Real people eat quiche

“Real men don’t eat quiche”. That’s what an Australian friend once told me. He has since tasted a lot of quiches of mine, and so have my men as these open-face savory pies with a custard filling feature on our onboard menu nearly every week. Nothing draws my kids faster to the table, than the aroma of buttery pastry baking!

The pastry is a cinch to make, I often make a double batch and freeze some for later use. The proportion for the custard is always the same. I follow a Julia Child’s recipe which includes 1 egg for every ½ cup of liquid. When I am in a hurry or at sea, using pre-packaged ingredients, it roughly works out as 3 eggs for a 300ml tub of pouring cream. As for the filling, you’re only limited by your imagination. To the traditional bacon and cheese, I have substituted spinach and fetta, crab and lemon, tomato and zucchini…Our latest favourites come from times spent rummaging through the fridge, trying to use these items on their last legs: a lonely bag of porcini mushrooms with a small bunch of forgotten asparagus, and half a wheel of brie no one fancies on crackers anymore paired with a couple of apples. What is your favourite?

Shortcrust pastry for quiche making

Makes for 1 quiche

200g/1 ¾ cup plain flour

100g/ ½ cup/ 1 stick unsalted butter chopped

1 pinch salt

60ml/ 2-3 tbsp iced water

1. Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and process for 1 minute or until the mixture ressembles breadcrumbs. Add the iced water and process until the dough comes together. Flatten the dough into a disc shape, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate d=for 30 minutes (or freeze for later use). Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to 4mm thick, line a 24cm quiche or tart dish and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Prick the base of the pastry with a fork, line with baking paper and fill with raw beans/rice/baking weights. Bake for 15 minutes, remove paper and weights, and bake for a further 10 mn to brown it very lightly. Set aside while you work on the filling.

3. This pre-baking of the pastry is important to prevent a soggy bottom. I don’t always trim the edges of the pastry, preferring a more “free-form”, unfussy look. However for a neater presentation (i.e a dinner party!!) I would trim the edges, keeping the leftover dough for appetisers.

Mushroom and Asparagus Quiche

Mushroom and asparagus quiche

1 quantity shortcrust pastry
250g porcini mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
1 small bunch of asparagus ( about 8), cleaned and trimmed
1 pinch of dried herbes de provence
3 eggs
300 ml pouring cream
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C(400F). Prepare shortcrust pastry as per recipe above and pre-bake as instructed.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet, sauté the mushrooms for 5 minutes, add the asparagus and cook longer until all vegetables are tender and slightly caramelised.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C(375F). Place the eggs, cream and dried herbs in a bowl and whisk to combine. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese at the bottom of the pastry shell, place the mushrooms and asparagus on top, pour over the egg mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. If your oven only heats from the bottom, as mine does, turn on the grill element for the last 5 minutes of cooking, until top is golden.

4. Enjoy!

Apple and Brie Quiche

Apple and brie quiche

1 quantity shortcrust pastry
2 red apples, washed, cored, sliced thickly
250g brie cheese, cut in thin wedges, rind trimmed (opt)
1 pinch of dried thyme
3 eggs
300 ml pouring cream
1 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1. Pre-heat  oven to 200C(400F). Prepare shortcrust pastry as per recipe above and pre-bake as instructed.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C(375F). Place the eggs, cream and dried thyme in a bowl and whisk to combine. Sprinkle the mozzarella or cheddar cheese at the bottom of the pastry shell, place the apples and brie slices in a pattern on top, pour over the egg mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. If your oven only heats from the bottom, as mine does, turn on the grill element for the last 5 minutes of cooking, until top is golden.

3. Enjoy!

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