Fruit flans remind me of summer, a perfect, light, fruity dessert to end the perfect summer meal.
Not sure why I decided to pull out the flan pan in the middle of February, perhaps the record breaking high temperatures of the week had something to do with it.
I haven’t made a fruit flan in quite some time and don’t particularly have any memories of the last one I made but memories of a different kind came to mind while making this one.
The original shipping box still holds the flan pan but it’s the box that holds the memories for me.
The July 1975 post mark on the box, sixty five cent postage and outrageously expensive cost of two dollars and sixty five cents for the pan itself took me back to a simpler time, a time when the prospect of a new cake pan coming through the mail was very exciting and of course the choice of harvest gold colour coordinated with the harvest Bundt pan I had ordered months before.
I did say simpler times right?
I chose a simple pastry cream recipe to fill the flan and that brought back memories of an even simpler time in my life. This recipe took me back in time to my mother’s kitchen in our very first house, a quaint little corner bungalow surrounded by hedges and a white picket fence. Occasionally she would make a custard like treat for us from the same ingredients, milk, egg yolks, sugar and a little flour to thicken. A thin strip of lemon zest was always added for a subtle essence of lemon.
How delicious! We enjoyed those little bowls full while they were still slightly warm. Who knew we were eating pastry cream!
Back to the present!
Much to my amazement my harvest gold flan pan is now considered a “vintage collectable” and selling for a little more than the $2.65 I paid for it.
Think I’ll hold on to mine… and the box too!
Flan Sponge Shell
1/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
- Grease and flour a 10 inch (26 cm) flan or tart pan.
- In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
- In another bowl beat eggs and sugar until mixture is thickened and turns a pale yellow.
- Add melted butter .
- Add dry ingredients slowly until well combined and batter becomes is smooth and creamy. If the batter seems to thick add more milk a teaspoon at a time.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow the cake rest for 2 minutes before turning it out on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- In a medium saucepan whisk together egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and salt.
- Add in the milk whisking constantly over medium heat until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of creamy salad dressing, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat, pour into a bowl, whisk in vanilla and butter a few pieces at a time until melted and smooth.
- Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
- Optional but whipping 1/2 cup of 35% cream and folding it into the cold pastry cream makes it silky and light.
- Refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Let’s make the flan shell…
Place eggs, sugar and salt into a bowl.
Beat until mixture has thickened and turns a pale yellow.
Add milk and butter then add flour mixture until well combined and creamy.
Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time if batter is too thick.
Grease and flour 10 inch flan or tart pan.
Add batter into pan.
Bake for about 15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to rest in pan for 2 to 3 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.
Lets Make the pastry cream…
In a medium saucepan add egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and salt.
Whisk together over medium heat.
Add milk whisking constantly.
Whisk until mixture is the consistency of a creamy salad dressing.
Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Whisk in vanilla and butter one piece at a time until well blended.
Place a sheet of plastic directly over surface to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
For a lighter filling whip 1/2 cup of 35% cream (no sugar) and fold into pastry cream.
Pastry cream will become light, smooth and silky.
Let’s put it together…
Fill flan shell with pastry cream.
Arrange strawberry slices in rows around flan to completely cover the top.
For a quick glaze to finish off the top and keep the strawberries moist and shiny melt 2 tablespoons light coloured jelly (like apricot), with a teaspoon of water. Cool and brush over strawberries.
Refrigerate and allow to set for at least couple of hours before serving.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- Make a mixed fruit flan by adding a mix of fruit like kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and grapes to the strawberries.
- Make a quick fruit flan (not from scratch) using half the batter from a regular size vanilla cake mix to make shell and fill with one package vanilla instant pudding. Use remaining cake batter to make cupcakes.
So, here’s my Vintage Collectable!