I’d agonised a wee bit on what recipe to post first, when I realised that sometimes you just have to stfu and crack on. Crack on. Eggs. Get it?
Quiches are one of my favourite ways to use eggs – more sophisticated than a frittata, and often tastier. Possibly because of the addition of a butter pastry shell, which in all honesty, improves prettymuch anything.
The one I made this week was the result of an idle fridge raid for things that needed using; I think if you put your coat on to head out for ingredients for a quiche, you’re really missing the point of its versatility.
The only thing to be fussy about is the pastry. I use Julia Child’s method (see below), she’s splendid.
Top tips for making pastry
- Use butter (margarine will make it sad and rubbery)
- Be light and gentle with your fingers – bread is for getting rid of stress, pastry is for showing off your dexterity.
- Always leave it to rest, even if you’re in a hurry – it relaxes the pastry and stops it being weird and stretchy, resulting in that rubbery situation again.
The Recipe: Weeknight Quiche for lazy, lovely people
125g plain flour
60g unsalted butter
Pinch of fine salt
A tinier pinch of sugar (yes, really)
Half a cup of fridge-cold water (you may need more)
1 medium onion
30g grated cheddar cheese (not that I weighed it. Who weighs cheese, really?)
And then absolutely anything you like – I used pancetta, spinach and lightly roasted red pepper, but the world is your oyster. (I have never tried it with oysters…)
Olive oil for frying
Salt and black pepper
How to make perfect shortcrust pastry – easy tips
- Put the flour, salt and butter into a mixing bowl, and use your fingers to rub the flour in until it looks like jumbo oats. There should still be visible flakes of butter in the flour (this is important).
- Add a dash of ice cold water to the bowl and bring the dough together into a ball, gently using the tips of your fingers. Add more water if you need to, but don’t let it get sticky. Again, you should still see streaks of butter in it – I promise there’s a point to this.
- Flour a clean work surface, and flatten the ball of dough on to it.
- Using the cool heel of your hand in a light twisting motion that pushes the dough away from you – I don’t want to use the word ‘smear’ (it’s gross), but that’s basically what you’re doing. You only need to do this three or four times, otherwise you’ll overwork it, but this should be enough to blend the rest of the fat into the flour.
- Wrap the pastry in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
How to blind bake pastry
Again, it’s really easy, and will stop you getting that horrendous soggy bottom (which also goes grey after a day in the fridge, and looks terrible in photos).
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
- Lightly grease a non-stick fluted tin sprinkle some flour on it and place the whole thing on a flat oven tray
- Lightly flour a work surface and gently roll the pastry out to about half a centimetre
- Loosely roll up the pastry on your rolling pin and gently drape it over the tin. Press the dough into the tin, making sure there’s pastry hanging over all of the sides
- Scrunch up an oversized circle of greaseproof paper (instructions to follow), place it in the pastry shell and fill it with baking beads (or uncooked rice if you don’t have beads – you’ll need lots though as they’re there to stop the pastry rising as it cooks)
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until the pastry edges hanging over the side have turned faintly golden, like an accidental tan after an afternoon in a beer garden.
- Beat the eggs for your quiche in a jug. If you’re not making a quiche and you’re just learning how to blind bake, then just use one egg.
- Use the greaseproof circle to tip out the beads/rice. Lightly prick the surface of the pastry with a fork and then brush some of your beaten egg across the surface and sides of the pastry – this will seal it and prevent any leakage.
- Put it back in the oven for another 8 minutes or so. It should be very faintly golden, but not fully baked.
For the filling
- Chop the red pepper into quarters, then toss them with a teaspoon of olive oil and some seasalt. Roast in a tray for a wee while, depending on how you like them. 15-20 minutes gets them tender and very slightly charred, and means you’re not wasting the oven’s heat.
- All quiches need onion, it gives depth and dimension to what is otherwise just eggs and vegetables. Dice it and put it on a medium heat with a pinch of salt – fry gently until the onion is golden and translucent. Transfer to the baked pastry shell, making sure you’ve got an even spread.
- Fry off some pancetta in the pan. Add your rinsed spinach and allow it to wilt – this should take about 30 seconds.
- Layer up the fillings, making sure there’s even spacing and lots of colour
- Sprinkle with grated cheese, then pour over your beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper
- Bake in the oven at 180 for about half an hour – keep checking it and remove when it’s golden brown all over and your kitchen smells incredible.
- Allow to cool slightly, then serve with a big green salad and a cirtrussy dressing.
Mushroom and kale with blue cheese
Roasted squash or sweet potato with pancetta
Sweet peppers (from a jar) with dots of ricotta, mozzarella and fresh spinach
Have fun with this one! It’s super tasty, really good for you and perfect for lunchboxes the next day too. I love it with a selection of salads, or maybe as part of a bigger spread of tasty savoury nibbles – why not take it to the next barbeque you go to? People might be glad of a change from grilled meat!