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Puff pastry topped with creme patissiere and strawberries
To make the creme patissiere:
Place milk in a saucepan on a low heat, bring to just below simmer. DO NOT BOIL.
Beat together yolks and sugar until creamy.
Add cornflour and gradually whisk in the scalded milk.
Return to low heat and stir until thickened.
Add brandy, butter and cream.
(Sieve to remove lumps if necessary.)
Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
Preheat oven to 200DegC.
Line a baking sheet with parchment/baking paper.
Place 1 sheet of puff pastry on the paper.
Neatly trim all four sides with a sharp knife (this aids leavening)
Cut the remaining sheet into 2cm wide strips.
Carefully brush a little beaten egg on the four sides of first pastry sheet.
Starting just in from a corner, working quickly, create a collar of puff pastry using the strips of cut puff pastry, sticking approx 1cm width to the 'base about 2mm in from each edge of the base'.
Line with parchment paper and pie beads (or rice/beans) blind bake for approx. 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven, remove beads and paper, return to oven for further 5-10 minutes until pastry has risen and is lightly browned.
Allow to cool thoroughly.
Spoon in chilled creme patissiere and smooth with a spatula.
Hull and halve the strawberries and arrange on top, starting in the centre and working out towards the sides of the flan.
Mix the apricot jam and boiling water together and put through a sieve to remove any lumps.
Glaze the pastry and fruit.
Serve with ice cream or double cream for an added indulgence!
Canned or bottled stone fruits also work well - apricots, peaches, cherries.
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