It’s Ashleigh’s birthday and for all the birthdays in his life, I’ve produced a decorated cake for him. Over the years the cakes have gone more and more elaborate and this year, I’m just not so sure how to capture his latest favourite, Yu-Gi-Oh, in a cake.
So, I’ve gone for his favourite – flan. Every time we go to France, he would beg to buy a baguette and a piece of flan, e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.
It is essentially made from sweet pastry with a custard filling inside, with a signature burnt top. This is one of the few french patisserie items that you can quite easily do at home, and would impress anyone with a sweet tooth.
- 8 inch cake tin
- 750 ml milk
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped out
- 6 tbsp corn starch
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 187 g Plain flour
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 165 g cold butter diced
- 60 ml milk
- 1 egg yolk
Make the filling (do this first as it needs to cool)
- In a saucepan, bring milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let it infuse for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, dissolve cornstarch in the whipping cream with a whisk. Add egg yolks and whole egg, combine.
- Slowly incorporate the eggy mixture into the infused milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and strain (I didn't… but ideally you should). Cover with clingfilm directly on the cream to avoid a skin forming. Let cool in the refrigerator.
Making the crust
- In a food processor, blitz together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and PULSE a few seconds at a time until the butter assembles the size of peas.
- Combine milk and egg yolk in a little bowl. Add this to the food processor and pulse, until a ball begins to form. Tip the mixture out and shape into a disc with your hand.
- On a floured worktop, roll out the pastry to line the greased and floured tin. Press firmly against the tin to make sure no gaps are there. Chill for half an hour or freeze for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to gas mark 6 / 200'C / 400'F.
- Once the custard filling is cooled, pour into the crust. Cut the excess dough to 1/2 cm of the custard level.
- Bake for 45 mins until slightly wobbly.
- Put under the grill for 3 – 5 minutes until it's slightly burnt on top.
- Leave to cool then put in the fridge to cool for at least 4 hours.