As the summer wears on, I’m finding it harder to motivate myself to cook in the kitchen. With all the heat outside, why make even more inside? But once I saw this recipe for Flan Parisian (Vanilla Custard Tart), I thought this might be worth cranking up the old oven.
Once again, Christine over at Angry Cherry has outdone herself. I took one look at her recent Flan Parisian, and knew I had to make it as well. She’s a phenomenal baker, as her posts have proven time and again. I’m a huge fan of vanilla, as well as egg-based, custardy dishes and I thought this would be fun to try.
She has an awesome recipe for the crust, which is perfect for this dish. But I, being the lazy-ass that I am, decided to make quick work of this and used a store-bought crust. I know, I know – I’m sure I didn’t do the dish complete justice, but I don’t have a proper tart shell and figured if I was using a regular pie dish, then I might as well not focus so much on the crust anyway. At least that’s what I told myself. But I am lazy . . . so there’s that.
What I wanted to focus on was the creamy, egg-y goodness that caught my eye in the first place. Which is really very easy to make. Start by sifting some sugar and cornstarch and salt together. To this, add 4 eggs and some of your best vanilla extract. Combine these ingredients and set aside for the time being.
Next, add some milk, heavy cream and a scraped and seeded vanilla bean to a large pot. One vanilla bean is sufficient. I actually have a ton of vanilla beans right now, which is great because I love, LOVE vanilla bean and being able to incorporate into desserts.
Side note – a World Market store by me recently closed (to make way for a dumb Wal Mart) and during one of their liquidation sales, I bought out all their vanilla beans. So, boo for corporate monster Wal Mart, but yaay for reduced price vanilla beans, I guess? Anyway, heat the milk and vanilla bean mixture over medium heat.
When you start seeing steam come off the top, remove from heat and slowly add to the sugar/cornstarch/egg mixture, by running through a strainer first. You’ll want to catch all the bigger pieces from the vanilla bean and at the same time, don’t pour the milk mixture all at once. Pour/strain a little and mix well, then a little more, and a little more, and so on. You don’t want to end up with milky, sugary scrambled eggs!
Once everything is combined, return the mixture to the stove and stir constantly over medium heat. You’ll want to stir constantly so as to keep the mixture well-combined and to keep it from sticking to the sides and the bottom and start cooking. So scrape the pot really well as you’re cooking. You’ll want to heat it to the point where it starts thickening. Once you notice it’s starting to thicken and becomes like a heavy milky sauce, remove from heat and add to your tart shell. Or lazy pie shell version.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until it looks firm and barely jiggles when you give it a little nudge. ‘Jiggles’ sounds like it could be a fun name, doesn’t it?
If you want to give it that delicious-looking caramelized top, turn the heat up to broil and place the flan on the highest rack. With the oven door open, watch it carefully and you’ll see the top begin to brown. Remove immediately, or when desired coloring is reached. But careful not to burn it – you don’t want to have made a perfectly delicious dessert and then ruin it right at the very end.
It’s best eaten warm, but let it cool for a bit after removing from oven. Enjoy!
- 2 & 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
First, make the tart dough. I wasn’t patient enough to make my own dough – nor do I have a tart shell, so I opted for the store-bought Pillsbury pie crust. It was ok for a lazy version, but I’m sure Christine’s version will blow your mind, if you want to give it a try here.
To make the flan start by sifting the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract and set aside momentarily.
Combine the milk, heavy cream, and split and scraped vanilla bean pod and seeds in a large sauce pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Heat the milk and cream mixture until you start seeing steam come off the top. At this point, pour the mixture through a strainer and into the sugar and egg mixture a little at a time. Being careful not to cook the egg mixture, add slowly until everything is combined.
Once everything is together and combined well, return this custard starter-kit to the stove. At this point, stir/whisk constantly to keep the mixture moving so it doesn’t start to stick and cook to the bottom and sides of the pot. Scrape the pot well as you stir and just when it starts to thicken up and coating your spoon, remove from heat and pour the thickened mixture into your pre-baked tart/pie crust.
Bake at 350 for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the middle is just set and barely jiggles. At this point, if you want a more caramelized top, turn the heat up to broil and place the flan on the highest rack. With the door open, watch it carefully and you’ll see the top begin to brown. Remove immediately, or when desired coloring is reached. But careful not to burn it!