Friday, September 10, 2010

Sealed with a quiche

I was pretty excited when one of my favorite music artists released her new record. Sara Bareilles' Kaleidoscope Heart most definitely did not disappoint! I can't pick just one favorite song, but at the moment Uncharted and Hold My Heart are my most played. If you haven't gotten hold of her new record yet, go out and get it. And I mean right now! Don't miss out on another amazing record by this talented lady.

I was singing some of her songs as I made Spinach Quiche today. It was a pretty tough day because I was alone in the kitchen. No one was there to help me with the photos but I managed to do everything, albeit I was pretty tired afterwards. I made the dough, washed my hands, took photos, washed my hands, made the cream and egg mixture, washed my hands, took the photos, washed my hands, cut up the spinach... You get the idea. In hindsight, this is a funny way to show my dedication. I have a goal, you see. I made a baking and cooking notebook with select recipes I really want to accomplish. Whether or not it was a success, I take pictures and write notes on the page, chronicling what happened. This is the first recipe I chose to make from my General Cooking notebook, though technically I did bake this...

Quiche is basically a French pie made of eggs and cream/milk, along with some chopped meat, vegetables and cheese. The crust is usually blind baked, which I will teach you later on. The fancy name should not make it daunting for anybody to try making this, because it's actually pretty easy.

I actually did not follow the recipe I wrote on my notes. It became a combination of several recipes, plus the Shortcrust pastry I learned from watching Rachel Allen: Bake! Easy, yummy crust. Quiche is actually pretty flexible, depending on what you want to put in there. This quiche was mostly made up of Spinach but since my brothers all like bacon, I decided to put a little in there even though I generally don't like bacon because, well, it's oily. I also put some onions to add a little extra something. Next time I'm thinking about putting in button mushrooms, just because I love them.

A note to consider though, in your choice of cheese for the quiche, I wouldn't recommend going past 1 1/2 cups if you want to use all-Cheddar. Cheddar is a pretty salty cheese, and it overpowers pretty much everything else. I would recommend using half Cheddar, half Swiss (Gruy√®re is a good choice, says Rachel Allen). I did see a recipe somewhere using only Swiss cheese, met with positive comments, so I guess you can do that too.

Ingredients for the Shortcrust pastry:
Adapted from Rachel Allen: BAKE!

200g flour (short of 2 cups)
100g butter, cut into cubes
1/4 tspn. salt
1 egg, whisked

Procedure for the Crust:
Bring together butter and flour with your hands until flour begins to resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Add half of whisked egg and mix together, still with your hands, until dough comes together. If half of the egg is not enough, add more of the egg until a dough forms. I used 1 whole egg.

Wrap dough in cling wrap and flatten over a small flat metal tray. This metal tray will help your dough cool faster as you refrigerate it for around 30 minutes.

When ready, put the chilled dough between 2 large cuts of cling wraps and roll. Using this technique saves you the trouble of flouring your counter, and avoids adding more flour to the dough. Roll the dough slightly larger than your 9-inch pie tin.

Flip the dough using the bottom cling wrap into the tin and cut off the excess at the sides. The cling wrap will help keep the dough from falling apart. Now we blind bake the crust for about 20 minutes. Blind-baking is important as it prevents the crust from being soggy when it is baked with the egg and cream mixture.
First put the cling wraps you used to roll the dough into the pie tin and pour uncooked beans/rice on top. This will help push down the bottom of the crust to prevent it from puffing up as it is being pre-baked. Make sure to fill the tin all the way to the top to prevent uneven cooking of the crust. Use the cling wrap to seal the beans/rice and put the pie tin with the crust and the beans/rice into the oven at 350F for 12-15 minutes. This will also serve as your preheating stage. Take this time to prepare your quiche filling (below).

After around 12 minutes, remove the tin from the oven and take the beans/rice and the cling wrap off. Return the pie tin into the oven for another 5 minutes to let the crust bake on its own. Take it out of the oven and proceed with putting in the quiche filling.

Ingredients for the quiche:
6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chopped baby spinach
1/2 kilo bacon, cooked in olive oil and cut into thin shreds
1 cup onions, cooked until slightly clear white in same pan used to cook the bacon
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper and mix together using a wire whisk. You may also use a food processor or blender if you wish.

On your blind-baked crust, layer the spinach, bacon, onions and cheese, starting with the spinach at the bottom. Pour in the cream and egg mixture on top.

Bake for around 50 minutes until the egg mixture is set, and the crust has turned golden brown.
The quiche is very savory and yummy. In fact I have already received a request to do another one for a gathering on the 25th. You can add your own ingredients to make it feel more like your personalized quiche recipe. Like I mentioned, I would love to add mushrooms to this the next time I make one. And also maybe a little more spinach? Perhaps next time I will make that Rachel Allen Quiche Lorraine instead.

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