I am going on a pastry course next month. I was lucky enough to win a bursary from the East Dulwich WI to attend a course at Denman, the WI college in Oxfordshire. Until then (any lets face it, probably afterwards too), I will be using ready made puff pastry to make my quiches. They’re not something I’ve made for a long time, not because they’re a little unfashionable, more because the amount of calories in a slice of proper quiche is a bit mental and the best part of my daily allowance when I’m counting them! As my Wii Fit is currently out of action and I’m not able to weigh myself, sod it, lets eat quiche with abandon.
I made this quiche a few days ahead to take to a friend’s house to watch The Great British Bake Off. I just left it to cool, kept it in the cooking dish with a foil lid for a couple of days i the fridge and then took it to my friends to reheat in the oven for half an hour or so. No soggy bottoms here (although I’m quite partial to a soggy bottom to be honest and I don’t look at slightly underdone pastry like its going to poison me until kingdom come unlike Mr Hollywood).
You could quite easily mix up the vegetable/meat ingredients to include what you have hanging around, that it the joy of the quiche. Caramelised onion would be a great addition/substitution, as would peppers or regular ham instead of bacon. Just make sure that anything included is cooked first.
I tried a fancy pants crust on this occasion for the first time, inspired by some avant-garde pictures I’ve seen on Instagram and the Google. It didn’t go amazingly well as you’ll see so don’t feel bad about just leaving the quiche crust raw or with just a mild crimp or light forking (ooh-err!).
Serves 6 – 8
1 pack Ready Rolled All Butter Puff Pastry
6 Large Closed Cup Mushrooms
1 Medium Courgette
300g Smoked Streaky Bacon
1 ball Mozzarella
300ml Whipping Cream (or Single)
1 tbsp Fresh Chives
Generous handful Grated Cheddar Cheese
Sea Salt Flakes
Use Frylight Spray to lightly coat the inside of a tart/flan/pie dish.
Tip – I prefer a deep filled quiche so I use my stoneware Spode pie dish (10.5″) for these sort of occasions. Use what you have, a large spring form cake pan would work too but line it to reduce any leakage potential. You might want to halve the filling ingredients if using a shallow flan dish.
Roll out 1 pack Ready Rolled All Butter Puff Pastry a little more than it is already rolled – to a little larger than the dish you are using, taking into account the depth too. I took it out of the packet, folded it in half and then rolled out from there. The extra fold isn’t required but it does deal with the cracked rough edge from the middle of the roll.
Tip – You can roll the pastry out using a rolling pin and a light dusting of flour straight on your work surface. I don’t have a rolling pin and loathe scraping stuck pastry off the counter top so I lined the counter with cling film and then used the cling film roll as my rolling pin. I just tore of the bit I rolled with before chucking the roll back in the drawer. The cling film on the counter was rolled up and chucked in the bin, containing all of the excess dusted flour. Minimal mess. Lovely.
Lay the rolled pastry into the pie dish and gently press down into the corners. press down the couple of inevitable folds and using a sharp knife, trim off the excess pastry.
Put the lined pie dish into the fridge to chill while rerolling the cut off pastry into a long strip. Using a sharp knife, cut 6 thin strips of pastry – trying to keep the thickness as even as possible. Press 3 of the strips together at the top and gently plait the strips. Try to keep the strips flat. Gently press the 3 ends together to complete the braid. Repeat with the second 3 strips.
Reroll the remaining scraps and cut out small stars – I used 22 in the end and used the littlest cookie cutter from my star set. You could equally cut leaves or any other shape you fancy. Cover the braids and stars with cling film while you start on preparing the fillings.
Slice 6 Large Closed Cup Mushrooms into thickish slices and fry on a high heat with some Frylight Spray and Sea Salt Flakes. Fry until they are dry, nicely browned and cooked through. Put aside on a plate to cool.
Slice 1 Medium Courgette into half moons and cook in the same way as the mushrooms then place aside to cool.
Using scissors, snip 300g Smoked Streaky Bacon into little pieces straight into a frying pan and fry, again on a high heat, until just before the fully crispy stage – you want the fat to be a bit crispy but the meat still a little soft. Take the bacon out of the pan to drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool.
Whisk 4 Eggs and 300ml Whipping Cream together with generous pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Snip in around 1 tbsp Fresh Chives and stir in. Set aside.
Take the chilled pastry crust out of the fridge and lay the mushrooms then courgettes then bacon pieces into the base of the crust.
Tip – I added most of the fillings before decorating the crust so I didn’t knock the crust while filling it. I didn’t go as far as adding the wet mix as I didn’t want it to have time to soak into the pastry and for me to drop the decorations in it and ruin them! I could have added the Mozzarella at this stage however but I forgot!
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Whisk 1 Egg in a small bowl and using a pastry brush, wet the edges of the crust and underside of one pastry braid.
Tip – I prefer my silicone brush to a traditional nylon brush but if you have neither, you can use a regular paint brush (well washed) or if you’re really stuck, just use your (well washed!) fingers.
Lay the pastry braid around the rim of the crust and press down so it sticks. Wet the underside of the second braid and repeat – hopefully the braids will meet – trim off any excess but if they don’t, don’t worry, just make sure that the gap between them is the same each end – you can cover the gap with the stars.
Using the stars, wet the underside of each and lay on the crust either to fill the gap or to cover the join. Pattern them however you fancy.
Use the egg wash mixture to glaze the top of the crust.
Tear 1 ball Mozzarella in small pieces and scatter over the bacon.
Tip – Make sure the mozzarella is very dry – all of the excess water needs to be drained off, in fact using the totally inauthentic blocks of mozzarella which don’t come in liquid would be kind of ok in this instance. I use kitchen roll to squeeze out the moisture.
Pour the egg and cream mixture into the pie dish. I used my fingers to mix up the layers of ingredients a little at this stage, just enough that the egg went under some of them, not so much that the even distribution was too disturbed.
Scatter a Generous handful of Grated Cheddar Cheese over the top of the filling and pop into the oven for 60 minutes.
The filling should be set but a little wobbly in the middle and the top golden brown. If you’re brave, you can check that your bottom isn’t soggy by turning the quiche out gently onto a plate or chopping board. If the top is looking golden brown before the pastry is cooked through, cover the top with foil before giving the quiche another 5-10 minutes cooking as required.
You’ll see that my quiche filling basically ate my fancy crust which shrank quite a lot. I know that chilling the crust should combat shrinkage but this was well chilled and I don’t know why it happened! Don’t get me wrong, its a damn fine looking quiche, even if I say so myself (and I do!) but I will be quizzing my pastry instructor at Denman about where I’m going wrong – I’ll let you know!
Serve warm, either straight after cooking or warmed though in the oven or, if its just for a quick lunch, and you don’t mind your pastry being not so super crisp like I don’t, give it a minute or two in the microwave – perfect for an office lunch. Maybe with a bit of salad if you’re the classy sort!