This is for the lovers of pie and crème brulee, and while it may feel like a bit of a project, each component can be made a few days ahead of time and baked together the morning before serving. Don't’ skimp on the dairy here - use full fat milk and the best you can find (hint: we used Straus’s whole milk and cream). Bon appetit!
8 or 9 x 2" cake pan (you can also use a springform pan)
PATE BRISEE (flaky pie dough)
2cupsall purpose flour240 g
2Tbspsgranulated sugar24 g
8ozcold butter224 g
½cupvery cold water
3 ¼cupswhole milk750 g
2 1/3cupsgranulated sugar250 g
1vanilla beansplit and seeded
1cupheavy cream240 g
Cake pan lined with flaky dough
3ouncesmelted milk or dark chocolate
PATE BRISEE (flaky pie dough)
If using a food processor, pulse your dry ingredients for a few seconds. If you’re doing this by hand, simply mix them to disperse the salt and sugar well.
Add your butter and pulse until you no longer hear the large chunks bouncing around. This should take between 10-12 quick pulses. If doing this by hand, use your fingers to rub the cold butter into the flour or a pastry cutter to cut the butter pieces into the flour.
Once the butter has formed pebble-sized pieces (about the size of your pinky fingernail), add the water.
Pour into the food processor as you pulse, just until the dough starts to come together in clumps. If doing this by hand, pour the water in and using your hands as large scoops, gather and incorporate the water to create a shaggy dough. You may need to use an extra few tablespoons of water, as your hands will absorb some of the water.
Gather the dough into a flat disc, cover and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your pan. On a well-floured surface, begin to roll out your dough, turning it a quarter turn with every pass of the rolling pin until you get a thin, 12” circle (you will have a bit more dough than you need- make hand pies)!
Using your rolling pin, lift the dough and place it gently into your cake pan.
Freeze this while you make your custard.
Place the milk in a heavy bottom sauce-pot.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, yolks and egg.
Warm the milk until it hurts when you touch it, then turn the heat off.
Slowly, while whisking the egg mixture, pour the milk over the eggs. Once you’ve added all the milk, return the whisk to the pot and whisk while you pour the mixture back into the pot.
Turn the heat to medium low and whisk, continuously, until it thickens dramatically.
Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and whisk in the cold heavy cream.
Place in the fridge or freezer until chilled.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Remove the cake pan lined with dough from the freezer.
Trim the edges and prick the bottom with a fork.
Pour melted chocolate over the bottom and wait a moment for it to set.
Pour the custard over the chocolate and place it in the oven, turning the oven down to 350°F after 10 minutes. The flan will take anywhere from 50 minutes to one hour to bake, or until it just wiggles in the center without feeling wet.
Let the flan rest at room temperature for an hour or so and chill for at least three hours.
Sprinkle the top with sugar and torch or place under broiler until it begins to melt and caramelize.