Here is another one of Karen’s delicious recipes – this time for a simple quiche. Her suggestion: Double this recipe, bake it in a rectangular tin (approx 20cm x 25cm), serve half for dinner and freeze the rest in one-person-sized portions to pick up as you run out the door in the morning.
For those of you who don’t know, Karen is a former colleague of ours and is a fantastic baker. Previously, she has shared with us her beautiful Onion tart with goats’ cheese and thyme and Parkin (a traditional Northern English ginger bread).
“Quiches and tarts are a great treat for packed lunches and picnics. The filling is neatly contained in a pastry shell and they’re equally good served hot or cold. And once you’ve got the basic ingredients—onion, eggs, cream or crème fraiche and cheese—all you need are a few left-overs. Plus they freeze well, so they can be made in advance.
“I always add a cooked potato, thinly sliced (left over from the day before), to my quiche to prevent it becoming too rich—important if you’re cooking for children. And I like to use well flavoured cheese; mature cheddar is excellent but goats’ cheese (Chevre or feta) is my favourite. After that you can add anything you have to hand, and you only need very small quantities. Don’t overfill the case or the egg-crème fraîche mix will spill over the edge of the pastry case and weld it to the baking sheet. Make sure ingredients like bacon and mushrooms are chopped finely and cooked before they go into the pastry case, as the egg filling only needs gentle cooking. Avoid very watery ingredients like courgette as they tend to make the pastry case soggy. Cook them separately and serve with the quiche.”
225g all-purpose flour
Pinch cayenne pepper
¼ tsp English mustard powder
100g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
4-6 tbsp (60-90ml) cold water
250g ready-made savoury short crust pastry
1 tbsp (15ml) oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 medium potato, cooked and thinly sliced
Sprig of thyme
115g – 165g well flavoured cheese, crumbled or grated, see note above
225g crème fraîche
Salt and pepper
90g mushrooms, thinly sliced (these can be cooked with the onion)
90g bacon, chopped and fried
90g frozen peas or corn kernels
1. Place the flour, salt, cayenne, mustard and butter in a food processor and process for about a minute, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk and cold water and, using the ‘pulse’ function on the processor, add just enough liquid to start to bind the pastry. Don’t over-process or the pastry will be tough instead of crumbly and light. Turn the mix out onto the work surface and gently form it into a ball with your fingertips. If you don’t have a food processor, sieve together the dry ingredients then rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Stir in the liquid with a round-bladed knife and again bring together with your fingertips.
2. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap* and rest in the fridge for 15 mins while you start the filling, then roll out to 3mm thick and use to line a 23cm loose-bottomed round tart tin. Rest in the fridge for a further 15 mins while the oven heats to 190oC on Bake and then bake ‘blind’ (see ‘Tips and tricks’ below for how to do this). After removing the pastry case, reduce the oven temperature to 180oC on Bake.
3. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, garlic, potatoes and thyme and cook over a low heat, turning occasionally. Raw potatoes need to be sliced thinly and will take 20–30 mins at a low temperature to cook through; cooked potatoes will be quicker but cook them gently so they don’t fall apart. Add any optional extras too.????
4. Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche and seasoning.
5. Pile the potato mix and cheese into the cooked pastry case and pour the egg mixture over it. Bake for 30–35 mins at 180oC until lightly golden brown and just set in the centre. Serve warm or cold with a green salad and crusty bread.
Tips and tricks
*Pastry can be made the day before, wrapped and stored in the fridge, just let it warm up at room temperature for about 30 mins before you try to roll it out or it will crumble and break.
Baking blind: For some dishes it is preferable to bake the pastry case empty or ‘blind’, before you add the filling. This ensures the pastry is crisp rather than the filling taking all the heat and the pastry remaining undercooked and soggy. Line the uncooked pastry case with baking paper you’ve scrunched up then flattened out, fill with ‘baking beans’ or raw rice (see below). It is essential to support the sides of the tart in this way to prevent them falling in and to stop the base rising. However, this will slow down the cooking so remove the baking beans after 15 minutes, once the pastry is ‘set’. Return the pastry to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the base is cooked and golden brown.
Using rice for ‘blind-baking’: Put a generous amount of rice into a roasting bag and this can be put directly into the pastry case. The rice moulds easily to support the sides of the tart and keep the base flat. Cool and store the rice in the bag. It can be used over and over again, just make sure the rice is completely cold before you seal the bag or the condensation will cause the rice to go mouldy.
To freeze quiche: Let the tart cool completely, pack into a freezer bag or box, seal and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, unwrap and thaw at room temperature for 4 hrs, then reheat at 180oC on Bake or at 160oC on Fan Bake for 20 mins. Alternatively, cut into portions and freeze the pieces on an open tray. As soon as the tart is frozen, pack into a freezer bag or box with a sheet of baking paper between each portion.