July 17, 2014 by sarah
I make a quiche – or the posh word for one, a tart – about twice a month. If you buy the pastry it can be surprisingly quick to make. I make my own pastry every now and then to keep my hand in but there is nothing wrong with bought pastry for an everyday quiche. Making quiches is how I overcame my fear of making pastry. They also freeze well so I tend to make a medium sized one that lasts the two of us two nights of dinners (any longer and I get fed up) and the spare pastry makes another 2 to 4 mini quiches which I freeze for lunches. Makes a perfect light dinner with a green salad and possibly some new potatoes if we are extra hungry.
There is a huge variety of fillings and combinations that can go into your quiche, just try to use something that doesn’t give out too much moisture as it cooks otherwise you will end up with a very soggy quiche – yuck! There is nothing worse than wet quiche and soggy pastry. So that means avoiding spinach and other greens in the filling and if you use vegetables like mushrooms or courgettes then pre-cook them to drive off some of the moisture. Here are some alternative filling suggestions:
- smoked salmon and asparagus or purple sprouting broccoli – also nice if you replace the cream with creme fraiche
- pancetta or smoked bacon and strong cheese such as cheddar or Gruyere – classic quiche Lorraine
- oven roasted cherry tomatoes (or the sunblush semi-dried ones), basil and Parmesan
- red onion and three cheese – caramelise some red onions in a frying pan
- leek and cheese – soften leeks in butter, choose a strong cheese like Gruyere
- poached salmon and new potatoes – again creme fraiche would be good in the filling and perhaps some herbs
- fig and blue cheese – halved or quartered fresh figs, good amount of a good blue cheese
What is your favourite filling?
Goats Cheese and Aspargus Tart
320g pack shortcrust pastry – leave out of the fridge for 10 minutes so easier to use.
150ml single cream (double cream or creme fraiche can be substituted, in which case I would reduce the amount and increase the milk to compensate for the extra richness)
4 whole eggs
100g asparagus tips – blanched or steamed until just cooked, allow to cool.
100-150g pack of soft/fresh goats cheese, usually in a mini log
Makes a 20cm diameter and 2 mini quiches – you need loose bottomed flan tins with deep sides (the cheap ones tend to be too shallow)
Use the pastry to line the flan tins. Try not to stretch the pastry as you bring it up the sides of the tin otherwise it can get very thin and holey. Press the pastry into the corners and fluting of the tins – a ball of left over pastry is perfect for this. Trim the edges by rolling a rolling pin over the top of the tin so the pastry is cut on the edge of the tin. Then go around the edge of the tin and with your fingers gently push the pastry up the side of the tin so it sits a few millimetres higher than it. Prick the base all over with a fork (this stops the pastry bubbling). Put the pastry lined tins in the fridge for at least half an hour. If you can’t spare the time then pop them in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200º C/fan 180ºC.
Bake the pastry cases blind for 20-25 minutes. To do this, cut out a square of baking parchment a few inches larger than the tin, scrunch up the paper, flatten out and scrunch again. Flatten out the paper and lay over the pastry, fill with ceramic baking beans, dried pulses or even copper coins. Doing this cooks the base so you don’t get a soggy bottom and the baking beans stop the sides from collapsing.
Remove the paper and baking beans and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Take out of the oven and with a pastry brush, brush the pastry with one of the eggs (beaten) and return to the oven for 1-2 minutes. This egg layer means your pastry bottom really will not go soggy. Thank you Raymond Blanc for this tip!
Turn the oven down to 160 ºC/fan 140 ºc.
In a jug, beat together the eggs (and any remaining from the one used to coat the pastry), milk and cream with a generous amount of seasoning and some fresh herbs if available.
In the pre-cooked pastry case, evenly spread the asparagus tips and slices of the cheese. Pour over the egg/milk mixture and carefully put in the oven on a middle shelf. Do not spill any egg mixture over the edge of the pastry case otherwise it will be impossible to get out.
Cook at this lower temperature for 20-25 minutes for the individual tarts and 25-30 minutes for the larger tart. The centre of the tart should be just set but still have a little wobble. Cool the quiche in the tin for at least 15 minutes before removing and eating.
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May 17, 2014 by sarah
When I opened the nest box today, I could not believe the egg that was there – a monster. I know this must be Mrs White’s egg as the other two are pullets so are laying medium sized eggs at present. This one though weighed a whopping 98g! Here they are enjoying the freedom of the garden before they started digging up my veggie beds.
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