Quiche can be a French Tart, a topless pie or a pastry crust filled tart with savoury custard (eggs and cream), cheese, meat (for carnivores), seafood or vegetables.
More familiar is Quiche Lorraine, which traditionally is made with lardons or bacon. It is a classic French dish, but Quiche originated in Germany and the word ‘quiche’ is from the German word ‘kuchen’, meaning cake.
National Vegetarian Week has just enjoyed it’s official week of celebration from 11th to 17th May, giving even more reasons to enjoy delicious plant-based food.
Making a quiche is a good way to use up leftover vegetables and those pieces of cheese you might have lurking at the back of the fridge. Eaten hot or cold, a quiche is ideal for a stay at home picnic in your garden.
Here’s the recipe for my Cheese and Leek Quiche.
As usual, I’ve tried to support local and use as many products from around my area in my cooking.
What you need:
1 pie tin (I used 23cm fluted flan tin with a removable bottom) greased & base lined with parchment paper
1 packet ready made shortcrust pastry or you can make your own
Ceramic Baking beans
Baking parchment paper
Short crust pastry ingredients:
250g plain flour
125g unsalted butter
A pinch of salt
Enough cold water to bring it to a dough (roughly 4 tbsp)
Shortcrust Pastry Method:
Place the flour, butter and salt into a large bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add enough cold water to bring it together into a dough. Wrap and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
Ingredients for the filling:
350g leeks, trimmed, washed and finely sliced (make sure you use the green leafy bits at the top end too) I used two small leeks.
100g cheese, grated. I used Quickes cheese supporting our local cheesemakers (recent #BritishCheeseWeekender #supportlocalcheesemakers campaign) plus an old bit from the back of my fridge!
4 large eggs (I used Greendale Farm)
100ml milk (or mixture of cream, crème fraiche for extra luxurious filling)
Rapeseed oil & butter to fry the leeks (I use Bell & Loxton Rapeseed Oil)
1 teaspoon of mustard
Salt & Pepper
Method for the filling:
Gently sauté the leeks in a pan with oil and butter until just soft. You don’t want them to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to cool.
Roll out the pastry and carefully line your pie dish. Press it into the corners (see tip below). Leave plenty of pastry to overhang the edge as even though putting the pastry in the fridge, it will shrink back a little when cooking.
Take a piece of parchment paper and screw it up into a ball. Prick the pastry all over the base with a fork. Unwrap the crumpled paper and place on top of your pastry. Pour in your baking beans or what you use to ‘bake blind’. Crumpling the paper makes it softer, and means the baking beans can sit right to the edge of the dish. Put into the oven temp 180C (fan) for ten minutes. Take it out the oven and remove the paper with the baking beads on it.
Having broken your eggs into a measuring jug and whisked together, take a pastry brush and lightly brush over the partially cooked pastry base. This will fill any little holes made by the fork and also help to prevent your quiche having a soggy bottom. Put back into the oven for a further 5 minutes. Take the pastry base out of the oven, trim the edge if you like.
Put most of the grated cheese into the leek mixture (save some to sprinkle on the top) and give it a good stir. This distributes the cheese right through the filling. Put onto the base and spread evenly. Add a teaspoon of mustard into the egg mixture and add 100ml milk & season with salt & pepper. Beat with a fork and pour onto the leek mixture.
I had a few sprigs of asparagus which I sliced and garnished the top. You could top it with a sliced tomato or whatever you have.
Sprinkle with the remainder of the grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is lightly coloured and just set.
Leave to cool… if you can wait that long, but it slices better cold.
Serve warm or cold with a salad or jacket potato and baked beans. Wash it down with a bottle of your favourite chilled drink, we enjoyed a refreshing glass of Sandford Orchard Devon Red Cider.
To get the base right into the edges of your pie dish, take a small ball of pastry (from the offcuts) and put it in a little piece of cling film. Use this ball to press into the edges and sides once you have lined your pie dish.
If you have any leftover pastry, add some more grated cheese to it, some salt & pepper, a sprinkle of paprika and make some cheese straws.