While at the supermarket I search high and low for the next ingredient - a box of Langues de Chat (French Cats' Tongues) biscuits. There are none to be found, and several supermarkets later and perhaps a bit of guilt at the bought flan case, I resolve to make my own. Fanny doesn't give a recipe, but there is one in my Leiths Baking Bible, and it seems quite simple - beat butter and sugar, add some vanilla (I use my trusty Little Pods), fold in some egg whites, add plain flour. Ooh, Fanny wouldn't like the plain flour, but this isn't her recipe.
I pipe the Cats' Tongues mixture into small lines, tap out the bubbles and bake for only eight minutes until the are crisp at the edges and golden in colour.
Fanny instructs me to trim their bases, and stand them round the flan ring before filling the centre with a mixture of stiffly whipped double cream and trusty confectioners custard before chilling in the fridge to set while making the meringue mushrooms.
Yes, meringue mushrooms. Luckily Fanny has already taught me how to make meringues in various shapes and sizes, but mushrooms are a new one to me. The ingredients are the same - egg whites, sugar and a little cocoa powder for decoration. After whipping up the meringue mixture I find myself piping again. I need to pipe little stalks for the mushrooms and also some domed tops. They dry out in the oven before dusting the tops with the cocoa powder.
They actually make very cute looking mushrooms when assembled, sticking together with a little cream. Fanny is right, as ever.
All that's left to do is complete the assembly. This basically involves piling the mushrooms as high as possible atop the flan. Fanny suggests if any of this confuses me I should simply turn to the picture which a poor junior student, Dianne, put together without any instructions. The picture shows a flan with meringue mushrooms piled on top. I wonder if poor Dianne popped out the shops too when Fanny wasn't looking?