This is one of the most unhealthy dishes I know. It is, however, also completely delicious. I suggest serving the flan with a healthy salad and keeping slices somewhat small. Because this is such a popular dish back home, there are lots of different recipes. I found one by Per Moberg that was both delicious and straight-forward.
Back home, this cheese flan is made with Västerbotten, a cheese not 100 miles from Cheddar in flavour (don’t tell anyone I said that. It’s totally unique, of course). In the UK, I use a well-matured Cheddar, or a mixture of whatever cheeses I have in the freezer or fridge. The one in the picture is made with left-over Stilton and the last of the Christmas Cheddar.
It’s really easy, comes together quickly and looks impressive. It’s good cold as well as hot and lukewarm, and leftovers make a great lunch. If you don’t want to make pastry, use bought short-crust – just make sure it’s not sweet.
Serves: 8-12. Prep: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes.
Stores: For up to three days in the fridge.
- 100 grams butter
- 100 grams plain flour
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 200 grams cheese
- 200 ml milk or cream (soya milk works fine)
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Stick blender with mixer attachment
- 1 bowl (or two, if you don’t have a stick blender with a mixer attachment
- Plastic wrap
- Grater (if not using grated cheese)
- Pie dish, 23 cm, ideally with removable bottom
Make the pastry:
- Weigh out the butter into the stick blender mixer attachment (or bowl).
- Weigh out the flour into the stick blender mixer attachment (or bowl).
- Blend until you get a grainy texture (a few minutes on full). If using a bowl, use your hands to mix the flour and butter.
- Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, to make a fairly sticky mixture.
- Spoon out onto plastic wrap, wrap up and stick in the fridge for half an hour.
- Turn on the oven to pre-heat it to 200C (180C for fan-assisted ovens).
- When the dough is rested, take it out of the fridge, unwrap it and place it in the pie dish. Don’t try to roll this pastry! It won’t work.
- Flatten the pastry using your fingers, squishing/smearing it into an equal layer across the base and about 3 cm up the side. It doesn’t have to be tidy.
- Pre-bake for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about blind baking with grease-proof paper and ceramic beans – when I tried that, the base stuck to the paper in a most hideous mess. When I didn’t, the sides collapsed, but that doesn’t matter, because the filling doesn’t need a very deep shell. If you do blind bake, and you lose some of the bottom, don’t worry, it will still work.
- Take out and let cool.
Make the filling:
- Grate the cheese and put into a bowl.
- Add the eggs and milk and whisk together with the fork.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. (If you don’t want to taste raw egg, go with 3 or 4 turns of the pepper mill and a small pinch of salt. Cheese is salty, so you don’t need to add much, if any.)
Bring the two together:
- Pour the filling into the pie case.
- Put into the oven for 35 minutes.
- It’s ready when it is golden and set.
- Blue cheese: Use only blue cheese. The flan still comes out golden, not blue. It’s a sadness.
- Add mushrooms: Fry 100 grams of mushrooms in a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle over the base of the case before adding the cheese mixture.
- Add chives: Finely chop a good handful of chives and add to the cheese mixture. It adds a bit of kick and makes the flan a little less heavy.