April 22, 2018 — Cake
“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…”
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For the sponge base
1 large ready-made sponge flan base
3 large eggs separated (at room temperature)
80g plain white flour (preferably fine sponge)
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
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
4 tsp arrowroot
150ml single or whipping cream
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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?
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