Thursday, March 26, 2009

: get fruity :

I've never really considered myself much of a baker. As much as I love cakes, pastries and sweets, I've always been more of an eater, and less the maker. So it's a bit surprising to myself that most of my posts thus far have been about desserts.

I think the one thing I've discovered since creating this blog is that desserts are one of the most fun foods to jazz up! It's so easy to make a simple dessert look completely elegant, or oh so cute. (Okay, maybe those ducks actually did take quite some time to make! But you get the idea). As such, I've currently been mostly experimenting with desserts and how to make them look delicious and attractive (on camera and off!).

I made this fruit flan in my Culinary Desserts class, and it looked so good that I just had to share. The recipe is also dead simple, and straight from our class workbook. And it's actually quite good! Measurements are all in grams/ml, and some adaptations apply.

Fruit Flan (makes one flan)

100g Sugar
170g Shortening
3g Salt
1/4 t Vanilla extract
1 Eggs
25ml Milk
300g Pastry flour

375ml Whole milk
75g Sugar
30g Cornstarch
1 Eggs
1/2 t Vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Melted chocolate (about 1/4 cup, enough to cover your pastry crust bottom.
Fruits (of your choice)
Apricot jam, heated up with a little bit of water to a glazing consistency

1. To prepare pastry crust, cream together sugar, shortening and vanilla until light and fluffy.
2. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl. Add milk and just disperse.
3. Sift and add flour. Blend until incorporated - DO NOT OVERMIX.
4. Work dough on floured table. Chill until needed.
5. For the custard filling: In a saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch and 1/2 the sugar and bring to a boil.
6. In a bowl, whisk eggs with the remaining sugar until pale and slightly thickened
7. Temper the egg mixture and add to saucepan.
8. Whisk until mixture thickens, ensuring it is smooth and lump-free, then remove from heat and add vanilla and mix through.
9. Pour pudding onto a clean sheet of plastic on a tray (to prevent skin from forming) and refrigerate and let cool.
10. Roll out pastry crust to 1/4 inch thickness and line flan or tart pans. Poke holes with a fork in the dough. Bake shell in 350F oven until golden brown (15-30 min).
11. When pastry shell is ready, let cool slightly and 'paint' on melted chocolate to prevent soggy bottoms.
12. When chocolate has cooled completely, add custard and smooth out.
13. Arrange a variety of fruits in an artistic design covering all cream (I used strawberry, tangerines and kiwis).
14. Glaze fruits with melted apricot jam.


  1. I love fruit flan and this one sure looks gorgeous. The colours of the fruit really play up the whole display.

  2. You said you are not a baker?!!! Well, well, well, you're making me jealous with your skills! These flan, fruit tarts look incredibly beautiful and I bet they taste devastingly good too!

    Thanks for sharing!

    A quick question: when you bake the tart, how do you shape the dough so that when you bake it, it still retains the nice, even ridge all around the edge? When I bake tart, the edge usually comes out uneven; it looks as if the edge shrinks by some milimeters after baking.

    Thanks again for spending some time with this question!

  3. Hello Zeitgeist! For the pastry crust, we used a flan/quiche pan that has the fluted edge built in already. It also has a separate bottom plate that makes it easy to remove after baking ( When you're placing the rolled dough over the tart pan, I would make sure that you actually fill out all the edges of the pan (use your thumb to lightly press along the bottom of the pan) and then run your rolling pin to over the top to remove excess crust.

    If you're doing all this already, it might just be the recipe you're using. Shortening is more stable, resulting in a more even crust after baking. If your recipe is using butter, because butter tends to 'spread' more during baking, it might have an effect on the final product where the sides sink down. Also, I didn't grease the pan, so that might have helped stick the pastry to the sides. Let me know if this helps?!