Fruit Flan

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I like winter. Or should I say that I like winter when it is not -1000 outside. I love being out and spending energy while playing in the snow. It took me many years but I have made peace with the cold. And we can all admit there is something comforting about being stuck inside on a stormy day, sipping tea, and reading in a big blanket.

What I find hard to do is eat healthy during those months. Salad has as much appeal to me as a hot spicy soup during a humid summer day. On top of that, my sugar-tooth somehow seems to be out of control during winter, making sure my body stocks as many calories as possible every day to keep me from freezing. Or anyways, this is how it feels.

I was overdue for a light fruity dessert.

It feels like my pastry chef thought the same as me because this week he made us do fruit flan, which is basically a fluffy and bubbly cake, yet not too spongy, layered with vanilla pudding and fruits, covered with fruit glaze.

You can use any fruits you have at your disposal, put the glaze of your choice and make as many layers as you want. I chose to keep this cake at 2 layers, but feel free to make it bigger or to drizzle it with chocolate!

There are many steps and mixes to do, I have to admit. But if you love baking, this is a great recipe that is fairly easy to do. You just have to make some time to do it.

The cake

You will need:
255 grams of cake flour
255 grams of sugar
10 grams of baking powder
A pinch of salt
170 grams of butter, room temperature
135 ml of milk
95 ml of egg white
2 eggs
10 ml of vanilla extract

In a big bowl, beat the butter with a mixer until it is soft and creamy.

In a second bowl, mix together the milk, egg whites, eggs and the vanilla.

In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients and half of the liquid to the butter in 4 batches, beating well between each addition with the mixer on medium-high.

Add the remaining liquid in 3 batches, mixing well between each addition.

Once everything is well incorporated, keep the mixer on medium speed for about 5 minutes.

Divide the batter between 2 greased and floured cake pans and bake at 375F for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Let the cakes cool, then take them out of the pan.

Vanilla Pudding

You will need:
285 ml of milk
70 grams of sugar
30 grams of cornstarch
Another 50 ml of milk
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
One teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a saucepan over low heat, bring 285 ml of milk with 35 grams of sugar to a boil. DO NOT BOIL.

In a bowl, mix together the rest of the sugar with the cornstarch.

In a third bowl, whisk 50 ml of milk with the egg, salt and the vanilla.

Add half of the hot milk and sugar to the egg mixture, whisking constantly.

Then add to this mix the sugar and cornstarch, never stopping whisking.

Pour the mix back into the saucepan where the remaining of the milk still is and put the saucepan back on the heat.

Whisk the pudding until it starts getting thick and then transfer it to a clean bowl. Cover the pudding and refrigerate it until it is cool.

Making the cake, step-by-step:

Cut your cake into two layers (horizontally).

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Put some vanilla pudding on the top of the bottom layer.

Layer some fruits on the pudding.

Cover with the second half of the cake.

Spread vanilla pudding on top and on the sides.

Place fruits on top. You can also cover the sides with sliced almonds.

*I have covered the fruits with an apricot glaze. I have also brushed each cake with homemade fruit syrup.

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