Following on from my post about my recent course at Denman College and the Tart au Citron with a sweet short-crust pastry, here is the recipe for the second type of pastry that we made; savoury thyme short-crust. We used this to make a simple Bacon and Gruyere Quiche. The pastry quantity we were given made just enough pastry for a small (15 cm) quiche but the filling made enough to fill nearly 2 of those so I have scaled the pastry up to make a larger (20cm) quiche.
Many of the tips I picked up and shared in my Tart au Citron post apply here. I’ll endeavour to not repeat myself so if you’re looking to up your pastry game, please have a read through that post first. I will also try and corral all of these tips into a pastry section on my Tips page soon.
Being honest, I prefer my Smoked Bacon, Courgette, Mushroom, Chive and Mozzarella Quiche to this one. But next time I make that, I will be using this herb pastry instead of ready made puff as I did before. Lets face it – I think double cream is the way forward in a quiche filling! My second confession is that although I have labelled this quiche to serve 8, I ate the best part of a smaller version in a morning to myself. It turns out I’m a quiche fiend. You’d guessed that already hadn’t you?
I also apologise for the lack of photos in this recipe – I clearly got distracted by the actual baking!
Ingredients for the Thyme Pastry:
180g Plain Flour
2/3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
Sea Salt Flakes
Ingredients for the Filling:
90g Gruyere Cheese
450ml Whole Milk
Sea Salt Flakes
Start by making the pasty.
Sieve 180g Plain Flour into a medium mixing bowl and add 90g Butter torn into small pieces.
Tip – Make sure the butter is good and cold.
Remove the leaves from 2/3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme and add to the flour and butter along with a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes.
Tip – Adding the thyme now means that the leaves will get rubbed along with the butter which will release the natural oils and increase the herb flavour throughout the pastry. You could really taste the difference here.
Using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Tip – This rubbing in method is the more traditional way to make pastry rather than the creaming method used in the Pate Sucree. Technically you could use the creaming method here but realistically you have nothing to cream the butter with (sugar is used in the Pate Sucree) so you’d simply be whisking the butter and its not worth doing. Also the rubbing in method is kind of therapeutic.
Tip – To bring the larger lumps that need more rubbing to the top of the bowl, give the bowl a shake and watch them magically rise to the top.
Add cold water to the flour mix 1 tbsp then 1tsp at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding more. Stop adding water as soon as the dough comes together.
Tip – There is a surprisingly little water needed so go easy. If you do go too far, just add a little more sieved plain flour.
Lightly knead the dough out of the bowl for 20-30 seconds until smooth then wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for 3o minutes.
Lightly oil a loose bottomed 20cm tart tin.
Once the dough is chilled, unwrap it and roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until a little bigger than tart tin, including the sides.
Line the tin with the pastry, making sure the pastry is pushed right into the corners of the tin then trim the excess pastry away by rolling the pin over the top. Using your fingertips, gently ease the pastry up the sides a little to combat shrinkage.
Tip – Unlike with the sweet tart, this pastry case is not blind baked as the pastry would be burned before the filling is properly cooked.
Tip – As before, don’t be tempted to prick the base of the pastry, this just increases the chance of leakage and soggy bottoms.
Pop the lined tin into the fridge to chill again whilst making the filling.
Use scissors to cut 250g Bacon into small pieces directly into a frying pan. Fry the bacon until your preferred level of done-ness. I like mine quite lightly fried. Set the bacon aside to cool a little.
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Finely grate 90g Gruyere Cheese.
Combine 450ml Whole Milk, 3 Eggs, a pinch of Cayenne and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes in a mixing bowl.
Take the tart tin out of the fridge and sprinkle the bacon over the pastry base.
Sprinkle the grated gruyere over the bacon then place the tin onto a baking tray.
Pour in the egg and milk mixture then (carefully) put in the oven
Check the quiche after 20 minutes. It is ready when the filling is just set. I like my quiches, like most of my food, quite underdone so I took mine out of the oven when it was a light brown – cook it a little longer until is more of a golden brown if you prefer.
Leave to cool before taking the quiche out of its tin.
It looked like I had a problem – my filling had overflowed all over the baking tray and the tin was vaguely glued to the pastry. With a bit of wrangling with a sharp knife around the sides and a large knife worked between the tin base and the pastry base, I managed to release my quiche to the comment of “Oh, its not too bad!” from our tutor. In isolation it could have been considered a very backhanded complement but having just discussed the likelihood of the spillage causing a super soggy bottom, I was just as surprised by the result as she was! Actually I was super pleased how mine turned out. Just cooked and very tasty, just how I like it.
Slice and serve with something dull and traditional like new potatoes and a side salad. Or just sit down, tear off pieces with you hands and eat the whole thing like I did! Or go on a picnic.