17 August 2012

* Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine Recipe
Pastry and I - have been at war - since around 1995. I finally waved the white flag of surrender, about 10 years ago when my mum sat in my kitchen, giving clear directions on how to make pastry while I gave it one last shot... then sat back amazed at the end result and said "You're right. You can't make pastry!" I did tell her. She wouldn't listen. I had to show her. I was actually victorious in my proof of failure. "See, mum - I told you... hah!".

Idiot.

About a year or so ago, I had eggs, cheese and crème fraîche that needed using up and I had an urge to make a quiche, but had no shop bought pastry, so I thought "What the hell, one last try". It turns out that I had merely surrendered the battle and not the war. I won the war. I just needed a magi mix. I love my magi mix. My magi mix is my hero - when hubby isn't in the room, of course.

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Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Serves 8 - 12

Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time - for fan oven - 40 minutes, plus 10 minutes to chill the base

You will need
A 23cm/9inch fluted flan tin, preferably with a loose bottom to enable easy removal after cooking.
A frying pan

Ingredients
All butter pastry
175g plain flour
100g butter - cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp water

The filling
150g bacon (any kind) - chopped into lardons
1/2 onion - chopped
50g strong cheddar or gruyère - grated
200ml crème fraîche
200ml double cream
3 eggs - beaten

Method 
To make the pastry, put all of the ingredients into a food processor. Using the pulse button - pulse until it binds then tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a ball shape and roll out as thinly as possible then line the flan tin with it. Trim the pastry edges to just fractionally above the level of the flan tin - this helps with shrinkage - saving the trimmings (you might need them later). Use a small piece of the trimmings now, as a tool to press the pastry into the fluted edges, gently. Lightly prick the base with a fork then leave in the fridge to chill for ten minutes.

Heat oven to 190c/fan170c/gas 5 and place a baking sheet in it.

Line the chilled pastry case with foil, shiny side down and fill with baking beans - I have little porcelain balls that do the job. Place on the hot baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans - very gently, sometimes it sticks to the pastry and use your trimmings to fill any cracks or holes that have appeared in the pastry. A wet finger helps to bind the uncooked pastry to the cooked... I don't mean suck your finger than use it - I mean run your fingers under the tap! Now put the pastry case back in the oven, on the baking sheet for another 3 minutes.

While the pastry is cooking, make the filling. Heat a small frying pan and add the chopped bacon and fry for a minute until it starts to release any fat, then add the onion. Fry until the bacon begins to colour but not crisp up. Try not to burn the onion. remove and drain on kitchen paper - you don't want a greasy quiche!

When the pastry case is cooked, scatter 3/4 of the cheese and all of the bacon and onion over the base.

Lower the oven temperature to 180c/155cfan/gas 4

Beat together the crème fraîche and double cream, then add the beaten eggs and thoroughly combine. Season with a little pepper- you shouldn't really need salt. Pour into the pastry case, over the bacon et al then sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cook for about 20 minutes, or until golden and softly set - there really should be a tiny little wobble in the centre of the quiche, so if you're feeling brave - shake it and see what happens.

Let it cool in it's tin for about 5 minutes before you turn it out, if you're serving it hot. To me, it is sacrilege to serve a quiche hot, it's too spongy and eggy - when a quiche cools down it has so much more flavour and the texture is almost silky.

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