Flan Patissier at Francois Payard Bakery
Flan Patissier (center) is one of three custard-based, flan-borne pastries currently available at Francois Payard Bakery on Houston Street.
When former Daniel pastry chef Francois Payard abandoned his long-running bistro and bakery on the Upper East Side and eventually moved down to Greenwich Village, he abandoned some of his more elaborate creations, and added newer, earthier ones.
Flan patissiere in its handsome box
One of the things he kept was a Parisian staple, flan patissier ("pastry chef's flan"), an intentionally thick and supremely flaky pie crust filled with some of the richest, eggiest custard you've ever tasted. Reflecting its ostensible origins in the bakeries of the City of Lights, it's alternatively known as flan Parisien. Sometimes it comes studded with extra ingredients such as raisins, prunes, or dried apricots, for a little extra sweetness.
This is not to be confused with the type of flan you often find in bistros known as creme caramel. Flan patissier has starches like flour or cornstarch added to the custard to enhance the density. You can turn a slice of flan patissier upside down and the filling won't fly out. Don't try that with creme caramel.
Payard's version has slivered almonds baked into the top.
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