Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Flan au Lait - Swiss Custard Pie

Adapted from Chef Xavier Sauvaget, Hotel Victoria, Glan.  This luscious dessert is one I could eat once a week – I love the combination of crubly sweet dough and rich custard filling.

Makes one 10-inch straight-sided pie

Sweet Pastry Dough

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 10 pieces

2 large eggs, cold

Custard Filling

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

8 large eggs

1 cup milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

One 10-inch round pan, 2 inches deep, buttered

  1. For the dough, combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times to finely mix in the butter. Add the eggs and pulse again until the dough forms a ball. Invert the dough to a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in it plastic. Chill the dough while preparing the filling. You may prepare the dough up to 2 days before assembling and baking the tart.
  2. When you are ready to bake the tart, set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and knead it lightly on a floured work surface, until it is smooth and malleable and no longer hard. Shape the dough into a disk, flour it and roll it to a 14-inch disk. Fold the dough in quarters and drape it into the pan, lining up the point with the center of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and press it well into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim away the excess dough at the top edge with a bench scraper or the back of a knife. Chill the crust while preparing the filling.
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar and flour and stir with a whisk to mix. Whisk in the eggs, 2 at a time, whisking smooth after each addition. Whisk in the milk, followed by the cream and vanilla.
  5. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Bake the tart for about 1 hour, or until the filling is set and the crust is golden. Cool the tart on a rack and chill it before unmolding and serving.
  6. To unmold the tart, warm the bottom of the pan over low heat for a few seconds. Place a flat plate or cardboard round on the tart and invert. Remove the pan and replace it with a platter. Invert again with the tart between the 2 plates and remove the top plate. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you intend to serve the tart.

NOTE: If the top of the tart cracks while cooling, spread with 1/2 cup cream whipped with a little sugar and vanilla right before serving.