Posted by: Lynette Hart. 25th March 2015
Spring has finally arrived at Ard na Ciuin and the longer days mean our Light Sussex hens are laying more and more eggs every day. Also, at this time of year I usually have a string or two of onions left over from last year’s crop which need using before they start to sprout!
So, a very tasty way to use these ingredients is by making a delicious, mouth-watering quiche – or two, as the first one tends to be devoured the same day!
We have some Dutch friends who live across Ballyduff Glen from us and when they visit Holland at Christmas, we ask them to bring back a whole ‘dutch-farmhouse’ cheese from the market.
This is a hard cheese with a very strong flavour – much like a parmesan cheese, but nicer! I think it works well in the quiche, but you can use your favourite mature cheddar instead.
Don’t be scared to make the pastry base, it’s easier than you think – especially if you have a food processor! The recipe may seem involved, but once you get the hang of pastry you’ll make this time and again.
For the Shortcrust Pastry
200g (7oz) Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
100g (3½oz) butter (cut into small pieces)
1 free-range egg
19 cm (7½in) deep flan tin
For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
175g (6oz) streaky bacon – if you don’t have this use any bacon – cut into small pieces
100g (4oz) onions, peeled and chopped
4 free-range eggs
250ml (9fl oz) double cream
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
25g (1 oz) Dutch farmhouse cheese or 100g (4 oz) mature cheddar
Salt and black pepper to season.
Place the flour, salt and butter in the food processor; whiz until the mixtures begins to clump together – about a minute. Tip the mixture into a bowl.
Alternatively, place the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and ‘rub’ the butter with the flour between the tips of your fingers until you get a fine breadcrumb texture.
Crack the egg into a small dish and lightly beat with a fork. Add half of the beaten egg to the mixture in your bowl, stirring it in lightly; add more beaten egg until the pastry comes together into a ball. Remember; be gentle when mixing by hand.
Flatten the pastry ball between your palms until roughly 2cm (¾in) thick; wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Now you can make your filling.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the bacon and fry until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon. Turn the heat down low and add the onions and cook gently for about 10 minutes until soft but not brown. Once cooked, remove from the pan and leave to cool with the bacon.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c (350°F), gas mark 4 and ‘grease’ your tin with a knob of butter.
Lightly sprinkle some flour on to a board and roll out our pastry. You’re aiming for a roughly round shape – large enough to line the base and side of your tin.
Place a rolling pin on the edge of the pastry and gentle roll the pastry onto the pin; carefully lift the rolling pin over the tin and unroll the pastry in to the tin. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/techniques/lining_tin_with_pastry
Push the pastry into the edges of the tin with your fingers and trim the top edge with a knife. Don’t panic if it breaks anywhere, or there are gaps, just take a piece of the trimmed pastry and push it in.
Place a piece of foil over pastry base and up the sides and fill with ceramic ‘baking beans’, dried pulses or even rice. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pastry feels dry, then remove from oven and remove the foil complete with the baking beans. Leave to cool.
Put the eggs, cream, herbs and cheese in a large jug and whisk together; add the now-cooled bacon and onion and some salt and pepper to season.
Pour into the cooled pastry case and return this to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the centre has set and looks golden brown.
This quiche is great served warm or cold with a salad, or to make a more substantial meal – and to make your quiche last longer – serve with some new potatoes or homemade oven chips.
If we prefer a vegetarian option, in place of the bacon, I add sweet peppers or steamed broccoli; at this time of year we have a good supply of purple sprouting brocoli, yum!
If you have any questions about this dish or would like to comment, please do; and don’t forget, you can share it too by using the icons below.