Recipes

Parisian Flan with Cardamom-Apple Compote

A burnished surface and buttery crust are the hallmarks of this French-style custard tart.

  • Serves

    One 8-in. flan

  • Cook

    3 hours

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AARON BENGOCHEA

By Kat Craddock


Published on October 4, 2022

At his New York City bakery, Bread Story, pastry chef and baker Yann Ledoux sells this burnished, Parisian-style flan by the slice, but for special occasions and dinner parties, SAVEUR editorial director Kat Craddock prefers to buy the mile-high and impossibly silky custard tart whole, then top it with a homemade, seasonal fruit compote. Ledoux assembles his version using a super-flakey laminated dough for the crust, but in untrained hands, the dough can be a little tricky to wrangle. For home cooks, we’ve found that any flakey, all-butter pie dough comes pretty close to the real thing. Flan rings are available in kitchenware and some craft shops, or online from New York Cake. (For more on how to make pie crust from scratch, check out our handy explainer here.) If you don’t have a blender, you may whisk together the custard ingredients, but for the smoothest results, be sure to pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer before baking.

Ingredients

For the flan:

  • ¾ lb. all-butter pie dough (store-bought or homemade), softened
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling
  • 2¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. melted unsalted butter

For the compote:

  • 3 large firm apples, such as honeycrisp or granny smith
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked slightly
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup Lillet Blanc or another sweet white wine
  • 1–2 Tbsp. honey
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

Step 1

Make the flan: Wrap the bottom of an 8- by 2-inch flan ring with aluminum foil and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. (Alternatively, you may use an 8- by 2-inch springform pan.) Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and, if you have one, place a pizza stone atop the rack; preheat the oven to 400°F.

Step 2

Lightly flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin and roll the pie dough out to an even, 17-inch circle (the dough should be an even, 1/16 inch thick). Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin, then use the pin to lift the sheet up off the table and fit it into the flan ring; lift and settle the sheet tightly into the corners without stretching the dough, then press the dough evenly along the inside of the ring. Using a sharp paring knife, trim away the excess dough, then transfer the shell (still on the baking sheet) into the fridge to chill until firm, at least 15 minutes. (If chilling longer than 2 hours, cover the shell loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Step 3

Meanwhile, to a blender, add the milk, cream, sugar, eggs, yolks, vanilla, cornstarch, and melted butter. Blend until completely smooth, about 30 seconds, then pour into the chilled shell. Place the baking sheet on the pizza stone (if using) and bake until the custard is just set and deep golden brown on top, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Step 4

Meanwhile, make the compote: Peel, core and slice the apples into thin wedges and set them by the stove. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When the foam begins to subside, add the cardamom and fennel seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the apple slices and raisins and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened and begun to brown slightly, 8–10 minutes. Stir in the Lillet and continue cooking until the alcohol boils off, the raisins have plumped, and the liquid has nearly evaporated, 3–4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of honey. Season to taste with salt and more honey if needed, then set aside until ready to serve. (If making the compote ahead of time, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days and reheat gently in the microwave before using.)

Step 5

Cut the cooled flan into wedges, top with warm or room temperature compote, and serve. Leftovers may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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