Gruyère Cheese Flan

This is my basic flan recipe, but of course you can add any other ingredients you like. One of my favourites is to make this into a leek, mushroom and Gruyère flan by simply omitting one of the onions and replacing it with a shredded leek and 50 g (2 oz) of sliced mushrooms, both lightly cooked in butter. It then eats very well with a Spicy Tomato Sauce.

If you don’t have the time to make your own pastry, both shortcrust and puff are easily found in most food stores, although they’re not quite as good as home-made! I prefer to use puff pastry for this recipe as it cooks much more lightly and suits the flan. It eats very well as a starter or main course with salad.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 40 g ( oz) unsalted butter
  • tablespoons ground-nut or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) double cream or milk
  • 100 g (4 oz) Gruyère or Cheddar, grated
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 175 g (6 oz) Puff or Savoury Pastry
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Method

To start the filling, cook the sliced onions in 1 tablespoon of the butter and ½ tablespoon of the oil until soft and transparent. Leave to cool. In a basin, beat the eggs and egg yolk together, then add the cream or milk and leave to one side. Melt the remaining butter and oil together until blended, then leave to cool. Mix the grated cheese with the eggs and cream and fold in the onions and the cool butter and oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper and a little cayenne, if you like. The mixture can be made the day before it’s needed, as it refrigerates very well.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and prepare a 24-cm (-in) flan tin or a flan ring and a baking sheet.

Roll out the pastry and use to line the flan tin or ring. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or dried rice. Bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 15–20 minutes, then allow to cool. Remove the beans and paper.

Reduce the oven temperature to 150–160°C/300–325°F/gas 2–3. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry base and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes until the flan is just set. The tart should colour during cooking. If it starts to over-colour, lightly cover with foil or greaseproof paper. The flan is best left to rest for 20–30 minutes before serving as this will help set the texture of the filling.

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