I love flans and quiches, but too often resort to buying ready-made pastry cases. It's just inertia, as I know I can make pastry in five minutes flat with a little help from my 20 year old food processor (a wedding present, thank you Mum!).
I favour a really rich pastry, say 14 oz flour, 7 oz butter, 3 egg yolks and iced water. Pastry this rich can be very crumbly, difficult to roll out and bake blind. A couple of weeks ago I tried out a couple of tips which I am pleased to pass on.
First, don't even try to roll out the pastry to fit the flan tin. Instead, roll the dough into a sausage shape when you make it (wrap it in cling film while you rest it). Then, to make the pastry case, just cut pound-coin thickness slices off the roll, and push them into the tin.
Just fill up any gaps as you go. It's so much easier than having the dough tear or stretch, and you don't waste any as off-cuts either.
The second tip is about baking blind. Usually the books tell you to line the pastry case with foil, then add baking beans to weigh down the pastry. I always find that the tinfoil sticks to the pastry, and it rarely shapes itself properly to the pastry case. So, don't use tinfoil, use clingfilm!
Don't worry, it won't melt at the heat used do bake pastry. It conforms perfectly to the shape of the pastry case, and never sticks.
The finished cheese and vegetable flan in all its glory...