This flan is lovely hot or cold, and a crisp pastry eats well the next day.
Fills an 8 inch flan tin
- 230g/8oz plain flour
- 60g/2oz butter
- 60g/2oz lard
- 8 tsp cold water
- 5 small eggs or 3 large eggs
- 285g/10oz creme fraiche
- 2 small bottles of picnic asparagus
- salt and pepper
Rub the fat into seasoned flour until it has the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and fold in with a knife. The secret with short crust paper is to handle it as little as possible. Make into a ball and roll out into a circle (I put the flan tin over the pastry and roll it out to allow for the base and sides).
Place in a greased tin, and shave off any excess and fill in any missing places. Pinch the pastry, index finger between finger and thumb, to provide an attractive edge. Crumple up some aluminium foil and line the tin and hold the pastry down with dried beans or peas. (I have a bottle of beans kept solely for “baking blind.”
Cook at 220°C for 20 minutes and then remove the foil and beans. If the base has a hole, fill with a little spare pastry to avoid the custard seeping under the pastry case, reduce the heat to 190°C and cook for 5 – 10 more minutes, until the pastry starts to become golden and dry.
Put the asparagus points inwards into the centre of the flan. Beat the eggs with the creme fraiche and salt and pepper to season and pour over the asparagus. Cook until the point of a knife in the centre shows the custard has set, about 30 minutes or so. If the custard starts to rise it is a good indication that the flan is cooked. It usually has small bubbles and appears golden.
When cooked put a large plate on top the flan and turn the whole lot over, then put another plate on the base of the flan and reverse the action and the flan will be face upwards.
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