This Fresh Fruit Meyer Lemon Flan is deliciously light and refreshing with bright citrus, sweet berries, and tropical kiwi. Guava glaze lends an extra subtle touch of ambrosial luster.
It has been repeatedly brought to my attention, especially by my kids and mom, that after thirty posts Give it Some Thyme has a gaping hole – Dessert. I couldn’t agree more! As Easter approaches and spring continues to blossom, it’s the perfect time to share a decades-old family recipe of a beautiful and timeless German fruit flan.
Classic French fruit tarts are made with a shortbread crust and some variation of pastry cream underneath the fruit. This traditional German version uses a light, spongy six-ingredient cake laced with lemon as the fruit’s canvas. It’s pillowy texture and bright flavor complement the fruits’ freshness without dominating the dish.This recipe was given to my mother by a dear friend of hers back when I was in elementary school. I think every mom in the PTA at the time has a yellowed index card of this recipe floating around somewhere.
If you’re not already familiar, you may be wondering what a Meyer lemon is. Have no fear. They’re wonderful. Meyer lemons are native to China, and are a cross between a regular lemon and either a mandarin or common orange. In terms of looks, they resemble true lemons, but are a tad rounder and have a deeper yellow rind with an orange tint. When it comes to taste, they’re sweeter and less acidic with a darker yellow pulp and have less seeds than typical lemons. The original recipe doesn’t call for Meyer lemons, but felt they fit in perfectly with this flan. You can always use a regular lemon as well.
We often think of flan as a Spanish or French custard. However the traditional German flan is an open, rimmed spongecake. It’s a delicate yet firm enough base to hold the fruit without becoming a pop-tart. The classic, easy technique begins with separating the eggs, and focusing on the yolks first. Whip them with the lemon zest, juice, and sugar until pale yellow and thick. You’ll beat the egg whites separately, then gently fold them into the egg yolk mixture. You should have a light, fluffy batter as shown below on the right.
Transfer the batter into a lightly greased tart pan with a removable bottom placed on a rimmed baking sheet. This ensures any leakage won’t land on the bottom of your oven!
The Design and Glaze
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack before loosening and carefully transferring it to a serving plate. Next, let the decorating juices flow! This design started from the outside edge and worked toward the center. Feel free to use a variety of other fruit as well – blackberries, grapes, pineapple, mango, plums, nectarines, you name it! The possibilities are endless!!
When satisfied with your design, seal the fruit with a glaze and make the flan shine. The glaze consists of just a light-colored, smooth jelly (guava, apple, or peach) and cornstarch. Simmer for a few minutes so it’s warm and fluid when brushing on the fruit. Use just enough to coat, rather than saturate. Let the flan set in the fridge at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours. A note of caution, avoid covering with plastic wrap! It sticks and will mess up your masterpiece. I actually use a large bowl to create a dome. Works like a charm! When ready, serve with dollops of whipped cream, or ala mode!!
A few other Easter brunch ideas include our Cheesy Veggie and Ham Brunch Casserole, Sweet Potato Hash with Avocado Crema, and Asparagus and Mushroom Tarts with Goat Cheese and Tarragon. Enjoy!!
- 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- ¼ cup sugar
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup light-colored jelly (guava, apple, peach)
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 12 ounces strawberries, stemmed and sliced
- 4 ounces blueberries
- 4 ounces raspberries
- 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
- 1-2 Cara Cara oranges, half-moon slices, peel and pith removed
- 11- inch tart pan with removable bottom
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease tart pan with removable bottom and place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar, lemon zest and juice until thick and light, 3-4 minutes. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir into egg yolk mixture until combined. With clean beaters, in a medium bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into egg yolk mixture with a spatula. Pour batter into prepared tart pan. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Set aside to cool before topping with fruit.
While the tart cools, in a small saucepan, bring jelly and cornstarch to a slow simmer. Let simmer 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened and fluid. Keep warm until ready to use. Glaze should brush on fruit smoothly.
Arrange various fruits as desired. Ingredients listed are what I used. If you like this design, start from the outside and work your way toward the center. When satisfied, brush just enough of the glaze over the fruit for a shiny look. Too much glaze will make the flan heavy and soggy. Refrigerate uncovered 30 minutes before serving. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover with a large bowl or tent with foil and chill. Do not use plastic wrap. It will stick!)