We were in the supermarket the other week and I spotted the sponge flan cases. I asked hubby whether he could remember having a fruit flan for dessert when he was a kid and we set to wondering whether people use them very much these days.
Yes, I know that with the correct type of tin it is more than possible and even easy to make your own flan case. I accept that and by all means to ahead and do so if that is important to you. It is not, however, sufficiently retro (as we were channelling the "new convenience foods of the 70''s") so it was, of course, inevitable that we'd buy one. Just for nostalgia's sake if nothing else. You understand, I'm sure.
We'd planned to use it for the weekend's dessert, as I try not to make "big production" desserts during the week, when we have just a yoghurt or a fruit mousse.
|Persimmon - or Sharon Fruit|
Coincidentally, in the days prior to the weekend, a box of Persimmon fruit arrived from Ashleigh at Red Communication. It was almost as though it was meant to be - Persimmon being very close to plums, nectarines, that sort of thing, they'd be just perfect for the flan and the honey sweetness of them would be lovely against the tartness of the red berries that we'd planned to use.
A number of the persimmon were slightly bruised from the jostling they'd received on the way to us, but it was an easy matter to just trim out the stem, cut the bruise away and slice them up. The whole fruit is edible - skin and all - and with the red jelly on top, nobody would be any the wiser as to the slightly odd shapes.
I tried pouring it over before it was set, but of course it just soaked into the sponge, so that wasn't any good.
So I consulted my authority on all things retro - my Mum. I felt sure she'd made these flans before in the past - and I was right. "Wait until the jelly is nearly set" was her advice, although tempered with "but it can be a right pain to catch it at the right moment, so don't go off and leave it for hours!". Righto then.
I don't think I managed to "catch it at the right moment" even so - I think the jelly was a bit ahead of the game there. However, it poured onto the flan without any difficulty and spread evenly, if it was a tad bumpy instead of being millpond flat. I think it lent character to the flan. *cough*
A couple of notes for the aspiring flan cook - use tinned fruit that is either in fruit juice or light syrup. Fruit in heavy syrup is just too sweet. Also, if you need to use water to top up your jelly/juice mixture, try using some fizzy mineral water. It adds a subtle fizz to the jelly that is fun on the tongue!
The fruit combinations you can use are endless. I've got a peach and raspberry one planned for next time, as I've still got some raspberries in the freezer. Cherries would be fabulous when they're back in season - can you imagine, cherries with dark chocolate grated over? Maybe a little kirsch in the jelly? Mmmmmn.
So now I know why these flan cases are still in the supermarkets - because they're pretty darned delicious with the right combination of fruit and jelly. I've got two more in the cupboard now. Retro desserts are us!
By the way, did you know, I'm currently a "Baron of Desserts" on Very Good Recipes! Check out the link above, to find all the different dessert recipes.
|Baron of Desserts|
PERSIMMON & RED BERRY FLAN (serves 6 or more)
1 sponge flan case
3 ripe persimmon, stalk removed and sliced into thin wedges
300g tin of mixed berries
135g pack of strawberry jelly cubes.
1. Place the separated jelly cubes into a measuring jug. Pour on 200ml of boiling water and stir until the jelly has dissolved.
2. Add to the jelly the liquid from the tin of mixed berries. If necessary, top up with enough water to 480ml. Set the jelly aside in the fridge to cool and begin to set.
3. Once the jelly has begun to set, arrange the persimmon slices onto the flan base and pile the red berries into the middle. If there is any juice left in the tin, sprinkle it around the persimmon slices.
4. Add the jelly evenly around the fruit and make level.
5. Place into the fridge to allow the jelly to finally set properly.
6. Serve with whipped cream, whilst wearing a polyester trouser suit and listening to the Beatles.