I’ve churned out so many quiches this year I actually started dreaming about the things at one point. The other day (IRL, not my dream) a woman stopped me outside one of the payday loans shops on Stoke Newington High Street and asked if I was “that quiche lady”. She then demanded to know “when would I be making more?” which was nice and also a little bit weird.
I’ve had to slice production down to just one a week, but it’s really not that hard to whip up your own. It’s all about that all-butter and nigella seed crust. Sounds a bit out there I know, but those oniony black seeds compliment the fromage and sage so well, we’re talking borderline sycophancy. There are some gorgeously bulbous, pungent spring onions around at the moment which sop up the herbal vinegar like nobody’s business. I also like to add a shake or two of frozen peas for random bursts of sweetness. Add fragile pastry, juddering, smoky custard and the sharply savoury bite of the herb-roasted onions into the mix and you’ve got the makings of the most relentless quichey-bliss.
Once you’ve sorted your pastry (I’ve got this down to a 15 minute job) and roasted your onions (both of which you can do in advance) it’s just a simple case of whipping up your dairy products, filling up the pastry and sticking it in the oven for 30 minutes while you crack on with more important things.
(Serves 8 with salad or 4 very greedy people)
For the pastry
125g (room temperature) butter diced
250g plain flour
¾ tbsp nigella seeds
1 heaped tsp salt
Cold water to bind
For the onions
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tbsp finely chopped sage
1-2 cloves garlic
For the custard
150-200ml double cream
100g smoked cheese (I used Applewood)
- Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6 – for a good, crispy pastry base you can also stick a baking sheet in there to heat. Measure your flour into a large bowl. Add the nigella seeds and salt.
- Rub in the butter until crumb-like and slowly add the cold water until it all comes together in a nice pliant dough (if you accidentally add too much water, just sprinkle in a bit more flour to absorb).
- Drape a damp tea towel over the bowl and pop in the fridge to chill
- Line a shallow baking tray with some baking paper. Mix the balsamic, garlic and sage in a medium bowl, and stir in the onions until well coated with the mixture. Sprinkle in the sugar and salt and stir well.
- Pour the onion mixture into the tray and wrap the paper into a loose parcel.
- Roll the pastry onto some lightly greased baking paper and place in a quiche dish, pressing the pastry into the corners and up around the edges. Prick lightly all over with a fork. Pour in some lentils or dried chickpeas to stop it from rising.
- Place the quiche dish on the heated baking sheet for 15-20 minutes.
Place the onions on a separate shelf in the oven.
- Beat the eggs, cream and grated cheese together. Grind in some pepper.
- Line the pastry case with the onions and shake in some frozen peas.
- Pour over the egg mixture and return to the oven for 30 minutes.