Where to Find the Best Flan in New York

Photo (and flan) by Le District.

Inherited from the English, who called it a custard tart, in the 14th century, le flan pâtissier has over the years become one of the most famous pastries in France. Made of a shortcrust pastry dough and a solid pastry cream made from eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla, the flan pâtissier is beloved by all true Francophones and Francophile foodies. You may be asking, how is a flan different from a flan pâtissier? Like quiche, there are many kinds of ways to make flan, but the dessert kind, with only the aforementioned ingredients inside, is a flan pâtissier. Here’s where to find seven delicious flan pâtissier in New York.

1. Miss Madeleine

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For a traditional flan pâtissier the way it’s made in France, head to Miss Madeleine, the small bakery of Peggy and Gérald Huteau located on the Upper East Side. “It’s my grandmother’s recipe that I learned in Brittany,” explains Peggy. For the baker, a good flan pâtissier should be made “with real butter and without additives or preservatives.” It’s $4.50 per (very) generous portion, available all year round in stores or by order on their website. — 400 E 82nd St, (646) 896-1227

2. Epicerie Boulud

The bakery of the famous French chef Daniel Boulud, Epicerie Boulud, serves a delicious flan pâtissier with a good vanilla taste. Its texture is different than expected, with a rather soft pastry cream, but it goes perfectly with its crispy shortcrust pastry. It’s $6 for the huge slice that can easily be shared with a friend. Available only in the fall and winter at one of their three locations in Manhattan. — Epicerie Boulud Lincoln Center, 1900 Broadway, (212) 595-9606; Epicerie Boulud World Trade Center, 185 Greenwich St LL 4000, (212) 595-9605; Epicerie Boulud The Plaza Food Hall, 1 W 59th St, (212) 933-5330.

3. Eclair Bakery

Photo: Maxime Aubin

Unlike the other flans on this list, Eclair Bakery‘s flan pâtissier comes in the form of a small individual size. As a result, it contains more shortcrust and less pastry cream, which gives the whole thing a light and more balanced look and feel. It’s $5.75 per tarte in this Midtown East bakery. — 305 E 53rd St, (212) 371-3459.

4. Cannelle Pâtisserie

Cannelle Pâtisserie has taken on the challenge of originality. The bakery, which has two establishments, in Jackson Heights and Long Island City in Queens, offers a flan cut into rectangular portions made more unique with a puff pastry and a passion fruit filling (also available in cherry). We strongly recommend this fruity flan at $3.50 per slice. — Cannelle LIC, 5-11 47th Ave, (718) 937-8500; Cannelle Patisserie, 7559 31st Ave, (718) 565-6200.

5. Financier Pâtisserie

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For 17 years now, Financier Pâtisserie has been making the same flan in New York “based on a traditional recipe learned in Paris in 1974,” explains bakery chef Eric Bedoucha. The flan, cut into rectangles, will cost you $4.25. Available at one of the chain’s five bakeries in Manhattan. — 62 Stone St, (212) 344-5600; 35 Cedar St @ 10 Liberty Plaza, (212) 952-3838; 87 E. 42 St, (212) 973-1010); 245 Park Ave, (212) 687-9000; 115 Broad St Level C1 (at 4 NY Plaza), (718) 290-1011 

6. Le District

 

You will also find a flan pâtissier in Le District, prepared by the head baker of Financier Pâtisserie. You’ll pay $5.25 for a piece. — 225 Liberty Street, (212) 981-8588.

7. Joey Bats Café

Besides England, Portugal also has its version of flan pâtissier. Called “pastel de nata,” this pastry takes the form of a small individually-sized puff pastry tartlet filled with pastry cream. They can be found in New York City at the Joey Bats Café on the Lower East Side. It’s $3 per individual tartlet. — 127 Allen St, (212) 519-2289.