Cheesy, buttery and utterly delicious, this is not an everyday food but is great for buffets, picnics and dinners.

Cheeseflan (Västerbottenpaj)

This is one of the most unhealthy dishes I know. It is, however, also completely delicious. I suggest serving the flan with a healthy salad and keeping slices somewhat small. Because this is such a popular dish back home, there are lots of different recipes. I found one by Per Moberg that was both delicious and straight-forward.

Back home, this cheese flan is made with Västerbotten, a cheese not 100 miles from Cheddar in flavour (don’t tell anyone I said that. It’s totally unique, of course). In the UK, I use a well-matured Cheddar, or a mixture of whatever cheeses I have in the freezer or fridge. The one in the picture is made with left-over Stilton and the last of the Christmas Cheddar.

It’s really easy, comes together quickly and looks impressive. It’s good cold as well as hot and lukewarm, and leftovers make a great lunch. If you don’t want to make pastry, use bought short-crust – just make sure it’s not sweet.

Serves: 8-12. Prep: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes.
Stores: For up to three days in the fridge.



  • 100 grams butter
  • 100 grams plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


  • 200 grams cheese
  • 200 ml milk or cream (soya milk works fine)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Scales
  • Stick blender with mixer attachment
  • 1 bowl (or two, if you don’t have a stick blender with a mixer attachment
  • Plastic wrap
  • Grater (if not using grated cheese)
  • Fork
  • Pie dish, 23 cm, ideally with removable bottom


Make the pastry:

  1. Weigh out the butter into the stick blender mixer attachment (or bowl).
  2. Weigh out the flour into the stick blender mixer attachment (or bowl).
  3. Blend until you get a grainy texture (a few minutes on full). If using a bowl, use your hands to mix the flour and butter.
  4. Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, to make a fairly sticky mixture.
  5. Spoon out onto plastic wrap, wrap up and stick in the fridge for half an hour.
  6. Turn on the oven to pre-heat it to 200C (180C for fan-assisted ovens).
  7. When the dough is rested, take it out of the fridge, unwrap it and place it in the pie dish. Don’t try to roll this pastry! It won’t work.
  8. Flatten the pastry using your fingers, squishing/smearing it into an equal layer across the base and about 3 cm up the side. It doesn’t have to be tidy.
  9. Pre-bake for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about blind baking with grease-proof paper and ceramic beans – when I tried that, the base stuck to the paper in a most hideous mess. When I didn’t, the sides collapsed, but that doesn’t matter, because the filling doesn’t need a very deep shell. If you do blind bake, and you lose some of the bottom, don’t worry, it will still work.
  10. Take out and let cool.

Make the filling:

  1. Grate the cheese and put into a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and milk and whisk together with the fork.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If you don’t want to taste raw egg, go with 3 or 4 turns of the pepper mill and a small pinch of salt. Cheese is salty, so you don’t need to add much, if any.)

Bring the two together:

  1. Pour the filling into the pie case.
  2. Put into the oven for 35 minutes.
  3. It’s ready when it is golden and set.


  • Blue cheese: Use only blue cheese. The flan still comes out golden, not blue. It’s a sadness.
  • Add mushrooms: Fry 100 grams of mushrooms in a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle over the base of the case before adding the cheese mixture.
  • Add chives: Finely chop a good handful of chives and add to the cheese mixture. It adds a bit of kick and makes the flan a little less heavy.

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