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The Best Flan Pâtissier

Recipe by Mori Yoshida (found in the the magasine Fou de Pâtisserie)

Shortcrust pastry:
- 100g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 16g egg yolk (about 1 egg yolk)
- 58g water (preferably cold)
- 200g flour
- 3.2 fine salt (a large pinch)
- 8g sugar
- egg white (for brushing)

Flan mixture:
- 350g milk
- 230g 30% liquid cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 28g egg white
- 116g egg yolk
- 124g caster sugar
- 50g cornstarch

Shortcrust pastry:
This dough is very easy to make and gives a perfect crisp result with this flan, but like all dough, it requires chilling passages to chill properly so that you can handle it easily and it doesn't fall apart during baking.

Place the flour, salt, sugar and butter in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the sheet, and work the mixture until you have a sandy texture with lots of little lumps of butter.

Mix the egg yolk with the water and add to the mixture, mixing just until smooth.

Remove the dough from the bowl, cover it with cling film and flatten it slightly, then place it in the fridge for ideally 12h (i.e. the day before) or at least 2-3 hours. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2-3mm, then line it with butter in a 16cm-diameter, 8cm-high pastry ring. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour, until the dough has cooled.

Preheat your oven to 170°C, then put the dough in the oven for 15 minutes, until it starts to cook. Remove from the oven, then, using a saw knife, trim the edges of the dough overhanging the circle. Return to the oven for a further 15 to 17 minutes, until the dough is cooked.

Remove the pastry from the oven, and brush it lightly with egg white from the inside. This will waterproof the pastry and keep it crisp. Return to the oven for 3 minutes to allow the egg white to dry.

Making the flan:
Start by splitting the vanilla pod and extracting the seeds, then place in a large saucepan and add the milk and crème fraîche. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and set aside to infuse the vanilla into the mixture.

After the infusion time, bring the milk back to the boil. Meanwhile, place the egg whites, yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and lump-free.

Remove the vanilla pods from the milk-cream mixture and pour a third of them into the egg mixture, mixing immediately.

Return to the saucepan over medium heat. Cook the cream, whisking constantly until thickened, then remove from the heat and pour into your pastry base.

Return to the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Once out of the oven, allow the flan to cool completely before removing from the mold, and set aside in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving. Personally, I prefer to eat it at room temperature, so I take out my portion of flan 15 to 20 minutes before eating.

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