This simple French flan tart made with store-bought puff pastry is perfectly sweet and totally irresistible!
Look at this dessert. It looks fancy and decadent, doesn’t it? It’s a French flan tart or flan pâtissier: an egg custard filling baked inside of a flaky puff pastry crust. Cafes or bakeries typically sell a slice for $5 to $8, because although it’s a pretty simple and straightforward recipe, it requires quite some time to make. The good news is you can make this dessert at home for a fraction of the price and even save some time since this recipe utilizes store-bought puff pastry. The entire flan tart costs around $8 to make, with the most expensive ingredient being the store-bought puff pastry. You may also already have the remaining ingredients at home as well since they are baking staples like eggs, milk, butter, sugar, and vanilla.
The custard filling is a basic crème patisserie that is commonly used in cream puffs and éclairs. It is flavored with vanilla (bean or extract) and sets up nicely in the fridge. The tart is a show-stopping piece that is perfect for a social gathering or afternoon tea. Dimensions for the tart are typically 8 in. or 9 in. by 2 in. or 3 in. Because I did not want to make such a large tart, I made a 6 in. x 3 in. tart that serves 6 to 8 people.
The signature look for the tart is a browned top with a yellow, egg-colored filling. The puff pastry should be perfectly crisp and the filling should be firm, or if desired, slightly jiggly. The dessert isn’t overly sweet which I love. It’s a dense and filling dessert so I eat a small slice at once and pair it with coffee or tea. Since I am a huge puff pastry fanatic, this is one of my favorite desserts and I’m certain you will love it as well!
French Flan Tart (Flan Pâtissier)
yield: 6 x 3 in. tart (6-8 servings)
total cook time: 20 hours (mainly set/refrigeration time)
- 135 g. or 8 large egg yolks
- 65 g. or 1/2 c. cornstarch
- 175 g. or 3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 8 g. or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 400 g. or 1 2/3 c. whole milk
- 80 g. or 1/3 c. unsalted butter, cubed
- 17 g. or 1 yolk, whisked for egg wash
- 2 sheets storebought puff pastry
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, half of the sugar, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Heat milk and the other half of the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gently whisk constantly until the mixture forms small bubbles. Slowly pour 1/6th of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture while mixing the yolk mixture constantly. It is important to pour slowly and whisk constantly so that you do not scramble the egg yolks.
- Return the remaining saucepan with milk over heat and pour the yolk and mixture into the saucepan while whisking constantly. Continue whisking for 5 minutes until the mixture becomes a thickened custard consistency. Once it is smooth, immediately place plastic wrap over the custard (touching the custard) so that a film does not form. Cool at room temperature for 4 hours and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Line a 6 x 3 inch springform pan with parchment paper by cutting a circle for the bottom and a ring sheet for the sides. Use oil spray to attach the parchment paper to the pan. Cut the puff pastry into a 6 inch circle. Use the pan to help visualize the dimensions. Also cut 2 strips of 3 inch wide pastry for the side crust. You may need 2 strips + some more dough to line the sides of the pan.
- Line the sides of the pan with the pastry strips first and use fingers to gently “glue” the pieces of pastry together. You can use a bit of water to “glue” the pieces. Once the pastry sides are in the pan, put the circular pastry piece in and “glue” the edges together by gently pressing the pieces of pastry together. Freeze the pastry for 20 min.
- Preheat oven to 430 F. Take the pastry out from the freezer and gently poke holes on the base crust with a fork. Place a piece of parchment paper over the entire pastry and put baking weights in the parchment paper. Blind bake the crust for 20-25 min at 430 F. Remove the parchment paper and the weights and bake an additional 5 min. The puff pastry will puff up, don’t worry it will collapse once out of the oven. Remove the pan from oven and cool at room temperature.
- Take the custard out from the fridge and whisk to un-clump it. Pour the custard filling into the crust and smoothe out the top of the custard. Use a pastry brush to brush on the yolk wash and bake at 390 F for 55-60 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees at the 30 min. mark. If the top and the pastry are browning too fast, place a foil over the top.
- Once baked, immediately remove the tart from the oven and cool at room temperature for 3 hours. Refrigerate for an additional 4-6 hours for a firm custard. Refrigerate 2 hours for a jiggly, softer custard. Remove from fridge and enjoy!
*Nutrition facts are estimates.
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