French custard – Tarte au flan
I haven’t met anyone yet who does not like custard or flan and this tart is all about drawing a smile on the face of anyone who loves custard.
La tarte au flan is a French classic and it’s one of the family favourites. It’s also easy to make. You only need a shortcrust or flan tart dough and a custard mix, ideally homemade, I mean anyone can mix eggs, milk and sugar so let’s not buy powders and ruin the whole thing..
I’ve already posted a variation of this recipe with coconut and an another version with vanilla only and both recipes use whole eggs and they were posted in French. Both versions are great.
Today’s recipe uses a classic crème pâtissière for the filling (using egg yolks mostly) and it is more traditional.
This is the ultimate family tart that kids and grown up people will enjoy, especially when served slightly cold.
For today’s recipe, I’ve chosen to insert some sweet cherries and it turned out great.
Serves 6 / 20 cm fluted flan or tart tin
Prep: 15 min – Baking: 30-40 min
- 250g of flour
- 125 g of butter, in cubes (slightly soft)
- A good pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp of cold milk (if needed)
- Lemon zest or a hint of vanilla beans (optional)
- 400 ml whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 vanilla pod
- A pinch of salt
- 20 g of butter
- 80 g of fine or caster sugar
- 40 g of corn starch
- 2-3 tbsps of apricot preserve or marmelade
The dough (can be made ahead of time)
- Mix the flour with sugar, salt and flavouring if using any. Rub with cold butter until you reach a crumbly consistency. Bring the dough together by adding the egg and practicing what we call “fraisage”. DO NOT OVERWORK the dough so it does not become elastic.
- Flatten the dough, cling film it and put it in the fridge for 30 min approximately.
- You can do this using a food processor with a blade as well.
- Place the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour or 15 min in the freezer.
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C.
- Roll the dough no more than 2 mm thick (I always do that between 2 sheets or baking paper or cling film). Adjust it inside a flan/fluted tart tin and cut any excess dough. Place the tin in the fridge for a few minutes.
- Prick the dough a few times and bake blind (using a foil with beans on top) for about 10 minutes. Give it another 5 minutes after you remove the beans and the foil.
- In the meantime make the custard.
The custard/ Crème pâtissière
- Scrap the beans from the vanilla pod and whisk them with the sugar, corn starch, salt and finally egg yolk until all look combined (we don’t need volume here).
- At the same time, warm the milk with the pod inside.
- Gently mix a small ladle of milk into the egg yolk mix with whisking. Add another ladle and whisk, add the rest and give a final whisk.
- Transfer to the saucepan where you heated the milk and whisk over medium heat until the cream gets a thick consistence. Add in the butter and whisk.
- Cover the tart shell with the mix (you could place some fruits inside before that if you fancy it). The filling should not exceed the edges of the shell and it should be at least 1.5 to 2 cm deep.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until you start seeing patches of browning on the custard. I like to place it at the bottom half of the oven. In case the edges seem to be burning, cover loosely with a foil.
- Set aside to cool. Glaze with warm apricot jam. I don’t bother sifting it. Transfer to the fridge.
- Serve slightly cold. The flan tart keeps well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, better eaten the first 2 days though.