Some people think you can put whatever you want on a quiche. But I'm not so sure. It's actually pretty hard to make a good quiche and one of the best quiches I've ever had was made from a Simon Hopkinson recipe - it was just onions, onions and more onions, cream and cheese.
This is an asparagus quiche, but you can use broccoli if asparagus is not in season. You can vary the cheese you use, but you need a hard, firm cheese. So maybe Comte or Gruyere, or even a hard blue. You can also add a little cumin. Use this egg-to-cream ratio and you have a perfect quiche that you can add other flavors to without going overboard.
The Weekend Cook by Angela Hartnett (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26) is available now. Photography by Jonathan Lovekin.
FOR THE PASTRY
- 170g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 50g lard
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 yolk
- 2 tablespoons iced water
FOR THE FILLING
- 2 bunches of asparagus
- (about 800g) or 200g purple sprouting broccoli
- 15g salted butter
- 1 banana shallot
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 yolks
- 200ml double cream
- 200g cheddar cheese, grated
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- crisp green salad, to serve (optional)
- First, prepare the dough. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the pinch of salt. Add the lard and butter and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the yolk with the water and whisk lightly, then add to the flour mixture and use the back of a knife to combine, then use your hands to bring the mixture together into a firm dough.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured board or work surface and gently knead it. Cover or wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 20 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the vegetables for the filling. If using asparagus, cut off the woody stalks (touch the stalk until it bends) and blanch in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus) until cooked. Drain well. If using broccoli, cut off the stalks and blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes until cooked, then drain well.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C (fan oven)/Gas 6.
- Roll out the rested dough on a lightly floured board or work surface into a 25cm disc the thickness of a £1 coin (about 3mm). Gently use the disc of dough to line a 20cm wide-bottomed fluted tart tin, pushing the dough into the edges and grooves. Trim excess to make it neat. Place the pie pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Prick the bottom of the cooled pie pan all over with a fork, then line it with parchment paper and pour in baking beans (or use dried beans or uncooked rice, if you don't have baking beans - you can reuse the beans, but don't eat them! ) Blind bake the dough for 20 minutes, until lightly browned, then remove the paper and beans and return the dough to the oven for another 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly in the pan.
- Turn the oven down to 180°C/160°C (fan/gas 4).
- While the tart pan cools slightly, prepare the filling. In a frying pan, add the butter and cook the shallot and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft but not colored. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, then add the yolks, egg, cream and cheese to the bowl. Mix well to break up the and combine the ingredients, then season with salt and pepper.
- Line the bottom of the baking pan with broccoli or asparagus, then pour in the and cheese mixture. Bake the quiche for 25 minutes, until the filling is firm to the touch and golden brown. Let cool slightly, then remove from pan to serve. I like to serve it slightly warm, with a crisp green salad on the side.