“I went to Sorell Fruit Farm to get a few photographs of the cherry blossoms. Most of the blossoms had already finished, but the first of the strawberries were available for picking. With the lovely fresh, sweet berries, I made this delicious flan with crème patisserie.” Catherine
- 500 g strawberries, hulled
- warmed apricot jam, for glazing
- 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour
- 80 g (½ cup) icing sugar
- 150 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 3-4 tbsp chilled water
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 80 g unsalted butter
- 35 g (¼ cup) cornflour
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 1 hour
Chilling time 4 hours
To make the pastry, whisk the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the water and bring the dough together. Flatten into a disc, then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Roll out the chilled dough to fit a 24 cm greased pie dish, cover with baking paper and baking weights, then bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and paper, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is light golden.
To make the crème patisserie, place the milk in a saucepan and heat over low heat until it is warm but not yet boiling. Whisk the eggs, cornflour and sugar in a bowl. Gradually pour in one-third of the hot milk and whisk together, then pour that back in with the remaining milk. Whisk continuously over low heat until the mixture thickens and just starts to boil. Pour it into a bowl through a sieve. Stir in the vanilla bean paste and the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, allowing it to melt and mix in each time. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cool.
To assemble the flan, fill the pastry shell with the crème patisserie, decorate with the strawberries and brush with warmed apricot jam to glaze (I missed this step because my pastry brush had gone awol!). Refrigerate for a few hours to let set.
Recipe from Island Menu by Samuel Shelley and Catherine Miller, with photographs by Samuel Shelley and Catherine Miller.