I decided to single out the quiche in this week's Don't Call Me Chef (Singled Out) — the link will be up asap — because, well, its a dish that deserves the spotlight.
I remember the first time I tasted quiche. I was 27 and my boss at the time took a group of us out for lunch at her favourite cafe. I scanned the menu and couldn't decide what I wanted. I then glanced at the array of tea time treats at the counter and this lovely tart caught my eye. I had no idea what it was. I spied mushrooms and onions and I saw the lovely crust. I wanted that! I ate that!
It was love at first bite. Not surprising since I love eggs and cheese and a nice, buttery crust!
I've loved quiche ever since. Love it so much, I was determined to learn to make quiche so that I could have it anytime a craving hit.
So anyway, in the name of research for my article, I rolled out a whole bunch of quiches. I wanted to experiment with crusts (I made a shortcrust, a rough puff pastry and thin breadcrumb crust as well — more on this later).
I also wanted to test the versatility of the quiche — using an array of ingredients not usually used like artichoke and beetroot. I also made a three-cheese quiche. And then I made a mushroom one, a broccoli quiche and finally one with tomatoes — oven roasted, of course.
I only had two pie dishes so I baked one in a rectangular cake dish. Turned out nice!
I didn't make it all at one go, of course.
Here's what I discovered in the process:
* Bake the quiche in the lower rack of your oven so the crust at the base can cook through without browning the top of your quiche.
* Beetroot is a delicious filling. Plus, the pink is so pretty, albeit a little unsettling at first!
* A shortcrust that combines both plain and wholemeal flours is really incomparable.
* When baking an all-cheese quiche, hold back on your seasoning as the cheese are salty enough. A little pepper is all you need. Also, I'd suggest Mozzarella or Gruyere as the primary cheese and Parmesan as the secondary one. (use 2/3 mozzarella/Gruyere and 1/3 Parmesan).
* Milk is a good substitute for cream.
Here's the basic recipe for the wholemeal shortcrust (my favourite) and one for the egg custard.
300g flour (200g plain flour and 100g wholemeal)
150g cold butter
pinch of salt
4-5 tbsp ice cold water
Sift the flours and the salt. Using a knife, cut the butter into the flour into small pieces so that it is well coated with flour. Then using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour till the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the water, a little at a time, until a dough forms. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Form into a disc, wrap with clingfilm and chill for at least 30 mins.
Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and using a rolling pin or your palms, flatten it into a circular sheet, about 1/2 cm thick. Transfer onto your fluted pie plate/dish and press the dough gently in. Trim the edges.
With a fork. puncture the base all over. Line the base with baking paper and then weigh it down with some uncooked beans or a oven proof dish.
Bake in a preheated oven (180C) for about 20 mins. Remove the beans/paper and bake for another 5-10 mins.
1 cup milk/cream
1/2-3/4 cup cheese(mozzarella, Gruyere, emmentel, cheddar or a combination) + extra for garnish
Beat the eggs with the milk/cream and add the cheese. Season.
Prepare the filling. If you're using a filling that is high in moisture like mushrooms or onions, it's better to cook them lightly on the stove top first to draw out the moisture a little.
Once the pastry has been blind baked, remove from the oven and arrange the filling in the shell. Pour the custard to cover the filling and garnish with cheese.
Bake for 35-50 mins (lower rack please!)