I used to HATE quiche. I couldn’t fathom why on earth grown-ups thought a slice of stone-cold, flaccid, eggy tart – like a lifeless pizza substitute – was a viable choice for the buffet table at any family gathering or event. Mind you, I used to hate eggs in general and couldn’t stomach so much as an omelette, so I probably wasn’t in a position to judge.
As with many other types of food, I’ve grown to like eggs (apart from hard-boiled, blurgh) as I’ve evolved from a fussy child/teenager into a proper, fully-fledged ‘adult’ (on the outside anyway) with a more accommodating palate. While the pre-packaged, slightly deflated-looking quiches you find in the supermarket still don’t appeal to me, I really fancied having a go at my own version, with homemade pastry and served warm from the oven. How hard could it be? Well, not at all as it happens!
I’m all for buying pre-made pastry, and even just the thought of attempting my own puff or filo makes me want to go for a lie down, but making shortcrust from scratch is ridiculously easy. Obviously, if you’d rather use the bought stuff to save time that’s absolutely fine and will work just as well, but I’d recommend giving it a go yourself if you can.
My mum requested a veggie quiche for the buffet tea we had on her birthday, and the flavours here are gorgeous, but you could add anything you like really. Bacon, mushrooms or chorizo would also work well in place of the sundried tomatoes. I like this quiche best served warm, fresh out the oven, but it’s also delicious cold.
For the pastry:
- 225g/8 oz plain flour
- 115g/4 oz butter or margarine + a little extra for greasing
- Splash of milk
For the filling:
- 3 eggs
- 150g/5 oz cheddar cheese, grated
- 80g/3 oz sundried tomatoes, thoroughly drained from their oil and snipped into small pieces no bigger than a 5p piece
- 300ml/10 fl oz milk
- 1 tbsp plain flour
For the pastry:
- Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and then rub in the butter/margarine using your fingers until crumbs form.
- Add a splash of milk and bring together to form a ball of dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour and if it’s too dry and crumbly, add a splash more milk.
- Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C (or 180 fan) and lightly grease a flan dish with butter/margarine.
- Roll the pastry out with a rolling pin on a floured surface until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin and place over the prepared flan dish, gently pushing it into the grooves.
- Trim off the excess pastry with a knife and squidge back into a ball, then roll it out again and cut out the heart shapes with a cookie cutter (or just keep the excess pastry for another time if you’d rather). Place the hearts on a rectangular baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Pop the pastry case and hearts in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes until the pastry is dry and slightly browned. Turn the temperature down to 160 degrees C (or 140 fan).
- Place the flan dish and pastry hearts on a wire rack and allow to cool before making the filling.
For the filling:
- Beat the eggs together in a mixing bowl, and then stir in the cheese, milk, flour and sundried tomatoes.
- Pour the mixture into the cooled pastry case in the flan dish.
- Put the dish back in the oven and bake for a further 25-30 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the quiche comes out clean.
- Place the quiche on the wire rack and allow to cool slightly, then arrange the pastry hearts on top. Enjoy hot or cold!