Quiche

Quiche is one of ‘those’ dishes that people either love or hate. The first time I ever made one it leaked all over the floor of the oven – a lovely heads up that the oven was broken at stony cold. Nice.

I think the reason so many people dish the quiche is because there are so many bad ones out there – those hideous high pie quiches at chain coffee and muffin stores. Eugh – just the thought of that high mound of coagulated egg makes me gag and I love quiche.

Then there are the thin mean quiches that seem all liquidy. What’s with that? I’ll have my water in a glass on the side thanks, not swimming around on the plate.

This recipe on the other hand is superb. I use the following as the basis for every quiche I make, changing the filling depending on what I have in the veggie drawer. Now, if I could just get more than one of my offspring to eat it I could add something else to the dinner roster.

I’ve given you a range of filling suggestions and also two options for the pastry. The filo is a great quick and easy solution but don’t expect a strong base to it. still, it add lovely flavour. The pictures below are using Maggie Beer’s most awesome sour cream pastry, the pastry I now seem to use all.the.time.

Quiche
The foundation

  • 6 eggs
  • 300ml pouring cream
  • 100g parmesan
  • fresh herbs of your choice – I’m a big fan of chives and parsley in quiche
  • salt and pepper 

Various filling ideas:

  • dash of olive oil
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 125g mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, finely sliced

or

  • dash olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 4 slices ham or bacon, finely sliced

or

  • dash olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/2 bunch silverbeet, blanched or sauteed w/ the onion
  1. Saute the onion or leek until softened but not coloured
  2. Add the vegetables or the bacon/ham or the silverbeet and cook for 3-5 minutes
  3. Let cool slightly
  4. Combine the eggs, cream, herbs and seasonings.
  5. Spread ingredients over the pastry base then top with the parmesan
  6. Pour over the egg mixture
  7. Bake for 30 minutes at 180C
 The pastry case
Option A – filo
  • 3 sheets filo
  1. simply line the case with the filo
Option B – sour cream pastry
Maggie Beer
  • 250g plain flour
  • 200g butter
  • 120ml sour cream
  • Process flour and butter
  • Add 2/3 of the sour cream and then add spoon by spoon until dough comes together into a ball
  1. Refrigerate for 20 minutes
  2. Roll out, bake blind in a 220C oven*
  3. Fill and bake according to the recipe
* I hardly ever bake blind anymore – all that faffing around with pie weights makes my neck itch – so now I line the pie dish with the dough straight away, freeze it for 20 minutes then bung it in the oven. If any bubbles come up just gently push them back down. Done! 

Vegetable Pasties

I love vegetarian food. I could quite easily never eat meat again and probably not miss it one jot. Well OK, maybe a little jot but it wouldn’t be a gnawing agonising pining kind of jot. Moving on.
With all this gall bladder malarky I’ve been leaning to a lot more dinners based on vegetables and legumes rather than meat and pasta and that naturally led to a hankering for vegetable pasties.
I was going to make these with my new love, Maggie Beer’s sourcream pastry (it’s the first pastry I’ve truly worked with where the experience is delightful and the results sublime), but decided at the last minute to use my other favourite, hot water pastry. It’s perfect – and indeed advised – for pies and working with a hot filling.
The following is based on a recipe by from Allan Campion and Michelle Curtis’ tome In the Kitchen a book I turn to time and time again for fail-proof straight-forward recipes.
This makes a lot, you could halve it but I always figure sooner have left overs you can freeze for easy dinners down the track. Also, you could change the veggies, throw in some lentils, you name it – just to mix it up. Oh, and instead of curry paste you could use some ground cumin and coriander and fresh coriander to go a bit Morrocan.
Vegetable Pasties
Based on recipe from In the Kitchen, Allan Campion and Michelle Curtis
The pastry:
  • 300ml cold water
  • 200g butter
  • 2tsp salt
  • 600g self-raising flour
  1. Put the water, butter and salt in a saucepanand heat until the butter has melted
  2. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the flour until it forms a ball
  3. Place on a lightly floured bench and knead gently for about 30 seconds
  4. Divide dough and keep remains in the saucepan covered by a teatowel – it gets firm when its cold
  5. Roll out to 14-18cm rounds, depending on how big – or small – you want them to be and brush generously with beaten egg
  6. Place a heaped tablespoon in the middle of the round, pull the pastry up and press together with your fingers
  7. Brush with egg wash.
For the filling:
  • Olive oil
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 400g potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 tsp curry powder (to your taste)
  • 500ml stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • kernels from 2 cobs corn
  • 150g green beans, topped and tailed and cut into small lengths
  • 1-2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp chopped herbs
  1. Heat the oil and saute the leek
  2. Add the potato, pumpkin, carrot, garlic, tomato paste and curry paste and cook for about five minutes
  3. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and then cover and cook for 10 minutes
  4. Uncover, add the rest of the vegetables, turn heat up to high andn stir until all the liquid has evaporated – about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Stir in parsley, season and allow to cool a little (while you make the pastry)
  6. Place the filling in the middle of the pastry circles as outlined above
  7. Put on a greased baking tray and bake in a 180C oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Ricotta Tart with Poached Nectarines

So I bought these nectarines to make jam with but just knew I wasn’t going to get to it in time, so I just poached them in a simple sugar syrup with a vanilla bean instead, thinking they’d be good for brekkie w/ yoghurt. But I haven’t been in a yoghurt frame of mind for a few days and they’ve just been sitting in our fucking small tiny fridge taking up space.

So I thought, use them in a cake. But all the recipes I could find called for raw nectarines and I was worried they would be too wet.

Combine all that with a hankering I’ve had to make a ricotta pudding or tart of some sort and who should come up with a solution but the trusty Allan Campion and Michele Curtis in their most recent tome, In The Kitchen. It gave all manner of possibilities in terms of combinations, one of which was roasted nectarines – so while mine were poached, it worked a treat.

It tastes fantastic and looks very sophisticated which, you know, for me is quite a feat indeed.

Ricotta Tart with Poached Nectarines
Adapted from Campion and Curtis, In the Kitchen

  • 1 x 25 cm sweetcrust pastry shell
    (I used my shortcrust recipe, blind baked it until golden then proceeded as per recipe)
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6-8 poached nectarines (see ‘recipe’ below)
  • ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. In a bowl whisk together the ricotta, caster sugar, eggs, vanilla, cream and flour with the grated zest and lemon juice
  3. Line the pastry case with the nectarines then pour over the ricotta mix
  4. Sprinkle w/ cinnamon and bake for 40 minutes or until firm.





The nectarines
Guys look, I can’t really call this a recipe. I dumped a bag of nectarines in a saucepan, covered with water, poured over some sugar and added a vanilla bean. I brought it to the boil, turned it down and cooked until the liquid was vaguely syrupy and the nectarines soft.


Lemon Curd Tart

So this is basically my favourite dessert/tart/sweet treat of all time. If I come upon a patisserie or a cake shop which looks even remotely like it has a proper pastry chef at the helm I will buy a lemon tart. Or Citron tart if we feel like getting fancy.

I adore my lemon butter but it is not right for a proper lemon tart. Similarly, that time I made the lemon meringue tart when I so bravely tried to keep up with the Daring Bakers produced a very easy lemon ‘curd’ but I could not bring myself to say a mix that involves cornflour is a proper lemon curd.

This comes from Jane and Jeremy Strode who own Bistrode, a 40 seat bistro in Sydney. They also do the weekly recipes in Good Living, which I always find very hit and miss. In fact, I bought their cookbook bistrode purely on flicking through it in the bookshop and chancing upon the page with their lemon curd tarts. There is much in the book I will try, far more than what they offer in GL, and this lemon curd is absolutely sensational.

The shortcrust pastry below is the one I use for everything. I think it is a Bill Granger recipe from recollection. (The picture below features double the curd recipe and is made in a 10cm x 33cm tart case w/ removable base.)

Lemon Curd Tart
Jane and Jeremy Strode, Bistrode
For the pastry

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 350g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cold water

For the curd

  • 120g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 175ml lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the pastry

  1. Process the flour with the butter and add enough water for it to come together as a dough
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  3. Roll the pastry to 2mm thick and line a tart case or 12 x 10cm diameter round discs (Jane Strode says here to cut out the discs and then refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight but I am never so organised – I cut them out, line the cases and then refrigerate)
  4. Make sure you avoid any air bubbles between the pastry and the tin
  5. Line and fill with pie weights and bake for 10 minutes or until golden-brown and cooked through then allow to cool.

For the curd

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan then add the sugar and stir to combine
  2. Add lemon juice and eggs and cook over a medium to low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon
  3. Make sure you don’t let it boil as this will curdle the eggs
  4. Take off the heat and pass through a fine strainer into a clean container
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing gently onto the surface so a skin doesn’t form and cool in the fridge before spooning into the tart case(s)
  6. The curd will keep in the fridge for a week.

Seriously, I could eat this until my head fell off.

Oh, and that pastry quantity will mean you have some left over. Just wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for another day.

Berry Tart with Vanilla Cream

This has been on high rotation for me this summer as a celebration tart – people’s birthdays, Christmas, New Years.

Any excuse really.

The vanilla cream is like a creme patissiere I guess but softer. It will run and while the original recipe uses a long rectangular tart tin, I find individual tartlette cases work a treat – nice shortcrust pastry that cracks on eating, letting the vanilla cream escape onto your plate. Mmmm.

The pastry recipe I’ve posted below is the one with the original – I use my normal shortcrust pastry because I’m stubborn like that.

Berry Tart with Vanilla Cream
Paul Camilleri, as appeared in the(sydney)magazine

  • 250ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75g sugar
  • 25g plain flour
  • 125ml thickened cream, whipped
  • 3-4 punnets fresh berries
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Pastry

  • 100g pure icing sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk

For the pastry

  1. Combine the icing sugar, butter and flour in the food processor and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs
  2. Add egg and yolk and process until pastry just comes together
  3. Knead lightly and cover in plastic wrap, rest in fridge for an hour
  4. Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface and line a 10cm x 33cm tart tin and rest again in the fridge for another 30 minutes
  5. Prick the base and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden then cool

For the filling

  1. Combine milk and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and bring just to the boil then remove from heat and discard vanilla bean
  2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl then pour in the hot milk, stirring constantly
  3. Pour into a clean saucepan and stir constantly over low heat for 3-5 minutes or until thickened
  4. Cool and then fold in whipped cream
  5. Spoon into the pastry shell, arrange berries on top and dust with icing sugar.

Serves 6