Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Baker's Corner: Cheesy Mushroom Quiche


Guess what I've been doing the past few days? I've been running around like a headless chicken trying to make sure I get everything I'm supposed to do, done before we leave for our three week holiday to India tomorrow! Usually I get started on packing at least a week (if not more) in advance but this time, I've just been swamped with so many other things that I just got my suitcase down from the storeroom yesterday night. For me, that is as last minute as it can get! I'm almost certain that I'll leave something behind and that gets me overwrought. I'm quite an obsessive packer so I usually have a game plan, a couple of lists, reminders and what not to help me along the way. I even put a lot of thought into picking what books I carry along to read during the holiday. For this visit....zilch....zero....nada! But I'm done with completing all the pending tasks at work, getting the house in order, shopping for loved ones and I even managed to bake something special to take with me so it is not all bad 😊


Anyway, moving past my dreary packing woes, this year, one of my resolutions is to try and experiment with different cuisines and dishes that are outside of my comfort zone. Another one is to hone my baking skills. Since I began baking at the start of 2012, I've mostly baked simple cakes, puddings and a few varieties of bread. I did try a more complex layered cake, the scary souffle and the intimidating molten chocolate cake but nothing more. Baking is a creative outlet for me. I love the magical transformation of ingredients, the moment of surprise when you pull something out of the oven, the heavenly scent that fills the kitchen and the moment of accomplishment when you slice into your creation and discover it to be just perfect (okay that doesn't happen all the time!). This year and next, I hope to feature cheesecake, macaroons, eclairs, tarts, pies and more savoury bakes on my blog.


Pies have been on my baking radar right from the beginning of my baking journey but I never got around to making any. Whenever I think of a pie, I invariably think of the sweet kind and not savoury. Ever since I discovered what a quiche is, I've wanted to make it at home. A crispy pastry crust layered with sautĂ©ed vegetables, topped off with an egg and cheese mixture and baked till golden....hell yeah! That is totally my kind of thing 😊 I had forgotten all about quiches until I saw one in a blog that I follow. The recipe looked really simple and I already had all the ingredients with me so there was no reason not to march straight into the kitchen and get cracking on it. 


It is generally recommended that for a quiche, for 1 large egg, you use 1/2 a cup of dairy (full-fat milk). The eggs I get from my supermarket are of medium-size so for 3 eggs, I use 1 cup of milk and I find that this ratio works for me. This particular recipe is an extremely simple one with only a handful of ingredients which makes it great for beginners, but the good thing is that this dish is wonderfully versatile. You can add other veggies and greens into your quiche like spinach, leeks, zucchini, bell peppers, brocolli, sweet corn and cherry tomatoes. Just remember that your filling should be as dry as possible (i.e. cook the vegetables till the moisture is evaporated). You can play around with the ingredients that you think will add an interesting element of texture and flavour. Also, you can add parmesan or gruyere cheese along with the cheddar for added flavour. Serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner....this is a sure fire crowd-pleaser in any situation! I will hopefully try different versions of this quiche in the future. 

From this recipe, I made one large 12-inch quiche but you can also do two 6-inch quiches or a 9-inch quiche and four mini-quiches. I wasn't very sure if the quiche would come out in one piece and I had brutal visions of the crust collapsing or crumbling or something but as you can see from the picture, nothing of that sort happened!

I might be missing in action for a while. But then again, I might find sudden inspiration from somewhere and blog during my holiday as well....you never know! Whether or not I keep my space running during the next three weeks, I have some exciting recipes coming up so stay tuned  😊

So without further ado, here is the recipe. I hope you try it (and like it!).

Cheesy Mushroom Quiche 

Preparation time: 30 min
Baking time: 35-40 min
Makes: A large 12-inch quiche (8-10 wedges)
Serves: 2-3
Recipe category: Main course/French
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

For the pastry:
200gm plain flour 
100gm chilled unsalted butter, grated or cut into small cubes
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 beaten egg, keep cold
1/2 tsp salt

Optional seasonings for the pastry:
1/4 tsp italian herbs
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the filling:
200gm mushrooms of your choice, sliced (I used Swiss brown mushrooms)
1 large onion (or 2 medium red onions), chopped
3 pods garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried Italian herbs
Freshly ground black pepper, as required
Salt to taste
1 cup full-fat milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
3 beaten eggs
a pinch of nutmeg, Optional
a sprinkling of red chilli flakes, Optional 
1 tbsp oil

Method:

For the pastry:

1. Grease you pie dish with butter. You can also dust with flour and remove the excess flour. 


2. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together. Mix in the optional seasonings (if using). Add in the grated or chopped butter and mix it lightly with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the cold beaten egg and bring the dough together. Do not overwork the dough! If it is not coming together as a dough, you can add a few drops of ice cold water (but I didn't have to). Refrigerate the dough for 10-30 mins.


3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Roll it out about 1/2" thick and make sure it is of uniform thickness. If you find it difficult to roll, gently tap down the dough with the rolling pin.

4. Gently transfer this rolled out dough over the greased pie dish. The dough is quite delicate so it might tear in places. If that happens, don't panic. You can easily do a patchwork with the overhanging dough and make sure that all areas of the pie dish is covered with the dough. Press the dough down lightly at the bottom and along the sides until uniformly thick all over. As you can see, mine is far from perfect but a quiche is quite forgiving so it doesn't matter. 


5. Refrigerate this crust for 10 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Blind bake the pastry crust for 10-15 mins before adding in the filling. This prevents the crust from becoming soggy. You will have to line the pastry with baking paper and put in baking beads. f you don't have baking beads, you can use dried kidney beans (rajma). If you don't want to blind bake, you can proceed as below. 



To prepare the filling:

1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions until golden brown. Add in minced garlic and fry for 1-2 mins. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft and all the water has evaporated from the pan. This may take a while so please be patient. Season with freshly ground pepper, salt and dried italian herbs and mix well. Cool completely.




2. Break 3 eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Add 1 cup of milk to the eggs. Add in the grated cheddar cheese, nutmeg, a pinch of salt, black pepper and red chilli flakes. Whisk well.


To assemble and bake:

1. Layer the onion-mushroom mixture evenly over the pre-baked pastry.


2. Gently pour the milk-egg-cheese mixture until it reaches 3/4th the level of the crust.


4. Bake until the top turns golden brown and the crust turns golden - about 35 to 40 mins. I advise you to place a tray under the quiche as it may drip. 


5. Cut into wedges and serve while still warm.


6. You can pair the quiche along with a fresh garden salad 


Notes:
  • You can replace the plain flour with whole wheat flour
  • Some people use crisco instead of butter to make the pastry crust but that is up to you (I personally don’t use crisco)
  • You can add in chopped spinach in the filling to make it more nutritious
  • You can add in some grated parmesan to the egg-milk mixture or top the baked quiche with parmesan shavings for extra flavour 
  • If you don’t eat eggs, skip the egg from the pastry and for the filling, you can replace the eggs with extra firm tofu blended to a smooth paste with plain milk and seasonings (but I'll be honest I find that very weird!)
  • It is generally recommended to blind bake the quiche at 180 deg C for 10-15 min before adding in the fillings. This prevents the crust from getting soggy. Or you could directly add the filling in and bake. I have made this quiche both ways and they turn out well

Cheers,
Megha

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely! I will for sure try this recipe- looks great! Tempting pictures:-) I hope you got all together. Have a lovely vacation in India! (we just got back to India after vacation in Europe...) Oh aren't we global minds:-) Enjoy!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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