The past couple days this week have been ridiculously warm, for London that is. There are certain cravings you start to get when it starts edging towards 20℃; for me, fresh fruits are ones of these. I just love the sweet, colourful, juicy strawberries and blueberries that are pretty much promised with the onset of high temperatures.
This is a refreshing dessert option and was one of my favourites growing up. My fondest memory of fruit flans is probably when my dad made these as small tartelettes, easily consumed in two bites, or one big one if you’re a greedy 8 year old.
Fresh summer fruits such as strawberries and blueberries blend deliciously well with the creamy custard filling while the shortcrust pastry base gives the tart a nice crumbly finish that you can only get with shortcust pastry.
This flan will last for a couple days, and the best part is the shortcrust pastry base will still maintain a respectable firm texture. The trick here is a layer of melted chocolate that gets painted before you add the custard and fruits, this helps keep the moisture from the custard at bay and your tart shell firm.
Part 1: Shortcrust pastry
If you’re looking for a shortcut, you can easily pick up shortcrust pastry from most supermarkets. This can be baked a couple days in advance.
A couple drops of vanilla
Salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste
⅛ tsp Baking powder
- In a medium bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon juice until fluffy.
- Add eggs in slowly, one at a time until fluffy and mixed well.
- Incorporate flour and baking powder in until it is just mixed – you want to avoid overworking it.
- Leave it in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes before rolling out.
- Preheat the oven to
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it’s 0.5cm thick and line a 9” pie tin, trimming off any excess dough.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Once ready, set aside to cool.
Part 2: Custard
As this needs to be cooled, prepare up to 3 days in advance and store in the fridge.
Vanilla essence, to taste
3 Large egg yolks
1tbsp AP flour
¼ cup Sugar
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.
- Sift flour and cornstarch together, whisk it together to the eggs until smooth.
- In a medium pan, heat the cream on medium heat until it’s just about ready to boil – you’ll see small bubbles appear on the side.
- Remove the cream from the heat and add ⅓ into the egg mixture to temper, add the egg mixture back into the pan of cream, and place back on the heat.
- Continue whisking the custard until it boils and thickens to a ketchup consistency.
- Remove from heat and place into a bowl, covering the top with saran wrap so that it touches the custard, preventing any “skin” from forming. Set aside to cool.
Part 3: Assembly
50g Dark chocolate, melted
300mL Double cream
Grand marnier to taste
1 Pint of blueberries
1 Pint of strawberries
1 Gelatin sheet
¼ cup Water
- Paint the flan base with the melted dark chocolate, set aside to set. You can speed this up by putting it in the fridge.
- In a small bowl, place the sheet of gelatin in cold water until softened (10 mins). Once softened, remove the gelatin and place in a small pan with ¼ of water, boil until it’s dissolved and the mixture is clear.
- Pour the gelatin into a bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
- Using a hand mixer, whisk the double cream in a medium sized bowl until correct consistency.
- Pour a cap of grand marnier (or orange liqueur equivalent) into the custard and mix well.
- Fold the cream into the custard until well incorporated.
- Spread the custard mix in the flan base to create a slight domed surface.
- Decorate with blueberries and strawberries.
- Finish with brushing the glaze on the fruits – it should be a bit cool as to not cook the fruit, but still runny enough that it drips slowly. The glaze will help preserve the fruits’ moisture.
- Allow the flan to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the glaze to solidify.