Flan Pâtissier (or Parisian) is a simple custard tart and a classic French recipe but it’s origins go back much further.
“What have the Romans ever done for us?” The classic line from Monty Python’s Life of Brian got the answer “aqueducts… sanitation… roads… irrigation…” and a whole lot more. They didn’t say flans – but in fact, flan comes from the old French flaon which comes from Latin fladon. Yup, thanks to the Romans, the French discovered flans and then perfected them.
In every patisserie and every boulangerie, you’ll find a version of this eggy tart and it’s easy to make at home too. We asked blogger Abi at The Little French Cottage to share her favourite Flan Pâtissier recipe with us…
How to make Flan Pâtissier
To make this recipe you will need an 18 to 22 cm tart tin, pie dish or cake mold and 200 grams of short crust or puff pastry.
For the base
200 grams short crust or puff pastry
For the Custard Filling
500 ml milk
125 ml pure cream
100 grams egg yolks (4 large egg yolks approx.)
1 vanilla pod
120 grams caster sugar
50 grams cornstarch/flour
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they turn a creamy color. Then add the corn flour/starch and mix.
Put the milk , cream, and vanilla pod (split open, making sure you scrap the beans out) in a saucepan and bring it to the boil over a medium/high heat.
When the milk reaches boiling point turn the heat off and remove the vanilla pod. Pour the milk over the egg mix. Do this a little bit at a time while whisking gently but continuously.
Pour all the mix you just made back into the saucepan. Turn the heat on medium-high and bring to the boil while stirring continuously. The mixture will quickly thicken and then needs to be turned down to low and cooked for about 5 minutes as you gently whisk it.
Pour the custard into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to the touch (meaning your plastic wrap has to be in contact with the custard to avoid a crust forming on top). Let the custard completely cool in the fridge.
Prepare the tin by coating it with a little bit of butter then lightly dust it with flour to stop the pastry sticking. Carefully press the pastry into the tin.
Whisk the custard to make it more workable. Tip it into the pastry tin and flatten the top with a spatula to make sure the surface is even.
Bake the flan at Gas Mark 4/180˚Celsius/350F for 35 minutes (or until a golden crust has formed on top).
Leave it to cool completely before serving.
Find more scrumptious recipes and tales of French life at thelittlefrenchcottage.com
More delicious French classic desserts to make at home
Tarte Reine Claude – a very easy to make plum tart!
Financiers – the must have snack cake of the French
How to make the perfect lemon tart by a 3 Michelin star chef
Tarte tatin by top French chef Daniel Galmiche – beware, it’s utterly irresistible!