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Savory French Flan.jpg
Course Main course or Dessert or Snack
Serving temperature Cold
Main ingredients pastry, custard (sweet flans), vegetables (savoury flans)
Cookbook: Flan  Media: Flan

A flan (UK English) is an open, rimmed, pastry or sponge base, containing a sweet or savoury filling. Examples are the quiche lorraine, custard tart, and the South African melktert.

British savoury flans may have diverged from the Spanish and French custard flans (also known as crème caramel) in the Middle Ages.[citation needed]


Flan is known in Roman cuisine, it was often a savory dish, as in "eel flan"; sweet flans, made with honey and pepper, were also enjoyed.[citation needed]

In the Middle Ages, both sweet and savory flans (almonds, cinnamon & sugar; cheese, curd, spinach, fish) were very popular in Europe, especially during Lent, when meat was forbidden. According to Platina's De Honesta Voluptate [On Right Pleasure and Good Health], an Italian cookery text published in approximately 1475, custard-type dishes were considered health food; in addition to being nourishing, they were thought to soothe the chest, aid the kidneys and liver, increase fertility, and eliminate certain vaginal urinary problems. Caramel evolved in France.[1]


The English word "flan", and the earlier forms "flaune" and "flawn", come from the Old French flaon (modern French flan), in turn from the early Medieval Latin fladōn-em, derived from the Old High German flado, a sort of flat cake, probably from an Indo-European root for "flat" or "broad".[2]

See also[edit]