My quiche. An adaptation of a French classic. For me this weather calls for it. Something that can be enjoyed hot or cold, with salad or vegetables, or in my case a side dish to accompany an impromptu barbecue (how convenient it was to have a humble, freshly made quiche lying around when friends drop by with a disposable barbecue). So not planned.
The word quiche is actually derived from the German word kuchen (meaning cake), and the Germans in fact had their own version of this dish before the French, the difference being the brioche dough that the savoury custard was baked in. Although the quiche as we know it, in the incarnation that I will be cooking today is French in origin.
So whether you want to call it French or German, it is what it is and that sure is tasty.
Quiche can be made with cream, milk or creme fraiche, many recipes I happened upon either chose cream or a mixture of cream and milk to mix with the eggs. I myself have only ever used milk alone to make quiche, and whist I can see the benefits of using cream, I feel that it is an addition of calories and saturated fats to my day that could be better utilised elsewhere- ice cream for pudding anyone? Also I will be loading this mother with cheese which will make up for the richness lost through using semi- skimmed milk. I’d much rather cheese than cream any day.
First for the pastry- shop bought ready to roll pastry of course works just as well but there is nothing like making your own for that fine sense of achievement you get when the quiche emerges soggy bottomless.
Note to self- heat wave is not the pastry makers friend. Perseverance is key to success when inevitable frustration ensues.
Two major points to keep in mind when pastry making.
1. Keep the butter cool. If it starts to melt or go greasy at any point rush it into the fridge as if its life depended on it.
2. Do not overwork. Something that can not be reiterated enough in many forms of baking. Overworking aids gluten development through friction and body heat, leading to shrinkage and toughness, neither of which are desirable qualities in a good short crust.
170g Plain Flour
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter cut into little squares (about 1cm)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsps ice cold water
Mix egg yolk with water. Sift flour and salt into bowl. Cut butter into flour using scissor motion with two table knives. Rub flour into butter (dip fingers into flour, rub butter with flour using tips of thumb and fingers, pulling flour up above the bowl as you do this helps to keep mixture cool as it falls back into bowl through aerating it). When fine breadcrumbs achieved add half water and mix with table knife. Add the rest in bits until pastry comes together. Bring together into ball and press down to form disc. Wrap in cling film. Chill for 30 mins (at least). Dust flour over clean surface. Roll out and press into tart tin with due care and attention (or roll into weird higgldy piggldy oblong shape, tear and press pieces on to make circle shape required for tin- will one day learn to roll into circles for now I shall call my pastry rustic and leave it at that).
Instead of rubbing together with hands place sifted flour and salt into food processor with diced butter. Whizz until breadcrumbs, remove add eggy water and bring together with hands as above. A bit of a cheat, but less handling is always good and also means less body heat being transferred to the butter. Although in this case I still had to do a bit of rubbing to make sure butter and flour were properly breadcrumbed and had to give it a good rest in the fridge to cool it down a bit after all that action.
Next for the blind bake. I placed roughly ripped baking parchment into my prepared pastried tart tin and added dried chick peas to weigh it down. I refrained from poking the pastry as I did not want the wet mixture to seep through later. I then baked for 15 minutes with the beans in, then removed them and baked for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
Leave to cool down if possible, a method of prevention for the soggy bottom.
Now for the filling……
120g cheddar cheese grated
200g baby leaf spinach cooked
3 medium eggs beaten
1 onion (chopped and fried in a bit of butter)
Salt and Pepper
Combine milk and eggs. Add grated cheese. Roughly tear gorgonzola and add. Add cooked ingredients (spinach and onion). Season. Add freshly grated nutmeg to the mix. Pour into blind baked pastry case. Cook for about 40 mins on 180 or until set. Eat. Enjoy.
This was eaten fast!!