Sunday, 27 May 2012

Quiche sans pâte

If you know a smattering of French, you're probably thinking I've taken leave of my senses. "Quiche without paté? Has she gone mad? What quiche has pâté in it?" Well, you're right - none of them do. What's crucial is that their is no é making this pastry, not pâté (pronounced quiche sanz pat, literally). So, we're talking pastryless quiche.

If it sounds a strange concept, it's not. It's brilliant. If you're not good at pastry, (like me), it's a revelation. It's quick to prepare, can be made in advance and eaten at just about any temperature from straight out of the oven hot to chilled for hours cold. And it's made out of store cupboard ingredients and perhaps whatever you have in to fill it. With no baking blind, what is not to like?

I first came across quiche sans pâte when a mum (from southern France, of course) made one for a shared buffet - I was going to say Jacob's Join till I remembered it's a Lancashire term. I asked her for the recipe as it was so fab and made my own a few times. Then I managed to lose the recipe. As Googling doesn't produce a recipe in English, I have taken a recipe in French and adapted it for English tastes. It can be made with various fillings - the original recipe used ham but anything that you would normally use to fill a quiche will be great.

There's hardly any prep, unless you choose any fillings that need pre-cooking but don't forget to leave them to cool a little before adding them to the dish. Feel free to use any hard cheese for the filling. Gruyere is not to everyone's taste (although it is best cooked) and a mature cheddar does just fine. You can add herbs if you fancy it.

Oh, one final thing - it's best cooked in a metal/non stick dish. Make sure you grease anything you use really well as eggs will weld to the surfaces. If you use a dish with a smaller diameter (under 25cm), make sure you use a deeper dish to cook it. Small deep quiches may take longer to cook.

Quiche sans pâte
Serves 4-6, with leftovers


3 large eggs
200ml milk
100ml creme fraiche
2 heaped tbsp flour
100g gruyere or other hard cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Optional fillings
4 slices of ham, chopped
100g bacon lardons, fried until crisp
125g mushrooms, sliced and fried
1 red onion, chopped
4 asparagus spears

1. Heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 4 and grease your dish well (I always use butter but you can use oil if you like).

2. Mix all the ingredients (except the cheese) for the quiche together in a bowl with a fork. Add all but a handful of the cheese to the mixture and stir together. Season well. All you need to ensure is that any lumps of flour are broken up.

3. Pour into the greased dish and add your chosen fillings to the dish. Scatter over the reserved handful of cheese.

4. Cook for an hour (although I check it about 35 mins in and if the top is already browned, I turn the oven down). It's done when there is no liquid egg left on the surface and it's all puffed up, although it will collapse again quickly. If you are eating hot, just leave it a few minutes before cutting.

This is great with chips or boiled new potatoes, and for veg, a green salad or steamed green beans.

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