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Asparagus Quiche

We’ve finally arrived at the season when we can enjoy vegetables produced in this country rather than imported from afar. Home grown asparagus is a perfect example of the pleasures of eating seasonally; both its flavour and freshness are unsurpassed. So, for this month i have chosen a quiche recipe which showcases the delicate taste of asparagus and also celebrates its renowned affinity with eggs. Shop bought pastry is fine if you’re short of time, but it’s worth making your own shortcrust if you can – a simple job if you have a food processor.

Buy a strong, firm bunch of asparagus with fresh, hearty buds. The lower ends of the stalks are often tough and stringy so either cut or snap off the bottom 2 – 4 cm and discard. The spears need to be lightly cooked, and i recommend softening them by frying gently, which both retains and concentrates their flavour.

I have included a little cream in the filling but it’s fine to use only milk. The quiche can be eaten warm or cold, accompanied by a green salad. Leftovers will keep for several days if wrapped and refrigerated.

Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 25g wholemeal flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 80g cold diced butter
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • (or 1 packet ready-made shortcrust pastry)
  • 250g asparagus
  • 15g butter or 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 50ml single cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50g grated cheddar or Gruyere cheese

Method

For the pastry:

You will need a 20 – 25cm flan dish.

To make the pastry, either rub the butter into the combined flours with your fingertips, or pulse together in a food processor until the consistency resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the cold water and bring together to form a ball. Press into a disc shape, lightly flour your work surface and using your flan dish as a guide, roll the pastry into a large round.

Carefully lift the pastry onto your flan dish, bringing the dough up the sides and easing it into the corners so that it doesn’t tear. Cut away the surplus from around the rim, and crimp the edges if you wish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (overnight is fine).

Or, simply roll out the ready-made pastry in the same way.

When you are ready to bake the quiche, preheat the oven to 180⁰C, gas 5. Place the flan dish on an oven tray and cover the pastry with a sheet of foil or baking parchment weighed down with baking beans or rice to prevent it from puffing up. Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the paper and beans, and continue baking for another 10 minutes, until it is a light biscuit colour. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 160⁰C, gas 4.

For the filling:

Take a large frying pan and gently heat the butter or oil. If your spears are long, break them in half and fry them over a low heat, turning frequently, until they are fairly soft. Season with salt and pepper. You may need to add a splash of water if they start to brown too quickly.
Measure the milk and cream into a large jug, break in the eggs and season well. Combine thoroughly with a whisk.

To assemble, arrange the cooked asparagus spears on the pastry case, and gently pour over the milk/egg mixture. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or longer if necessary. The filling should no longer be liquid, although a slight wobble in the centre of the flan is fine, as it will continue to set as it cools down.

Allow to cool in its tray for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on May 01, 2023