since delicacies have existed. In the past, the flan referred to many preparations that were often very different from the current pastry flan .
The one we know today would be the last heir to a long family of cakes that we rather call pies these days. The definition of flan a century ago was a pastry crust topped with sweet fruit and baked.
There were even flans garnished with rice pudding or marmalade, sometimes with fruit or frangipane. Funny mixtures? Little by little the egg fillings that we know are called flans and no longer contain meringue. Thanks !
The contemporary Flan is more formal, made of puff pastry or shortcrust pastry according to taste and topped with a cooked egg cream, usually flavored with vanilla. The crust of the flan is lightly golden.
Following the emergence of the canteen and the industrial kitchen , flan a few decades ago began to lose its splendour. Some bakeries even indulged by stuffing their flan with custard powder and replacing the vanilla with artificial colors, doing a lot of damage to this popular bakery.
With the return of a pastry made with good ingredients, the flan returns to the front of the windows of neighborhood bakeries. Even the biggest pastry houses now offer flan on their menu, making it the most democratic of pastries unlike the elitist macaroon.
Even if some talented young pastry chefs sometimes offer it in chocolate, caramel, with or without dough, the traditional version remains the most appreciated by gourmets and children at tea time.
Flan Karamel by Nicolas Haelewyn
8 people - preparation 2h30 - cooking 1h15 - rest 8h + 12h
Flan Caramel Ingredients:
For the flan device (the day before) :
- 340g whole milk
- 340g liquid cream (35% fat)
- 1 vanilla pod
- 100g of sugar
- 60g of egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 35g sugar
- 40g cream powder
For the inverted crumb dough (the day before)
- 140g T55 flour
- 300g fine butter
- 130g of water
- 14g fleur de sel
- 310g T55 flour
- 90g fine butter
For the opaline (caramel)
- 100g of water
- 300g of sugar
The Flan Caramel Recipe
The flan device (the day before) :
In a saucepan, infuse the milk, the cream and the split and scraped vanilla pod.
Make a dry caramel with the 100g of sugar.
Decook in 3 times, pouring the hot infused mixture.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, the egg, the 35g of sugar and the cream powder.
Dilute this mixture with a third of the boiling milk, then transfer to the saucepan.
Whisk well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stop when the preparation boils and is well cooked because the cooking time in the oven will be short.
Mix to extract all the air bubbles.
Inverted crumb dough (the day before) :
First, make the butter handled. In a mixer fitted with the leaf, put the flour and the cold butter into small pieces.
Mix on medium speed until you get a smooth paste . Remove, shape (square 25x25cm) Film then reserve 2 hours in the refrigerator.
In a mixer fitted with the hook, put the water, the fleur de sel, then the flour . Make an almost liquid softened butter then add it.
Knead at 1st speed. When the mixture is homogeneous, remove then shape (square 25x25cm). Film then reserve 2 hours in the refrigerator.
The turning :
Get a rolling pin. Spread the butter handled to 1cm thick and place the square of tempera in the centre. Wrap the tempera with the ends of the butter then make a first double turn. Leave to rest for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Do a second double turn. Leave for another 2 hours in the fridge . Perform a simple trick and put back in the fridge for the night.
The next day, roll it out until you get a thickness of about 2mm. Go for it in a buttered stainless steel circle 24cm in diameter and 3cm high. Book cool.
Blind-bake the puff pastry base (with dried beans or chickpeas) for 1 hour at 160°C.
Using a knife , cut off the excess puff pastry protruding from the stainless steel ring.
In a saucepan, put the water and then the sugar. Cook in blond caramel , then pour on a plate covered with a sheet of baking paper.
Once cooled, crush the caramel, then using a food processor, reduce it to powder . Reserve away from humidity.
Sprinkle the opaline on a silicone baking sheet.
Place the blind-baked stock on the opaline and set aside.
The assembly :
Pour the whole of the hot flan mixture into the base of the pie itself placed on the caramel powder. Bake for 15min at 170°C. (the device being already cooked)
Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing and enjoying.
You can keep the flan in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Chef's Tip :
- overflow the dough on the edges before cooking to obtain a crispy dough all over
- with the scraps of dough, prepare a crisp, adding chocolate for example
- the flan mixture must be smooth before being poured onto the pastry base
Our advice :
Cooking the dough is essential for the success of the flan: preferably use a baking sheet with holes that will facilitate the drying of the flan underneath.
Prefer a hinged mold for the realization of your pastry flan because this cake mold guarantees unmolding without drama. As a precaution, slide a sheet of parchment paper before lining the mold so that your cake does not risk sticking to the removable bottom after unmolding.
Cream powder is a mixture of starch often flavored with vanilla. Replace it with cornstarch and real vanilla!
Replace the milk with a vegetable milk: almond, oat, hazelnut or cashew. This will bring a refined taste to your pastry flan.
Try to make small individual flans with in the heart of which you will slip a little parte to spread for even more delicacies.
Don't buy your ready -made shortcrust pastry anymore because it's easy to make and keeps very well in the freezer!