Vanilla and Cardamom-Flavored Flan Tart — Tarte au flan parfumée à la vanille et à la cardamome

tarte flan patissier

Vanilla and Cardamom-Flavored Flan Tart

The rain kept pattering against the windows; I sighed. I had longed to go out for a walk but then, the prospect of getting wet like a cat that’s just taken a bath sounded less than appealing. Not today. Not these days. I knew that bébé would not like it either. “It is not the time to get a cold!” I dreamed that he or she whispered in my ear.

162!” Carol told me after she removed the heart listener from my belly. “Does it sound good?” I asked, with a hint of worry in my voice. I never seem to understand these numbers when it comes to babies.

A large smile lit her gentle face.


That put me in a good mood, despite the rain and the fact that I was feeling somewhat tired. Bébé likes to kick more and more, at night especially, under my right ribcage. I imagine a lot of happiness inside my belly, and even if I am woken up, I don’t mind. It is life within and at each movement it still feels surreal.

We left the doctor’s office, feeling happy and excited.

What are you going to do today?” P. asked when I drove him to work a few minutes later.

Probably work on a few recipes,” I answered, already thinking about the box of root vegetables I had back home. I love this time of year for that reason, when I can eat Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, rutabaga or turnips. Often, these more ancient vegetables are overlooked. They are, however, so delicious and nourishing. And inspiring. For dinner that night, I was planning to gently simmer them with a veal stew.

root vegetables

I think I will also bake something,” I added while P. shut the car door close. “Une tarte au flan, ça te dit ?” (What would you say about a flan tart?)

He smiled back at me. P. always teases me when I ask whether he likes an idea I have. Because even if he does not like it, I follow my thought anyhow.

Of course I like the idea! I don’t even think I’ve eaten one before.

Good! Here you go!

Tarte au flan is a classic French dessert commonly found in pâtisseries or boulangeries everywhere in the country. It’s not a fancy treat, but rather a comforting and rustic one, probably as popular as an éclair or a pain au raisin would be. The flan is generally a vanilla-flavored custard baked on top of a crust (plain, sweet or puffed). I don’t like this tart too sweet, which can often be the case when purchased. Probably because I am not too keen on desserts too sweet, in general. I still remember my friend A.’s reaction after he tried a piece of chocolate cake I baked for dinner, a few months ago. He liked the cake, but told me that he was also used to eating sweeter desserts. It’s quite interesting to observe how one can get accustomed to a specific taste, very sweet or less so.

I started by infusing milk with a vanilla pod cut in halves, and crushed pods of green cardamom. The smell of the mingled spices diffused throughout the entire house, making quickly my mouth start to salivate. “I won’t be able to wait until the tart is cooled before having a taste,” I thought.

Making a tarte au flan is easy, and the rest of the recipe followed naturally: a crust made with quinoa and brown rice flours prepared the day before, eggs beaten with two types of cane sugar for enhanced flavor, and cornstarch to provide texture to the flan. About forty minutes later, a delicious tarte au flan stood right in the middle of the kitchen island. The smell of the baked tart and the spices wafted everywhere in the house, once again.

I looked at the tart and decided to wait. But ten minutes later, as I gently ran my finger on the top of the tart to check its temperature, I changed my mind.

Still somewhat warm,” I thought. “I’ll just cut a tiny slice to taste,” I went on telling myself, as if I was trying to find excuses to justify my impatience to try the tart.

And the first taste worked like magic. Within seconds, my head was filled with memories of the times when, every Wednesday afternoon, I used to stop at the local bakery with my high school friends J. and R. to buy a slice of tarte au flan. J. always chose a millefeuille, and R. an éclair au chocolat: they were the treats we, boarding school girls, had every week.

I cut another slice and made myself a cup of mint tea. Then, I sat down by the window to watch the rain continue to fall, and feel the steady movements of bébé inside my belly.

P. would really enjoy that simple dessert too — I was convinced.

tarte flan patissier

Vanilla and Cardamom-Flavored Flan Tart

For a 10 to 11 inch tart

You need:

  • Pastry Crust (mine was made with quinoa and brown rice flours)
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in halves and seeds scraped out
  • 8 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1/2 cup blond cane sugar
  • 1/4 packed cup light Muscovado sugar


  • Preheat the oven at 400 F.
  • Roll the crust and garnish the mold with it. Make small holes at the bottom with a fork, and keep in the fridge, covered, until ready to use.
  • In the meantime, in a pot, heat the milk with the vanilla seeds and pods, and the cardamom. Once you reach boiling point, stop the heat, cover and let infuse for 20 minutes; filter and keep warm.
  • In a bowl, beat briskly the eggs and egg yolk with the two types of sugar. Add the cornstarch gradually while beating. Mix well.
  • Add the warm milk gradually, never ceasing to beat. Transfer this cream to the pot again and bring to a first boil while stirring. The cream should have thickened.
  • Pour the cream over the crust and level the surface. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Decrease the oven temperature to 350 F and continue to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden in color. Let completely cool — unlike what I did! — before eating.
Le coin français
Tarte au flan parfumée à la vanille et à la cardamome

Pour une tarte de 26 à 28 cm

Ingrédients :

  • 1 pâte brisée (la mienne a été réalisée avec de la farine de quinoa et de la farine de riz complet
  • 2 oeufs + 1 jaune
  • 1 litre de lait entier
  • 90 g de maïzena
  • 1 gousse de vanille, fendue et grattée
  • 8 capsules de cardamome verte, pilées
  • 100 g de sucre de canne blond
  • 30 g de sucre roux de canne Muscovado

Etapes :

  • Préchauffez le four à 200 C.
  • Etalez la pâte et foncez-en le moule à tarte. Piquez le fond avec une fourchette et réservez au frais, à couvert.
  • Pendant ce temps, faites chauffez le lait avec la vanille et la cardamome dans une casserole. Une fois que l’ébullition est atteinte, couvrez, arrêtez le feu et laissez infuser pendant 20 minutes; filtrez et gardez au chaud.
  • Dans une jatte, battez énergiquement les oeufs et le jaune d’oeuf avec les deux sucres, puis ajoutez la maïzena; mélangez bien.
  • Versez le lait en petit filet sans cesser de remuer. Transférez cette crème dans la casserole et remettez sur le feu pour qu’elle épaisisse. Laissez à peine bouillir.
  • Versez la crème sur le fond de tarte et égalisez la surface. Enfournez pendant 10 minutes.
  • Baissez la température à 180 C et poursuivez la cuisson pendant envriron 30 à 35 minutes, jusqu’à ce que le dessus de la tarte soit doré. Laissez la tarte complètement refroidir sur grille.
Posted in Breakfast, Cakes, Dessert, French Inspired, Gluten Free


  1. Cette tarte est un enchantement ,j’aime beaucoup allier la vanille à la cardamome je trouve que ça s’associe à merveille ,merci pour cette fabuleuse recette et ces photos sublimes ,bonne journée !!

  2. Trois cuillères?
    Une pour maman, une pour papa et une pour bébé, c’est ça? ;o)
    Chouette, l’idée de changer un peu la pâte brisée!

  3. i can smell the comforting aromas of vanilla and cardamon from here. just beautiful, warm and so appropriate for this time of year.

  4. Any chance there might be an alternative for cornstarch? Everything else is so lovely…

  5. Now I know what I will bake this week end. Thanks for such an inspiring treat!
    For some reason, I too remember the almost daily trip to the bakery after school, my brother would invariably eat “des lunettes à la confitures”, and I a “chausson aux pommes” or tarte au flan. Something to add to my long list of things to make for my little one.

  6. Of course the tarte au flan looks comforting and irresistible, but what I can’t get over are the blue spoons. Such a mesmerizing shade of cobalt — gorgeous!

  7. I adore your blog and I have been meaning to test out one of your lovely dessert recipes for some time–this mght be the one to start with–looks wonderful! Could you provide a recipe for the pastry crust made with Quinoa and brown rice flour?–I would realy like to try it out.

  8. What a great story, and what beautiful photos… you have me dreaming of a flan tart now! I can practically taste it…

  9. The relaxing moment you described sounds as delicious as the tart! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Béa tu as vraiment le sens du détail ! la cagette assortie aux légumes c’est super chic-issime ! mais je n’en doute pas…

  11. This tart sounds wonderful. I’m a recent convert to cardomom so would love to try this.

  12. Bea, your zest for life and love for cooking is infectious! Thanks for more great recipes and sharing a wonderful story with us. It’s ok if you are feeling a little tired, you are enceinte!

  13. Happy to hear about your baby! Its such a wonderful experience to feel the baby kicking inside even though there are lots of discomforts involved. I had expereienced that twice in my life. The flan looks too good for a rainy day. Take care.

  14. I still remember the feeling when both my kids kicked me…it’s something that only us,women, get the privilege to experience this special moments.
    The flan tart reminds me very much of the Chinese Egg Tarts. They are both delicious. I wonder if there’s a relation between the 2?! Gosh, how I wish I can work for you! LOVE the food u make, and LOVE your photography! 🙂

  15. la grossesse est le moment idéal pour se remémorer des souvenirs d’enfance…pas trop fatiguée ?

    ajouter de la cardamome dans ce flan est une excellente idée je trouve !

  16. I can smell it already! How divine! By the way, I took guidance from your Buche de Noel Coconut recipe… I’ve posted it with reference to you. Please check it out 🙂 Happy Holidays x

  17. Oh Bea! I think you are having a girl! There is an old wives tale that says if the heartbeat is over 150, it’s a girl…this worked for me and all of my friends….I wonder….:) A little girl under your feet in the kitchen, what a wonderful joy that would be !

  18. This flan looks delightful and cardamom is my favourite spice.
    Its true what you say about being used to ceratin tastes. I tend to keep the sugar lower suggested in many recipes and my husband keeps telling me desserts are meant to be sweet.:D

    Nice to know the baby’s doing well. Here, people say that if the baby kicks a lot, its bound to be a boy. So when I was pregnant and had a very active baby inside, many were surprised when we had a baby girl. 😀

  19. MMMMMMmmmm, flan. Bea, your simple storytelling these days fills me with emotion. This baby is going to be a very lucky one indeed. Thank you.

  20. I love that you make so many egg- and cream-based desserts. I have to eat all natural sugar- and gluten- free, so it is very easy to adapt your desserts for to my lifestyle. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photography and eloquent writing!

  21. I do the same thing, ask B. if he is ok with me baking something and he’ll either smile or shake his head because he knows I’ll do it anyway. Irishmen and Tauean French girls…they have to surrender, non?
    One of my favorite bakery treats growing up too. I love the addition of cardamom!
    Glad to hear baby is doing good!

  22. I loved the movements. The life inside. It has been too many years… I am so happy you are enjoying it, it is a special and short time in our lives that we get to carry another life. Sigh. And eat lovely lemon tarts at the same time:). So happy all is well with you.

  23. La tarte au flan qui change de la tarte au flan. J’aime beaucoup ta façon de revisiter les classiques.

  24. What a lovely story and beautiful pictures to match! I love this post, Glad that the baby is doing well 🙂

  25. You are embarking on a magical journey. Congratulations and wishing you all the best. I almost hate to ask, but I’d love to have your quinoa and brown rice crust recipe to go with this lovely creation. I’ve been playing with cardamom lately as well. Muffins, breads, and I can’t wait to try this tart. I can smell it from here.

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  27. Ah.. the sheer elegance of it… I head to France and am eager to have my all time favs and to see family of course… What a journey..

  28. Hi everyone,

    Many thanks for your sweet comments, once again.

    The crust: here is what I did: 1/2 cup sweet rice flour; 1/3 cup quinoa flour; 1/3 cup quinoa flakes; 1/4 cup brown rice flour; 7 cold Tbsp butter; 1/2 tsp salt; 1.5 tsp xantham gum (optional); 4 to 5 Tbsp cold water. Combine all ingredients, starting with dry ingredients with butter, then adding the water as needed. Wrap and chill. Let come back to room temperature before rolling.

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