PARISIAN FLAN (FRENCH CUSTARD PIE)

Parisian flan is a custard pie made of a shortcrust pastry base and a cream made with sugar, vanilla, eggs, milk, butter and corn starch.

Flan comes from England and goes back to the Middle Ages. It would have been adapted to the 14th century in France. Pastry flans recipes are popular all over the world and vary according to the country : puff pastry, high temperature and high sugar content in Portugal (pastel de nata); shortcrust pastry and condensed milk in China (dàn tà); shortcrust pastry, whole cream, lower temperature and lower sugar content in England (custard tart); shortcrust pastry, milk and corn starch in France (pastry flan). The shape of the flan changes depending on the country: individual format in Portugal and China, large pie to share in Great Britain and France.

Level of difficulty : easy
Prep time : 25 min
Rest time : 3 h 30 min
Cook time : 50 min
Total time : 1 h 15 min + 3 h 30 min (rest)
Yield : 6/8 servings
Pastry :
1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
2 cups flour
0.4 cup corn starch
2.5 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
4 tbsp milk
1 pinch salt
Cream :
1.5 cup sugar
1 pinch of vanilla powder
1 cup corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
5.5 cups semi-skimmed milk
20 g butter

Pastry :

  • Cut the cold butter into cubes.
  • Add the butter to a bowl with the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar. 
  • Mix with your fingertips until you obtain a fine and sandy mixture (sandblasting).
  • In a small bowl, combine the milk with the egg yolk.
  • Pour over the previous mixture and stir until you get a smooth consistency. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Lightly dust the work surface with flour or cover with baking paper. 
  • Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until you get a very thin thickness, about 0.1 inch.
  • Place the dough into a 10 inch pan with baking paper.
  • Cut out the protruding parts with a knife and prick the base with a fork, then refrigerate.

Cream :

  • Preheat the oven in static mode to 360° F.
  • Put 1 cup of sugar, vanilla powder and corn starch in a bowl. 
  • Add whole eggs (beaten), egg yolks and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  • In a large saucepan, pour the remaining milk, butter and sugar and bring to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil, pour into the bowl containing the mixture of sugar, starch and eggs, stirring constantly. 
  • Mix everything together and return to the saucepan. 
  • Bring to a boil over low heat and stir constantly for 3 to 4 minutes.

Assembly and cooking :

  • Transfer the cream to the dough base and level the surface.
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until you get a nice color.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack before removing from the mold, then leave to cool for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Serve and enjoy ! 

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