I wanted to make a layered dessert. The idea was to have a flan layer on the bottom and a fruit jelly layer on top.

I first baked the flan, and had no problems there. Then I covered it evenly with a layer of redcurrant berries. Then I dissolved gelatine into peach compote liquid and poured it on top. The flan recipe I chose wasn't very flimsy, it had a high milk-to-cream ratio and whole eggs, which gives a somewhat firm custard when compared to recipes with more cream or yolks only.

I was extremely gentle in my pouring technique, doing it from almost no height, and slowly, in a gentle angle. The liquid fell mostly onto the berries, and not directly onto the flan. Nevertheless, the flan surface tore up, causing pieces of the flan to disperse in the jelly and float up. So, instead of a beautiful clear jelly with fruit floating in it, I ended up with a "dirty" looking dessert.

result from top result from side

What could I have done to prevent this from happening?

I must admit that the flan was still quite warm from the oven (maybe half an hour out). The gelatinized liquid was at 50 C. Would it have been sufficient to keep it in the fridge overnight, or should I do something else too?

  • 3
    I can't say for sure it would be sufficient, (so just a comment) but it would definitely improve the odds greatly if the flan was quite throughly cold before adding hot liquid to the top... You could also have transformed "dirty" to "artistic" by trailing a chopstick or large fork through to "marble" the components (i.e. like "marbled paper" is done.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 17:57
  • Keeping the layers separate is not about temperature but being solid, and a half hour is nothing. A hard layer 1 will not be permeated by a hot layer 2. Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 4:53
  • @Ecnerwal marbled paper is different, there you have two viscous, somewhat repellent liquids of different color. Here, you have a solid and a liquid, and the solid is dispersing in the liquid in a myriad of tiny flakes. It's like a straciatella soup, really.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 9:33
  • Just put whipped cream on top then (a) it looks fine and (b) cream! :-) Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 8:15
  • No man in his right mind would care what it looks like, as long as it tastes good.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


Assuming that the first layer is denser than the one that you’re adding, instead of pouring your next layer directly into the initial one, you should hold a large spoon over the existing layers, and then slowly pour into the spoon. This will stop the force of the liquid falling under gravity from tearing up the first layer. Instead, the spoon absorbs the force, and then the liquid flows off the sides.

You can also try using a laddle, holding in close to the existing surface before dumping out the liquid, but it’s much slower.

… but it’s still preferable to let the layers set up some before adding a new one. Some people say that you want to pour the new layer before the older one is totally set, so they adhere together some, but you’ll need to experiment with how long you need to let things cool down for your best pour. I ask tend to let the next layer cool down to about 70°F, so it doesn’t melt the layer underneath it. (But pouring too cold can cause it to trap bubbles if you’re doing translucent gelatin layers)

  • The spoon dispersion method is brilliant. Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 4:49
  • Indeed, I'll accept this answer because of the spoon idea.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 12:30

My suspicion is that the custard just wasn’t fully set yet.

Custard sets slowly, particularly if it’s adroitly made (well clear of ‘scrambled egg’ temperatures). The fact that one cools it after cooking obscures the fact that its setting is more time-dependent than temperature-dependent.

Now, flan forms a thin top skin during cooking; below that it’s considerably more liquid when it comes out of the oven. The skin makes it look way more durable fresh out of the oven than it actually is, and once it’s at serving temperature it actually is that durable. But it sounds like you added the topping at a point when it could break the skin and reveal the temporary looseness.

I think cooling it, or for that matter keeping it at any temperature, for an extra half hour before adding the topping would fix things right up.

Also it should go without saying but that looks delicious even in its “dirty” state. and would look entirely presentable if inverted.

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