Sunday, 29 April 2012

Plum, Almond & Pear Flan

This is the most gorgeous flan, cinnamon laced plums and pears nestling in a plump almond batter. Perfect for an idle baker, it looks much more work than it really is. By baking this as a flan, rather than a tart, you cut out all the fussy pastry making and introduce a delicious biscuit base that adds a satisfying depth and crunch to the taste. It's also one of those puddings that can be made in advance, and brought out to much acclaim when it's time to eat, leaving you free to relax and enjoy yourself rather than slaving over a hot oven.

Adapt this recipe to accomodate whatever fruit you have in the house, using plums or pears alone if you like. If I'd had them I'd have added more plums, as they taste particularly good and look stunning against the almond filling.

Adapted from the one online that I printed out years ago, and can't find on the web now
Serves 8-10

for the flan base:
200g digestive biscuits, crushed
85g butter, chopped small

1. To crush the biscuits, seal them in a plastic bag and hit them with a rolling pin. Then place the crushed biscuits on the weighing scales to measure out the right amount.

2. Gently melt the butter over a low heat, before stirring the crushed biscuits into the pan and stirring until they're well combined.

3. Press the mixture into a 9 to 12 inch tart case with a removable base, as you would for a cheesecake.

for the filling:
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
85g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
2 or 3 drops of almond extract
4 or more large plums, halved and cored
1 pear, halved and cored (and peeled if you wish)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
vanilla sugar, to sprinkle
2 tablespoons red or purple plum jam
3 handfuls flaked almonds, toasted

4. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl for approx 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

5. Beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the drops of almond extract.

6. Next add the flour, milk and ground almonds, mixing well until smooth.

7. Pour the filling over the biscuit base in the tin, and smooth it down.

8. Roll the fruit in the cinnamon on a plate, before placing the plums and pears into the filling. You can either chop them finely and arrange them in concentric circles, or for a more rustic flan like mine you simply place the fruit halves into the filling, pressing them into the batter.

9.  Sprinkle a little vanilla sugar ontop, and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the filling looks pale golden and bounces back under your thumb.

10. Take out of the oven and leave to cool a little, before taking out of the tin.

11. While the flan cools, warm a couple of spoonfuls of plum jam over a low heat and then strain through a sieve. Brush the flan with the strained jam juice, before scattering with flaked almonds.
I didn't bother, but you could also sift a little icing sugar over the flan if you like.

12. Serve warm or cold, with creme fraiche or cream.

This flan was idly baked while listening to London Calling by The Clash