So, my daughter’s teachers are not particularly impressed with my punctuality or my dedication in supervising my daughter’s homework. And I guess putting her in a pink dress with a cheap pink headgear makes for the least impressive costume (other parents made costumes w accessories).
And so what if I only started packing biscuits for my daughter to take to school when they told me that she is eating other people’s food. And never mind that the biscuits were store-bought, and always either Oreo or Chipsmore.
When the teachers asked me to bring food for some holiday programme they were conducting, I thought there’s my opportunity to impress upon them that I am not tardy or incompetent….because I can bake quiche. Heck, I am impressed with myself for being able to make quiche!
The only reason I even attempted to bake quiche was because my friend Vivien totally demystified it. She is married to a Frenchman, and a good cook, so she knows stuff like this. Her instructions were to use store-bought shortcrust pastry sheets, and use three eggs and a small carton of cream, and whatever filling I want.
And that really is all there is.
Rolled-out store-bought pastry sheets takes most of the work out of baking quiche because then it’s just a matter of lining a pie dish, and baking it blind for 15-25 minutes. I have since learnt to make the shortcrust pastry too as it’s actually not hard, and it’s actually easier than driving to a supermarket that stocks the pastry sheets.
A food processor makes the job almost effortless, but I’ll admit that I needed to practise a few times before I got the hang of rolling out the pastry and transferring it on to the pie dish. What works for me is rolling the dough between two sheets of baking paper because it’s easier than worrying about the pastry sticking to the work surface. There is also less cleaning up to do; just throw away the paper.
But there are loads of useful videos on YouTube to learn how to do this.
If you want to make shortcrust pastry from scratch, here’s the Donna Hay recipe I use.
Basic Shortcrust Pastry
(Makes 350g pastry to line a 25cm pie dish)
2 cups flour
145g (5oz) butter
2-3 tablespoons iced water
Process the flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
While the motor is running, add enough iced water to form a smooth dough.
Knead very lightly, them wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30minutes. When ready to use, roll out on a lightly-floured surface until 3mm (1/8in) thick.
To bake blind, top the pastry lined pie dish with a piece of non-stick baking paper, and weigh down with beans or rice. Bake in an oven preheated at 180C for ten minutes. Remove the weights and paper, and bake for another 5 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Once the pastry is done, it’s just a matter of deciding what filling to use. I love tomatoes, so I tend to use them a lot. Some good combinations are bacon and mushrooms (and tomatoes), or chili tuna (and tomatoes), or spinach and feta cheese (and tomatoes) or just loads of tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Leek is good too, and one of my all-time favourite is caramelised onions (Claudia Roden’s Onion Tart from the Book Of Jewish Food).
Mix three eggs and a carton of cream (200ml), season with salt and black pepper, and beat until well-mixed.
Line the pastry case with the filling, pour in the custard, and sprinkle with cheese (whatever I have in the fridge).
Then, bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 40 minutes, and you have baked a yummy quiche.
Anyway, here’s the detailed recipe for a Bacon and Mushroom Quiche.
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry (refer to recipe above),
or 1 sheet of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry sheet
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
150g streaky bacon
200g mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tomatoes, sliced
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line a 25cm pie dish with the rolled out pastry sheet, and blind bake the pastry shell and leave to cool (refer to recipe above).
Heat the olive oil, and saute the garlic.
Add the bacon, and fry till fragrant
Then, add the mushrooms.
Fry for a few minutes, and then set aside.
Fill the quiche case with the bacon and mushroom filling.
Beat the eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
Then, pour the custard over the filling, and sprinkle with the cheese.
Decorate with the tomato slices.
Bake for 40 minutes or until set.
So, yeah, I can’t bake a cake but I can do quiches. And I love them warm, or even stone cold from the fridge.
I don’t know if the teachers were impressed with my quiches; they haven’t said anything. They probably thought I bought them anyway. Doesn’t matter because I am mighty pleased with myself, and I resisted the impulse to cut out a piece and taste them before I handed them over.