- 125g plain flour
- 55g butter
- 30ml cold water
- 7-9 asparagus
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 small beetroot, cooked (optional)
- 1/2 butternut squash (optional)
- 3 eggs
- 50ml milk
- Black pepper
- Start by preheating your oven to 160ºC and grease a medium-sized pastry dish with butter and a little flour.
- To make the shortcrust pastry, start by adding the butter in small cubes to the flour in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter.
- Use a knife to stir in the water, adding it a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to bind together.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool before using.
- Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge. Lightly flour a surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry until it is large enough to cover the base and sides of your pastry dish. Transfer the pastry to the dish, making sure to press it gently into the base and sides.
- Cover the lined dish with greaseproof paper and fill with rice or dried beans to hold the pastry down in order to blind bake it. Bake for 20 minutes at 160ºC.
Whilst that’s baking, you can make the filling:
- If you’re using butternut squash, I like to make this into a mash to line the bottom of the quiche. This stops the base from becoming soggy and it adds another taste and texture to the quiche. Chop up the squash into large cubes and boil for about 20 minutes. Once the squash is tender, remove it from the heat and drain the water. In a pan or flat-based bowl, mash the butternut squash using a masher or a fork until smooth and even.
- Steam the asparagus lightly until it’s soft and tender.
- Chop the bell peppers, and beetroot if you’re using it, and put them to one side.
- Beat the eggs and mix together in a measuring jug.
- Once the pastry has finished blind baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the rice or beans and the greaseproof paper.
- Sprinkle thyme and black pepper over the base of the quiche.
- Next, spread the butternut squash mash over the seasoned base, and then add your beetroot, red pepper and asparagus. Depending on the quantity of asparagus, I like to use them as spokes for the design on top, or build a crossed lattice structure inside to ensure good coverage.
- Once your vegetables are in, pour over the egg and milk mixture, making sure that it fills the quiche but doesn’t spill over. Be warned: if you’re using beetroot, the mixture will start to go pink from the beetroot juice, but don’t worry about it.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 160ºC.
- Once the quiche has finished baking, remove it and let it cool. Season the top with black pepper, and you’re done!
(Recipe adapted from: https://gumroad.com/l/MYX and http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/shortcrustpastry_1278)
In many respects, quiches are rather a useful meal idea for students: you can make one at the beginning of the week and have it last the next 7 days’ worth of lunches when paired with some salad bits, and they’re good for using up any vegetables you may have lying around. Providing it’s not too watery, you can put it in a quiche.
I started doing just this halfway through my second year of university. I’d make the quiche on a Sunday afternoon, reading for my next essay whilst waiting for it to cook, and then I’d have a box of salad leaves to go with it for lunches throughout the week, which meant that I didn’t have to spend an extra half an hour every day making lunch when I was in the middle of working. During the 8 weeks or so in which I made these religiously, I experimented with various flavours, going from just using asparagus and red pepper in the first quiche, to adding in butternut squash mash and beetroot later on.
Many supermarkets will stock ready-made shortcrust pastry, but after a lesson in pastry with my aunt, I realised that it’s really not that hard. It’s a relative simple process, and the ingredients are the kind of staples that any regular baker will almost always have in the cupboards, and it tastes better too.