Tarte au Flan with cherries

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.

Tarte au Flan with cherries

Tarte au Flan with cherries. Credit @Nada Kiffa

 

Ingredients

Serves 6 / 20 cm fluted flan or tart tin
Prep: 15 min – Baking: 30-40 min

The dough 

  • 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)

 Crème pâtissière

  • 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

Glazing

  • 2-3 tbsps of apricot preserve or marmelade

 

Preparation

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.

    [su_spacer]

Bourdaloue-inspired tart with cherries and blackcurrants

[su_spacer]

I love tarte bourdaloue in its traditional form with pears, but I also love it with apricots or peaches. There was a time when I had an overdose of apricot-bourdaloue when I was working in Morocco. It was a sweet overdose.

I have previously posted a similar recipe in French where the star of the show was the peach. So you get the picture, you can use many fruits: pear, apple, apricot, cherry, berries…
There is something about these tarts, you get different textures in one bite: from crunchy to moist to soft and melting in your mouth. The fruits bring a balanced sweetness and acidity beside their fruity flavour.
 
 

Ingredients

Makes about 20 cm tart
Prep: 15 min – baking: 25 min approx

Shortcrust or pastry dough

  • 250g of flour
  • 125g of butter in cubes, slightly cold
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with
  • 3 tbsp of cold milk, approx
  • 1 tbsp of almond powder (if used, reduce it from the flour weight)

Almond cream

  • 100 g of almond meal, preferably toasted for 5 to 10 min until it releases its smell
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g of butter, soft at room temperature
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla beans or a few drops of vanilla extract 

Filling

  • 400 g of fresh cherries (pitted) and blackberries or any fresh seasonal fruit

Glazing (warm and sift)

  • 2-3 tbsp of apricot jam
  • 1 tbsp of water



 

Preparation 


Tart shell

Mix the flour with sugar and salt. Rub with cold butter until you reach a crumbly consistency. Bring the dough together by adding the egg yolk liquefied with milk. DO NOT OVERWORK the dough so it does not become elastic. Flatten it to an “abaisse”  in a cling film. Cover and place it in the fridge for 2 hours or in the freezer for 10 min.

 

 Almond cream

  • Preheat the oven at 180 C.
  • In the meantime, make the almond cream, whisk sugar, salt and soft butter until creamy, add the eggs and flavourings and whisk again. Fold in the almond meal. Mix to combine and set aside.
 
 
 

Assembly and baking

 

  • Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C (for small ovens) or 180 degrees C (standard ovens).
  • In a lightly floured parchment paper, roll the shortcrust dough to 2-3 mm thickness. Transfer to tart pan and use your fingers delicately to press the dough to the corners. Leave 2-3 mm of extra dough exceeding the edges and cut neatly. Slightly prick the bottom.
  • Place the berries all around and then top them with almond cream. Should you wish to make a real bourdaloue, place quarters of poached pears or peaches or apricot on top of the almond cream.
  • Bake for about 35 -40 min or until the edges and the top take a nice golden colour.
  • Once the tart is out of the oven, place the pan on a grill and brush it with a warm apricot glaze to give a shine but also to protect the fruits from the air. Leave the tart to cool.
  • Do not move it from its pan until it has cooled.
  • Serve the cherries-bourdaloue tart at room temperature.

[su_spacer]


German Kirsch Streuselkuchen- Cherry streusel pie


The Germans love their streusel, there is a myriad of baked goods having this crumbly mix as a topping but also the same dough will be the base of the tart.
I usually enjoy any fruit tart topped with streusel topping. During the berry season which has already started, all bakeries will have different tarts-pies or trays to be sold cut into bars.
Im not sure whether we should call this sort of presentation a tart or a pie, considering the streusel layer. Whatever it is, that crunchy bit is always welcomed.
Note: I have put a “thick” layer of streusel on top but you need to put slightly less. I was holding baby with the other arm. I could only use one hand and it came that way..
Ingredients

 

Makes 1 streusel cherry pie using a 20 cm springform (Adapted from here)

 

Prep: 20 min – Baking: 45 min

 

  • 2 cups washed and pitted cherries (or canned)
  • 1 1/2 cup cherry juice from cherries or cans (I replaced with ½ orange juice)
  • 1 Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding (or just make one cup of home made crème patissiere- pastry cream)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes (you can just use all purpose flour)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 250 g butter, in cubes

 

  
Preparation
Filling for Streusel Cake
Wash and pit fresh cherries to make about 2 cups  and save any juice that comes off the fruit. If you are using canned cherries, drain, reserving juice, and set aside. I used semi-sweet cherries.
Measure juice from cherries and add water or juice to make 1 1/2 cups.
Prepare pudding according to the directions, but with juice NOT milk.
After pudding thickens, stir in cherries and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the streusel.
Streusel
Mix the flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Add cold butter chunks and the eggs. Mix by either rubbing the ingredients with your hands, or use a mixer on low speed.
Mix until crumbs are formed.
Assemble the Streusel Cake
Press 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a buttered springform pan. Make the sides at least 2 cms tall. Make sure the dough is packed and no holes remain.
Pour the fruit on top of the unbaked crust. Do not fill above your crust, even if you have filling left over.
Using the rest of the dough, crumble streusel over the top.
Bake at 170 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving or the filling will be runny.
Sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top for a nice presentation. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tartlets-barquettes with berry cream

Last of our petits fours’ tray is going to be this recipe of berry cream tartlets or “barquettes” since we have used barquettes forms to shape the cases.

This recipe is just good for the season since there are plenty of berries around where I live. I have to admit that I used the last frozen pack I mixed last year, it has blackcurrants, raspberries and strawberries but the choice is up to you as far as the mixing goes.

The cream is relatively easy to make, think of a crème pâtissière or a pastry cream and that’s it. It’s the same logic except that we are replacing the thickening agent which is starch by agar agar and a part of milk with berry juice.

 

Ingredients
Makes 6 mini-tarts

Berry cream

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100 ml of milk
  • 30g of caster sugar
  • 50 ml of berry juice (collect the juice after squeezing the fruits with a spoon through a sieve)
  • 1/4 tsp of agar agar

Garnishing

  • Candied cherry or confit (or a berry)
  • Lemon zest
  • 50 g of white chocolate

Preparation

Have the pastry shells baked and cooled ahead of time (in this case I baked them 2 days ahead).

 

Melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave. Wait until it cools and thickens and then smear the tart cases with it. Let is set. This step prevents the pastry shells from becoming soggy with the filling especially if you are going to serve them a few hours later or the next day.

Berry cream

Mix the starch with 2 tablespoons of cold mild. Whisk the egg yolk with 1/2 f the sugar. Add in the juice and the starch and whisk until combine.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk with the remaining sugar and Agar Agar until it reaches a boiling point. Let boil for 30 seconds or so.

Slowly add the hot milk to the juice/egg/starch mix: start adding 1 tablespoon and mix, then another one and mix, then a bit more and mix. This step is crucial so you do not cook the egg.

Put the mix back into the saucepan and let simmer over medium heat while stirring until you get a creamy silky texture.
 Transfer to a cold bowl and cover with a cling-film “au contact”. Set aside to cool then place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Assembly and decoration
Whisk the cream to fluffen it up a bit but not much.
Pipe the cream using a small tip (I used wilton tip 3) to make it look like a small berry or just fill the pasty shells using 2 spoons really…
Top the tartlets with a berry and sprinkle some lime or lemon zest.