My friend Pauline recently did a post about fruit flan, making a flan with a sponge base using a mould with a raised bottom. You can read about it here.
This set me on a mission, a fruitless (sorry for the pun) quest to find my own old fruit flan tin from the 1970’s. I can picture it still, a pale aluminium tin manufactured specifically to bake the sponge flans that were the height of sophistication at dinner parties and posh Sunday teas back then. Using the recipe from my Homepride Flourgraders’ recipe book I would create many a stunning table centrepiece, using tinned mandarin orange segments, grape halves and Quick Jel.
I have no idea what happened to that tin. I hunted high and low, but it was nowhere to be found. I can’t believe that I took it to the charity shop, less still that I have lost it. How do you lose a cake tin?
Anyway, Lakeland to the rescue, I acquired another one – and was delighted to find that Quick Jel is still readily available in supermarkets.
There is an essential difference between a flan tin and a tart tin. A sponge flan tin has the raised bit in the middle so that a well is formed in the sponge to hold the fruit. A tart tin makes a pastry shell which does the same. Sponge flans seem to have gone out of fashion and I dare say that most people would buy a sponge flan case rather than make their own. I also noticed that they too are still readily available in supermarkets, which suggests that presumably someone must buy them, but I haven’t actually seen one on a menu or served at gatherings for decades.
For this flan I used the Be-Ro book recipe for a whisked sponge, one that has no butter in it, like a Swiss roll sponge. I added a little lemon zest to improve the flavour of it and filled it with some of the raspberries and blueberries that I got last summer from a pick-your-own place and stored in the freezer. And of course the essential Quick Jel.
I was very pleased with it. You can’t beat raspberries for flavour, especially in winter, but even so it was very nice indeed. So nice that I can’t wait for a need to make another one – using mandarin orange segments, grapes and possibly some kiwi slices. Sophisticated or what !!
2 medium eggs
75g caster sugar
75g self raising flour
grated zest of ½ a lemon
fresh, tinned or frozen (thawed) fruit, about a tin or a large punnet should be enough
1 sachet Quick Jel powder (or you could make your own glaze using arrowroot or half a packet of made up jelly)
To make the flan case, preheat the oven to 220°C / 200° fan / gas mk 7. Grease a 20cm flan tin and line the raised up bit of the base with a circle of baking paper (to ensure easy removal of the flan).
Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly, using a hand held electric whisk. Then add the sugar and whisk well for several minutes until pale and thick. Lightly fold in the flour and lemon zest.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 7-9 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Turn out onto a wire rack.
When completely cool, fill with your chosen fruit and top with Quick Jel made up to the packet instructions. Leave in a cool place for at least 30 minutes for the Jel to set. For added retro flair you could pipe cream rosettes using whipped cream around the margin of the fruit when the Jel or glaze has set.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, crème fraîche, or a spoonful of single cream over each slice.