Probably one of my favorite (you will say that I am saying this every time, it is because it is difficult to make my mind up, I actually have several French fav pudding 🙂
I have been experimenting few recipes by now, changing the number of eggs, the recipe with yolks only, the amount of milk, double cream, cornflour …and I came to this final recipe!
There are some constants here: A custard tart like the name would suggest contains eggs, milk, cream and sugar. For the pastry the classic French flan is a shortcrust pastry but if you are greedy I would recommend puff pastry (but maybe extra butter is not necessary 🙂
You can use a puff /shortcrust pastry from the supermarket or if you have time to kill, make your own my express puff pastry here.
– 1 pack of puff/shortcrust pastry
– 4 eggs
– 90 g cornflour
– 200 g double cream
– 800 g whole milk
– 200 g sugar
– 3 tsp of Vanilla paste
First you need to line the pastry in a tin (ideally like on the pic below) and the key is to let it rest in the fridge or better in the freezer to let the time to the gluten to relax (avoid any shrink during baking). DO NOT SKIP THIS STAGE!
Then we can prepare our creme pat!
There is normally no risk to mess up with a creme pat if we compare to a custard. Why is that?
Creme pat differs from custard because of the cornflour. Cornflour contains starch and will thicken before the temperature of 83 degrees which is the temperature when eggs coagulate.
With a custard it is not the same story, you have to be more careful as there is a risk to end up with scrambled eggs if you go over the temperature of 83 degrees. I HIGHLY recommend you to use a thermometer to do a custard! but no need with the creme pat as we are doing now (phew!!)
1- In a saucepan, bring milk and cream to simmer
2- Meanwhile in a bowl, mix eggs, cornflour, sugar and vanilla paste.
3- Pour the hot milk/cream into the bowl and whisk quickly.
4- Transfer the mixture from the bowl back into the saucepan.
5- Put back on the hob until it thickens. If you get lumps at that stage do not panic 🙂 just out of the fire, continue to whisk vigorously (excellent exercise for bingo wings hey hey). At this stage you can add 1 or 2 Tsp of Brandy if you want an extra flavour. No risk for the kids, the ethanol is very volatile, low boiling point so it will evaporate and you will only get the brandy flavour. (I like Grand Marnier particularly).
6- Transfer into the tin, bake for 50-60 min in a fan oven at 180 degrees.
It will be wobbly when you remove it from the oven and it is absolutely normal!!
Now it is the most difficult bit because you will have to wait ! If you try to cut it now it will be a complete disaster. You have to let it rest at least for 3/4 hours in the fridge to let it set properly.