Have you heard about Parisian flan? I am an absolute fan of the French food culture. When I was a kid, I remember the French opened a small shopping center near my house. Everything from France was there, including amazing desserts. This is where I tasted the Parisian flan for the first time. I liked it so much. I know what you’re thinking: What the heck is this Parisian flan? Let me tell you.
About Parisian flan
Parisian flan is primarily a milk and cream based custard cake. All tho it is really not very rich, but it is moist and creamy. It literally melts in your mouth. The custard used for Parisian flan is Creme Patissiere, a rich and creamy vanilla custard used in many desserts in France. The French make it from vanilla, milk, cream and eggs. If you want it even richer add some butter. The French call it Flan Pâtissier. There’s nothing better than this dessert from my childhood. Just remembering its taste makes me feel happy.
I use store bought puff pastry for the crust, although you could make it with tart dough, if you prefer. Parisian flan can be an everyday dessert or a snack as it is for the French. Depending on what brand of puff pastry you buy, you may find yourself faced with a geometry problem: How do you roll a rectangular sheet of pastry into a round? The easiest way to deal with it is to roll the dough into a large square and then cut the dough into a circle.
French food culture
Once my classmate returned from France after her summer vacation and told me about all the cheeses, baguettes, croissants, onion and cheese soups. Wine everywhere and always. All her impressions about French food left my mouth watering. I listened and wanted to try everything. French cuisine was different in nature than our usual home cooking. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the recipe for the Parisian Flan – Flan Pâtissier.
Parisian flan recipe
Makes 9 -12 servings
Preparation 30 -45 min
Cooking 30 min
Chilling 6 h
Parisian Flan Ingredients
3 large free-range eggs
180 g sugar
135 g cornstarch (do not use yellow cornflour, use white cornstarch)
1 litre whole milk
500 ml heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp vanilla extract, (you can use vanilla bean or paste)
A pinch of salt
1 sheet puff pastry (at least 17.63 ounces / 500 grams), preferably all-butter or all-purpose tart dough (see below)
1. Pour milk in the pot. I used vegan oat milk this time. Add vanilla bean. I’m using a crushed vanilla. Keep eye on it, because the milk can blending over and making a mess. While the milk is heating I’m going to start a custard.
2. Add cornstarch, sugar and salt to the mixing bowl and whisk all ingredients together with a hand whisker. Add one egg and whisk with sugar and cornstarch. Then other two eggs one by one. It’s little by little process. Pour cream and finish the mixture.
3. When the milk has a few bubbles it is ready. Remove the vanilla bean. You don’t wanna pour all the milk in to the mixing bowl immediately, because you will make scrambled eggs. It’s little by little process. Pour a little bit of milk (one soup ladle) to warm the mixture. Do not stop whisking when you add the milk till everything blends well. Otherwise you will cook the eggs. You need just getting the eggs use to the warmth. One scoop after another slowly and carefully. It will get the eggs use to the heat. After you’ve whisked 5 scoops, you can just pour milk in a steady stram. Just keep whisking.
4. When all blended, this has to go back in the pot. Pour the custard into the pot and back to cook. The custard should heat on medium heat. Don’t be timid – do whisk. While custard is cooking you have to whisk it constantly. When you will start to see stlight traces from the whisk and you’re feeling a little resistance it means custard is getting thick. When you will see the bubbles you need another minute or so to just keep stirring. It’s finished. Pour the custart into the bowl. Cover it and leave to cool and thicken.
5. I used a 25 cm / 9½ inches springform. If you have a smaller springform don’t worry. You will have extra custard left. It’s amazing, cause it is a good dessert or a snack. If you wanted to, you could use this filling without baking it in the oven. So, place the ring on a sheet of baking paper sitting on a springform pan base. Butter the springform. Cut base using the inside of the springform as an example. Cut the puff pastry into 5 x 80 cm (2 x 31,5 in) lenght strip. You can divide it into 3 – 26 cm strips. Make sure it is stiff so it doesn’t move when you line the sides. Seal seams with the back of a teaspoon.
6. Whisk cooled custard with hand whisker and scrape it into the pastry-lined springform pan and smooth the top. The dough should reach about ½ inch above the custard. Preheat the oven to 210 C / 410 F. Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven, let it cool. After cooking, keep it in the fridge for 6 hours before enjoying it! When the tart has been chilled and it’s cold run a knife around the edges to release it.
♥ If you want a richer Parisian flan, add butter. Once the custard is finished, you can just add the butter and let it melt.
♥ Sweetened condensed milk works perfect instead of sugar.