Flan pâtissier

The simplest things are often the best. This is yet another French classic and a cake you’ll find in any bakery’s window display . Well, in France anyway. Really, it’s nothing more than a flaky pastry tart filled with a pastry cream. The secret is to not eat it until it has stayed overnight in your fridge so that it has had time to set and cool down completely. Just like cheesecake, and many other things in life, the more you wait, the better it is… Now, that’s assuming you can of course.

Tried & Tasted Recipe
  • 1 packet ready-rolled puff pastry 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1 litre whole/full fat milk  
  • 150g sugar 
  • 100g cornflour /cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsps vanilla essence 
Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F.
Lay and press the dough into a deep baking pan. Set aside in the fridge or freezer.
Pour the milk into a saucepan.
Slit the vanilla pod open length-ways and scrape out the seeds; put seeds and pod into the pan and heat.
Meanwhile, beat the sugar, cornflour and eggs together. Once the milk has reached boiling point, rescue the pod* and add slowly to the egg mixture whilst you continue stirring. Place the custard back into the pan and stir over a low heat until the cream thickens.
Set aside to cool slightly.
Using a fork, prick the pastry and pour the custard into it.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the luscious custard has set beneath a soft, caramelised skin.

* Don't discard the pod after using. Once dry, blitz in a food processor with some sugar to make vanilla-flavored sugar which you'll be able to use in your baking.

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