Before Easter Sunday 2015 I had never made quiche in my life. Cronuts from scratch? Yes, several times. Fiddly macarons? Ditto. But for some bizarre reason I had a quiche phobia and avoided them completely… unless someone else was doing the baking (my mother is the queen of quiche Lorraine). Well I finally overcame my (completely unfounded) fear this Easter because the dish I had originally planned to make (the crab linguine) was off the menu due to lack of crab. So it was blue cheese and salmon quiche to the rescue and it was a complete success – phew!
So much so that I have made it three times in the past month – twice to serve at dinner parties since it can be so conveniently made in advance and reheated when you are ready to eat. I won’t lie to you though – quiches are a little time consuming. You have to: make the pastry, chill it, roll it out, line the tin, chill again, blind bake and bake again with the fillings – a weekend project in other words.
All this work is worth it in the end, judging by the fact that all my quiches have disappeared in one sitting, and you can vary the fillings to your taste and seasons. I used salmon and some delicious Oxford Blue cheese sent to my by the Cheese Market – if you are a cheese lover you can waste a happy hour looking at all the amazing types of cheese they stock. They even do cheese wedding cakes which sounds kind of amazing. If you prefer a milder taste, use half blue cheese and half soft and creamy goat’s cheese.
- Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl your food processor and chill for 30 minutes. Cube the butter and shortening and keep chilled.
- Pulse flour, sugar and salt until combined. Add the cubed butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Combine vinegar and water and add to the dough in a slow drizzle while pulsing. Stop when the dough forms clumps. You may not need to add all the water or you may need to add a touch more if dough is crumbly.
- Divide the dough onto two pieces of cling film. Use the cling film to press the dough together into a disk. Cover with another piece of cling film and chill for an hour.
- Roll the dough out to a 35cm/14inch round, lift using your rolling pin and fit over a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed tart tin. Use your fingers to gently press the pastry to the tin and let the edges hang over. Pierce the bottom with a fork, cover with cling film and chill for half an hour.
- Preheat the oven 1o 190C (375F). Line the tart tin with baking paper and fill with baking beans or dried pulses. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is beginning to brown at the edges. Remove the baking paper and weights and return to the oven. Bake for a further 10 minutes, trim the edges and cool slightly.
- While the pastry shell is baking, prepare the filling. Lightly season the salmon fillets with a little salt and then pan fry in vegetable oil until cooked through. Let them cool down then flake the flesh with a fork, discarding the skin. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, cream and milk. Add the chopped parsley, mustard powder and nutmeg and season with a little salt and pepper. Lightly mix together and set aside.
- Place the tart tin on a heavy baking tray. Sprinkle the cheese, cooked and smoked salmon over the crust. Carefully pour the custard over the filling so that it fills all the crevices and comes almost to the top.
- Bake until just set in the centre, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan if using and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
- Let the quiche cool for at least ten minutes then serve with a light green salad – watercress goes really well with the flavours here.