Maxim’s Flan de Carrotes

Maxim’s Flan de Carrotes
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Maxim's Flan de Carrotes
Not for everyday!

Well, the original title for this recipe is Maxim’s Flan de Carrotes, which sounds fancy. Really fancy. Something right out of an old-style French restaurant, and, in fact, that’s what Maxim’s restaurant in Chicago was in the 1960s and 1970s. Those days are long gone, but, thanks to the power of scratchin’ and Jaya Saxena’s compilation, Lost Recipes, you can try Flan de Carrotes.

Now, we didn’t make quite the original recipe. Instead of the pastry crust suggested, we made our standard Pâte Brisée, which we find to be the perfect crust. Plus, we didn’t make a whole 9-inch tart; instead, we went with four individual tartlets, which works better for the two of us (the photos will reflect that). If you do go for individual tartlets, you can cut the amount of carrot filling in half.

Maxim’s Flan de Carrotes

Yield: 8 servings

Maxim’s Flan de Carrotes


  • 1 Pâte Brisée, chilled and ready to roll
  • 1 3/4 carrots, peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll out crust and fit into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Line the pan with parchment and cover with pie weights.

Bake 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment and bake another 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let crust cool. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, cut carrots into thin slices. Simmer 1/2 cup carrots in about an inch of salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine remaining carrots, a pinch of salt, sugar, 1/2 cup water, half the butter (1 stick), and heavy cream.

Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are very tender and most of the liquid has been reduced.

Transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Continue to blend as you add remaining butter bit by bit. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to baked shell and top with reserved carrot pieces.

Bake 20 minutes.

Ingredient discussion:

The original crust was very similar to the Pâte Brisée we suggest, and, if you really want, you can find it easily enough on the Internet. For carrots, we use organic. They’re just slightly higher in price, so we think it’s worth it. Same with the heavy cream, but that has the advantage of being just cream: no diglycerides, no carrageenan, just cream.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Set a rack close to the middle of the oven.

tartlet crusts
A small fork makes a nice decorative pattern around the edge of the crust with just a bit of effort.

Fit crust. On a lightly floured surface, or by placing the dough between two pieces of parchment, roll the crust into a 10-inch circle. Transfer crust to a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, using care to press it into the sides. Trim excess and cover the bottom with parchment or aluminum foil and weigh down using pie weights, dried beans, or rice.

blind baking crust
The weights keep the crust from puffing up on the bottom. Once mostly baked, remove the weights and parchment to let the crust brown.

Blind Bake. Slide into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is golden brown. Remove and let the shell cool, but leave the oven on.

sliced carrots
That’s a lot of sliced carrots!

Slice carrots. Cut carrots into thin slices; about 1/8 inch thick should be good. Divide these into two piles; a small pile of about 1/2 cup of slices to use as decoration, and the rest to make the filling.

simmering carrots
Boil up a small amount of carrots to place on the top of the flan as decoration.

Cook decorative carrots. Place the 1/2 cup of carrot slices in a small saucepan and cover with about an inch of water. Add about a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

carrot filling
We made a half batch for individual tartlets, hence the half stick butter.
stewig carrots
Stir occasionally, and watch the carrots as they cook, as they can boil over.

Stew filling carrots. In a larger saucepan, combine remaining carrots, 1/2 cup water, a pinch of salt, sugar, half the butter (1 stick), and the heavy cream. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are very tender and liquid is nearly reduced, about 20 minutes. Watch while cooking because the liquid can boil over (as we learned).

carrot filling
The filling is quite orange, very carrot-y, and quite rich.

Blend. Transfer the stewed carrots to a blender and blend smooth. The purée will be quite thick, so you might have to stop and scrape it down occasionally, but, once it’s smooth, start adding the remaining butter a tablespoon at a time, blending it into the purée. Finally, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Fill crust. Scrape the filling into the baked crust and smooth using a spatula. Top with the reserved carrot pieces and press lightly into the surface.

carrot tartlets
Let the tart cool a bit to make it easier to remove from the pan.

Bake. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, remove from tart pan, then slice and serve.

Wow! These were rich! We had one tartlet each for lunch and felt as if we’d eaten enough for four people. With all the cream and butter packed into these tartlets, we couldn’t see how people could possibly eat these along with a meal. They seemed to be a meal all by themselves. But, we do say they were tasty, packed with carrot flavor, and with a bright orange color, making them stand out at the table. But, they’re troublesome, with the crust, the stewing, and the blending, so making these should be reserved for special occasions, such as holidays. We’ll say three stars, mainly because few people would eat a side this rich and decadent today.

Worth the trouble?

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