Some people think that you are allowed to put anything you want on a quiche. But I’m not so sure
This is an asparagus quiche, but you could use broccoli if asparagus isn’t in season. You could vary the cheese you use, but you do need a hard, firm cheese. So perhaps Comte or Gruyere, or even a hard blue. You could also add a bit of cumin. Use this egg to cream ratio and you have yourself the perfect quiche base upon which to carefully build other flavours without going crazy.
- For the pastry
- 170g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 50g lard
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp 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 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 200ml double cream
- 200g cheddar cheese, grated
- sea salt and freshly
- ground black pepper
- crisp green salad, to serve (optional)
First, make the pastry. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the pinch of salt. Add the lard and butter and rub them in with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk with the water and lightly whisk, then add to the flour mix and use the back of a knife to combine, then use your hands to bring the mixture together to a firm dough.
Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured board or work surface and knead it gently. Cover or wrap it in cling film and transfer it to the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes.
While the pastry rests, prepare the vegetables for the filling. If you’re using asparagus, snap off the woody stems (feel along the stem until it bends) and blanch them in boiling salted water for about two minutes (depending upon the thickness of the asparagus), until just cooked. Drain well. If you’re using broccoli, trim the stems and blanch them in salted boiling water for two minutes, until just cooked, then drain well.
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.
Roll out the rested dough on a lightly floured board or work surface to a 25cm disc about the thickness of a £1 coin (about 3mm). Carefully use the pastry disc to line a 20cm, loose-bottomed fluted tart tin, pushing the pastry into the edges and grooves. Trim the excess to neaten. Chill the tart case in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Prick the base of the chilled tart case all over with a fork, then line it with scrunched-up baking paper and pour in some 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 pastry case for 20 minutes, until lightly golden, then remove the paper and beans and return the case to the oven for a further 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the tin.
Turn the oven down to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.
While the tart case is cooling a little, make the filling. In a pan, add the butter and cook the shallot and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, then add the egg yolks, egg, cream and cheese to the bowl. Give it all a good mix to break up the eggs and combine the ingredients, and season with salt and pepper.
Line the base of the pastry case with broccoli or asparagus, then pour in the egg and cheese mixture. Bake the quiche for 25 minutes, until the filling is set to the touch and golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, then remove it from the tin to serve. I like to serve it slightly warm, with a crisp green salad on the side.
Extract from The Weekend Cook by Angela Hartnett (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26) Photography © Jonathan Lovekin