Mission to Find the Best and Worst Flan Pastries in Paris
Thank you to Clotilde at Zucchini and Chocolate who recommended a blog I'll read often. Her friend Louise writes Raids-Pâtisseries and her goal is to ‘raid' pastry shops and perform secret taste tests on a specific kind of pastry, awarding five stars to the best and revealing the worst in a dramatically honest way. Completely after my own heart and Vive la France and this great nation of food police!
What we love about their mission is so quintessentially French: maintaining the highest standards for pastry-making in the world. Written in French, it's easy to follow and you'll enjoy the subtle touches of serious ‘foodiness'. Recently, Louise and loyal friend Anne-Valérie tasted 15 flan tartes in Paris and came out with some astonishing results.
I enjoy flan as a ‘comfort pastry', ideal on cold winter days while taking long walks along windy Parisian streets. My daughter Alexia always chose flans for dessert after her visit to our French orthodontist because they're easy on sore teeth!
I always considered flans somewhat bland, but was amazed to learn good flan-making is indeed an art. Louise ranked from 5 stars down to only 1. (5 étoiles = parfait, 1 étoile = immangeable). You'll smile at the dramatic but serious comments such as “A flan that was killed by its Pastry'
And the winner is…… Frédéric Lalos at Le Quartier du Pain!
First prize went to Frédéric Lalos at Le Quartier du Pain with boutiques in the 14th, 15th and the 17th arrondissements. Love their description of the winning flan: ‘Le Quartier du Pain brushes against the sublime combining the scent of vanilla and the fresh taste of egg. The pâte feuilletée est nicely crispy and the topping is melt-in-your-mouth. A gift… ‘
Second Prize was awarded to……Arnaud Delmontel
Arnaud Delmontel: (5 stars) located on rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement. ‘A beautiful flan, creamy and crusty at the same time…'
Lenotre only won 3 stars for their flan tarte
Now for the Rest….
Diplomatic but brutally honest and detailed, points were awarded or deducted for areas I didn't even realize existed: the flakiness of the pastry, color, taste of vanilla, subtlety of the taste of egg yolk and flan texture. Hope you enjoy the comments below.
L'Ecureuil (1 star) located in the 7th arrondissement
On the subject of the last flan, words escape us. We are astonished that a Pâtisserie as prestigious as this one, with such a warm welcome et run by the former master pastry hef of Potel could make such an inedible flan! Was it an accident and I bought it on the wrong day? In short, the pastry shell was completely soggy, the flan filling tasted burnt and literally the topping was like a piece of plastic. ‘Nous tombons de haut.' ‘We fall from high, meaning we are devastated.'
L'Autre Boulange (4 stars) located in the 11th arrondissement
A good flan, the texture is perfect (creamy and a little sticky) but the pastry is too soft. The taste of egg yolk too strong.
Poilâne: (2 stars) tasted in the 15th arrondissement but located throughout Paris
A mat aspect rather than shiny. The pastry is well cooked and tasty. On the other hand, the filling is a little gelatinous, a little stiff and dry.
Eric Kayser (2 stars) located throughout Paris
A flan that was killed by its pastry… A nice square form, little black grains of powdered vanilla, but a too-soft crust, topping way too sweet and a somewhat chemical taste (did they use powdered eggs?). Creamy texture though…
Cohier (2 stars) located in the 8th arrondissement on Faubourg St . Honore
“A flan to look at but not eat… very pretty to look at, but gelatinous and little flavor”
Pierre Hermé (4 stars) 15th arrondissement and throughout Paris
” This self proclaimed ‘the flan-lovers' flan', this tarte almost kept its promise. Shiny and beautifully cooked, exceptional smoothness with a good taste of vanilla and eggwhites. On the other hand, it's too sweet.”
Fleur d'Oranger (3 stars) located in the 17th arrondissement
A cake that was slightly over cooked, that should have been torn apart before eating it. The pastry is not very tasty (where is the butter ?) and once the the burnt taste is removed, it's easy to eat, although too much taste of egg (abuse of egg powder ?).