Monday, 8 August 2011

Broccoli and Feta Quiche

serves 6
The pastry base, uncooked

For the Pastry
2 cups plain flour
4 oz margarine
2 tsp dried mixed herbs (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk

1) Add the flour, the margarine, the herbs, and the salt to the food processor and whizz to make 'breadcrumbs'.
2) Gradually pour in the milk, whizzing all the time, until a ball of dough forms in the food processor.  This should not be too sticky: if it is, add some more flour.
3) Remove from the food processor, knead very briefly, then place in a plastic bag or wrap tightly in clingfilm.  Place in the fridge and allow to 'rest' for about half an hour.
4) Remove from fridge, and roll out thinly (about 3 mm).  Line an 8 inch quiche dish, and trim the edges.  (There is no need to prick the base.)

Preheat the oven to 220C (200C for fan oven).

The Final Result!
For the Filling
7 medium eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
1 small head of broccoli, cooked
100g feta cheese

1) Beat the eggs with a fork.  Add the milk, salt, and pepper, and beat well.
2) Break the broccoli into small florets, and arrange on the pastry.  Pour over the egg mixture.
3) Cut the feta cheese into 1cm cubes, and sprinkle over the quiche.
 4) Place in oven, and cook at 220C (200C) for 10 minutes.  Then turn down the oven to 180C (160C), and cook for a further 25 minutes until browned.  Remove and serve immediately, or allow to cool.

Shortcrust pastry is really easy to make, especially if you use a food processor, which is the method described here.  Alternatively, do it by hand.  The pastry can be made well in advance, and rested in the fridge for anything from half an hour to a couple of days.  (Resting stops the pastry shrinking away from the sides of the dish, and makes it easier to handle.)  Or it can even be rolled out, used to line the quiche dish, and then covered and frozen until you are ready to use it: just add the egg mixture and cook straight from frozen.

There will always be pastry trimmings left over - I used these to line some ramekin dishes, which I have frozen as they are, uncooked.  Then, when I am next using the oven, I can add another beaten egg, etc, to each one and cook straight from frozen. 

The first secret of this quiche is to add more milk than seems intuitive.  This makes more of a soft custard, which sets very flat instead of puffing up.  (And is also more economical, making the eggs go further.)  

The second secret is in the baking.  The first 10 minute blast at 220C cooks the pastry base so that it doesn't go soggy.  This means you don't have to bake blind the pastry, which can be a complicated business.  Then the lower temperature of 180C gently sets the egg.

The filling here is a lovely one - baking makes the feta cheese go all soft and creamy, without actually melting.  I have also gone fancier with this in the past, spreading tomato puree on the base of the pastry and then adding a layer of cooked spinach before pouring on the egg.  But of course, all sorts of other fillings can be used.  The bacon bits, if you fry them first, will make for a classic Quiche Lorraine.  Or fry an onion, add grated cheddar cheese, and then sprinkle some dried mixed herbs on the top.  Voila!  Cheese and Onion Quiche.

This freezes really well, and makes for a good packed lunch.

No comments: