Flan (Tart)

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

flan (tart) is a simple open tart with a pastry crust filled with fruit, flavored creams, or any number of other ingredients. It is not to be confused with the custard-type dessert also known as flan (the word “flan” is derived from “flado,” meaning a round, flat object). See flan (pudím). Flans can be sweet or savory (a quiche is a flan). Dessert flans may be made with a sweet shortcrust (pâte sucrée), a shortcrust (pâte brisée), or even puff pastry. See pastry, puff. Special metal flan rings are bottomless so that the ring can be lifted straight up from the cooked tart before serving without disturbing its appearance. The flan can also be made in a tart pan with fluted sides and a removable flat metal disk on the bottom. After it is baked, the flan, supported from underneath by the metal disk, can be pushed up and out of the ring and placed on a serving plate. In both cases, the flan is perfectly formed and freestanding when served. For fruit flans, the fruit and the molded pastry can be cooked separately and then combined, or cut fruit can be arranged in the pastry shell before cooking.