Quiche is quite possibly my favourite thing to cook. I went through a period of quite a few months where I was making quiche about once a week. I kept tweaking the recipe, trying different doughs, different fillings and just generally being amazed by how easy it is to throw a quiche together yet how good it looks and tastes, how versatile it is to take for lunch or to a party, to eat hot or cold, with just about any kind of salad you can imagine. If you’ve never made one, now is the time to start!
Leek and mushroom quiche
My ultimate shortcrust pastry recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s pate brisee:
- 140g flour
- 100g cold butter, diced (add 1/2 tsp salt if using unsalted butter)
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- Cut the butter pieces into the flour with a pastry cutter (a fork will also do in a pinch!).
- When the butter pieces are pea-sized, add the minimum amount of water and mix with a spatula rather than your hands.
- Run your hands under a cold tap. Once the water’s mixed in, use your hands to bring the dough together, adding more water if absolutely necessary.
- Cover and chill the dough in the fridge while you make the filling.
Everything I know about making pastry started out with the excellent Smitten Kitchen guide on the subject. My favourite tips are to keep everything cold, use a pastry cutter rather than a food processor to ensure the butter pieces don’t end up too small, and to use as little water as possible – just keep working that dough and it will come together (but keep your hands cool by running them in more cold water if necessary).
It’s amazing how quickly it becomes second nature and you can’t imagine buying store-bought pastry ever again. Unless you want puff pastry in which case you should definitely buy it in the shop.
The leek and mushroom filling was inspired by Jamie Oliver who sweats his leeks for 30 minutes on a low heat to really soften them and let them turn sweet. What a difference it makes!
- 4 portobello mushrooms, chopped or about 2 cups chopped mushroom of another variety
- 2 large or 4 small leeks (Jamie chops the white part of the leeks in big chunks and the green part more finely)
- a knob of butter
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 3 free-range eggs
- 235ml dairy (Creme fraiche, sour cream or single/double cream all work if you’ve got them. I even use skimmed milk in a pinch and it’s fine but the other options will give a richer taste.)
- About 100g grated cheese (Gruyere would be kick-ass here, or a mix of Cheddar and Parmesan is quite nice, or if you like blue cheese (gross!) that would also work.)
- Melt the butter and a bit of oil in a frying pan. Add the leeks and heat for a few minutes.
- Add thyme and seasoning, reduce heat and cover.
- Leave to cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes (if your hob is electric like mine be careful the leeks don’t burn while the burner cools down).
- Add the mushrooms after about 20 minutes to cook with the leeks for the final 10 minutes.
- While the filling is cooking, I roll out the pastry (top tips on rolling here!) and ‘bake blind’ with some baking beads for about 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. This helps avoid a soggy bottom. Ha!
- Whisk together the eggs and dairy and some seasoning. Then stir in the mushrooms and leeks once they’ve cooled slightly. Add most of the grated cheese too.
- Remove the crust from the oven. Pour in the filling and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Let cool before serving, ideally removing it from the tin and cooling on a rack.
Serve with a salad or whatever you fancy. I developed a bit of an obsession with this simple but perfect grated beetroot and carrot salad. If you think you hate beets, you have to try them grated in a salad, it is a totally different experience! Or avoid the beets if you must but definitely make some quiche – with peppers, spinach, courgettes, broccoli, asparagus, leeks, caramelised onions, herbs like dill or thyme, with all different kinds of cheeses – the possibilities are endless. Yum.
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