Delicate and Decadent Desserts: Blueberry Flan

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Light as an Angel’s Feather, and about as Heavenly

Flan is most commonly known in the US as a custard dessert topped with a layer of soft caramel. The etymology is French in origin, but you may be surprised to know the term appears in other European languages and instead refers to a quiche or tart-like pastry. It is the dessert equivalent of a meat pie, save that the crust is considerably more flakey and the filling is fruit-based. And while the caramel flan is a tearfully sweet experience, a quiche flan tends to be both more palatable and easier on the stomach.

 

Technically, most any fruit works. Apples make for a crisp, solid crunch and a firmness to the filling that needs to be eaten with a knife and fork. Strawberries are mildly sweet, but tend to become mushy within a few days of baking due to the high water content. The same goes for peaches, melons, and citrus. Blueberries are arguably the best choice. They withstand the heat of baking well, infuse the surrounding pastry with their flavor, and balance out the sweet with a tartness that cleanses the palate and leaves the taste buds rejuvenated and wanting more.

 

INGREDIENTS FOR PASTRY

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons ice cold water
  • ¼ cup sugar

 

INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING

  • 3 cups blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • powdered sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup ground almonds

 

METHOD FOR PASTRY

  1. Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Chop butter into thin slivers and distribute through the flour, fluffing with a fork until the mixtures takes on the consistency of breadcrumbs.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat a large egg until mixed and combine with sugar.
  3. Combine the contents of both bowls, agitating with a fork. Mixture will be extremely dry. Add water a few drops at a time until the resulting dough is workable. Not all the water need be used. Stop adding it once the dough can be separated and then worked back into a single mass without visible seams.
  4. Kneed the dough into a ball, wrap it in foil or plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours. The less time you spend working the dough, the softer the resulting shell will be.
  5. Once the dough is refrigerated, put down a layer of wax paper and dust it with flour. Then use a rolling pin to work your dough into a shell roughly 12 inches in diameter. There should be plenty of excess, so if you’ve experience working with dough, roll it as thinly as possible.
  6. Grease an 8-inch pie or flan tin with a detachable bottom, place it open end-down onto the crust and flip the whole over, then peel the wax paper off and snug the shell into the tin. The edges will overlap slightly. Press them together securely and brush the shell down with cold water if need be.
  7. Trim off excess dough around the top of the shell and puncture both the bottom of the shell and sides with a fork to facilitate steam venting.
  8. Set aside and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

METHOD FOR FILLING

  1. If using canned blueberries, drain syrup, wash and dry them on a towel.
  2. Separate the eggs and combine the yolks with ¼ cup of granulated sugar in an automatic mixer. Beat until they become creamy and pale.
  3. Add the ground almonds. It should be noted that chopping up regular almonds is not an acceptable substitute as they have not been blanched. Unblanched almonds retain their brown outer skins and are much more bitter than their blanched counterparts. Also, at this point you have a choice. Coarsely ground almonds will produce a crunchy filling with lots of air pockets, making for a drier flan. Finely ground almonds are also called almond flour, and when used in this recipe will create a filling with a moist, cakelike consistency.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and add the remaining sugar until it thickens and creates freestanding peaks.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the yolks and add the blueberries.
  6. Spread the mixture evenly into the pastry shell and bake for 40 minutes.
  7. Allow the finished flan to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before unlatching the side and transferring it to a rack or serving dish.
  8. Wait until the flan is completely cooled before dusting the top with powdered sugar.

 

Making Traditional Flan. Nothing Like The Recipe Above

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Comments 4 comments

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Another one to go into my Favourit Recipes.

Thank you for sharing and take care

Eiddwen.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Glad you like it. I hope to have more up in the next few days or so.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 5 years ago from United States

Your recipe instructions are some of the clearest I've ever read, and you somehow manage to make me want to race to the kitchen and whip this up, even though I'm not really hungry. Good job! :-)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Thank you for the praise. I find explaining why a person is supposed to do something when giving instructions achieves better results than telling them to do it and expecting blind obedience. That's why I try to include info about the different almonds and consistency; that sorta thing. I would probably bake more, but am terrible at working with dough.

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