Strawberry Flan

  • Time: 1 - 2 hours plus setting time
  • Serves: 8
  • Level: medium

“This Strawberry Flan was served with the coffee and I was surprised that the base was homemade. So I found my own special sponge tin, did some translating and started baking. There are many quick cheats for this recipe which means it can be knocked up in no time. Or there is the full WDC method which will take a little longer…”

This is based on an Erdbeer-Biskuit-Kuchen recipe from a German fruit flan cookbook. I was given the book during a recent trip to Germany by our hosts during 'Kaffee und Kuchen' (traditional coffee and cake social just after lunch).

What you need

For the sponge base

1 large ready-made sponge flan base


3 large eggs separated (at room temperature)

100g sugar

80g plain white flour (preferably fine sponge)

20g cornflour

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbs hot water

Softened butter for the flan tin

For the base syrup (optional)

2 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs caster sugar

1 tbs water

For a cream filling

150ml double cream

2 tsp icing sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla

For a crème pâtissière filling

500ml full-fat UHT milk

1 whole large egg

4 egg yolks

100g sugar

50g cornflour

1 tsp vanilla

25g unsalted butter

2 tbs double cream

For the topping

500g strawberries or other summer berries

For a gelatin glaze

500ml red fruit or berry drink

1 tbs redcurrant jelly

1/2 sachet powdered gelatin

For an arrowroot glaze

500ml red fruit or berry drink

1 tbs redcurrant jelly

4 tsp arrowroot

To serve

150ml single or whipping cream

Dad's Recipe Tales

We were invited to ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ (coffee and cake) in Görlitz Germany. Presented, along with the coffee, was a familiar-looking strawberry flan. I was fascinated by the sponge base. It was light and airy – not heavy at all like English ‘sponge’. It then occurred that our host may have made the sponge. I asked and the host’s expression of  why, yes, of course, was priceless… In England we wouldn’t think of making our own fluted sponge bases. If we make a fruit flan it would normally made from a sweet  pastry base – otherwise a ready-made sponge base would be bought from the supermarket.

But there was something else going on. The flan – and indeed the classic plum kuchen served as well, were not very sweet – certainly not to an English palate. But of course, light cakes make complete sense when served at 2 pm in the afternoon – there’s a fighting chance the appetite will recover for supper.

Okay, maybe this story does not amount to much – but it was a revelation for me that cooks of Germany think nothing of making a a very complicated-looking sponge base or that they would not make a cake sweet. I’m all for it. Kaffe und Kuchen anybody?

You also might be interested in Dad’s Mexican Chocolate Flan with Chilli!

How Dad Cooked It

  1. If making the sponge base. Preheat the oven to 190C, Gas 5. Butter the inside surfaces of a 28cm fluted flan tin (or continental-style raised base fluted flan tin), using a pastry brush, cover the surfaces liberally with butter. Beat the whites in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Beat to the soft peak stage, then add one third of the sugar and continue beating until the whites form stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, combine the yolks with the remaining sugar and vanilla, beat for two minutes then add the hot water (not boiling) and continue beating until the mixture forms a light smooth foam. Sieve the flour and cornflour. You are now ready to mix the sponge. Ensure the tin is ready and the oven hot. Add the whites and flour to the yolk mixture alternating in three stages, folding carefully after each stage. Aim to maintain maximum volume, whilst also ensuring a light and smooth mixture. Spread the mixture onto the tin and level. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-15minutes or until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly, then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack. For the syrup (if using) heat the sugar and the water until the sugar has dissolved, cool and stir in the lemon juice. Brush over the top of the flan base and then refrigerate the sponge.
  2. If making a cream filling. Beat the cream to soft peaks, add the sugar and vanilla and beat briefly to mix. Spread on the top of the sponge and refrigerate to set.
  3. If making the crème pâtissière. Combine the sugar, cornflour, vanilla, egg and yolks and beat until mixed. Heat the milk in a pan until hot but not boiling. Slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently. Stir continuously until thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and cream. Leave to cool. Spread on the top of the sponge and refrigerate to set.
  4. Arrange the fruit. Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut in half and arrange on the top of the filling on the flan base.
  5. If making a gelatin glaze. Put the juice in a pan and add the jelly. Bring to a boil and reduce to make 300ml. Take off the heat a cool slightly. Add the gelatin and whisk gently until dissolved. leave to cool completely and then put in the refrigerator until thickened but still at a pouring consistency. Pour over the fruit to make a glaze coating. Refrigerate to set.
  6. If making an arrowroot glaze. Put the juice in a pan and add the jelly. Bring to a boil and reduce to make 300ml. Take off the heat and cool. In a mug or glass make a slurry with the arrowroot and a tablespoon or two of fresh juice. Add this to the cooled and reduced fruit juice and whisk. Heat the juice gently until thickened, do not boil or continue cooking. Allow to cool and then pour over the fruit to make a glaze coating. Refrigerate to set.
  7. Serve. Whip the cream to soft peaks and spoon onto the side of cut pieces or serve with pouring cream.

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