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Fennel & Mushroom Flan

Serves 4

By Ann Richardson

It is best to make the pastry case and filling the day before you need them to allow for cooling.

Pastry Ingredients

This is a shortcrust pastry, made with 4 oz (225gms) plain flour and 4oz (225gms) wholemeal spelt flour. You can use all plain flour but the spelt flour gives a crisper pastry.

4oz (225gms) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature.

The yolk of one egg.

2 tablespoons of cold water.

Small pinch of salt.

Method - To make Pastry Case

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

Put all of the ingredients into a food mixer and mix until it forms a ball.

Let the pastry rest for 30 minutes, then roll out to fit a 20cm diameter flan dish, trim the edges, prick the base all over with a fork, line with baking parchment and fill with rice or baking beans to weight it down.

Put in the middle of oven and bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to

180 degrees C and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is set but not browning. Remove the parchment paper and rice/beans.

Allow to go cold.

Filling Ingredients

A small block of goat's cheese, grated.

Enough thinly sliced chestnut mushrooms to nearly fill the pastry case.

1 Fennel bulb, topped, tailed and thinly sliced.

About 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche.

1 medium onion, thinly sliced.

1 or 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs (optional).

Salt & pepper (to taste).

Knob of butter or 2 tablespoons of oil.

Method - To make Filling

Gently fry the onions and fennel in the oil/butter.

Add the sliced mushrooms and continue frying for a couple of minutes or so until the mushrooms are cooked through. Turn off the heat.

Add the crème fraiche and stir until it melts, then add the salt and pepper.

Allow to go cold (to prevent the pastry going 'soggy').

Fill the pastry case with the cold mixture, cover the top with the grated goat's cheese and put under a moderate grill until the cheese begins to brown.

Serve hot or cold with salad or vegetables.