A student's guide to baking

Posts tagged ‘Shortcrust’

Pear and Passionfruit Tart

Pear and passionfruit tart

Ingredients:

Shortcrust pastry:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 55g butter
  • 30ml cold water

The filling:

  • 5 large pears
  • 100ml pear juice
  • 100ml apple juice
  • Cold water
  • 300g passionfruit curd

Recipe:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Whilst the pastry is blind baking, you can make the filling:

  • To make the poached pears, gently peel the skins off the pears, leaving as much of the flesh as possible.
  • In a saucepan, pour the fruit juices and top up with cold water, leaving room in the pan for the pears. Heat the liquid mixture over a medium heat and wait until hot before placing the pears into the mixture. Leave the pears in the mixture over a low heat for 15-20 minutes before removing them and leaving them on a plate to dry. Keep the juices to one side for now.
  • Once the pears are dry and soft, cut them vertically into thin slices.
  • On the cooled pastry base, spread a generous layer of the passionfruit curd. Into this, gently press the pear slices, progressing in a circular direction to create a spiral design. Pour a little of the poaching juices over the pears to coat them.
  • Bake the tart in the oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes.

This is where my journey with shortcrust pastry started. I made this tart with my aunt when she came over for dinner one night after she’d agreed to give me a lesson in pastry. Having never worked with pastry of any kind before when baking, I really appreciated having someone who knew what it was supposed to look and feel like there to be able to direct me when I was first starting out.

My aunt is a wonderful cook and she’s particularly great at inventing dishes and discovering flavour combinations. This one came about after she found some passionfruit curd when out shopping. Sadly it’s not something particularly common, as I’ve not been able to find it since any small supermarkets, and the more common lemon curd probably wouldn’t work in quite the same way. It’s rather a shame, given that the combination worked really well, and the curd was also delicious in its own right!

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Cheddar Cheese and Red Onion Quiche

Cheddar and red onion quiche

Ingredients:

The pastry:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 55g butter
  • 30ml cold water

The filling:

  • 25g butter
  • 2 large red onions, chopped
  • 140g mature cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml double cream
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Recipe:

This quiche starts off with the same shortcrust pastry recipe as my vegetable quiches:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Whilst the pastry is blind baking, you can make the filling:

  • Heat the butter in a pan and cook the onions for about 20 minutes. Stir them occasionally to prevent them from sticking. Once done, remove from the heat and leave them to cool.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl and gradually add in the cream. Stir in the onions and half the grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the mixture into the cooled pastry case and sprinkle with the rest of te cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200ºC until set and golden.

(Recipe adapted from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/6291/sticky-onion-and-cheddar-quiche)

Like the vegetable quiches, this quiche has been another convenient one to make for a busier lifestyle. On the days when I wasn’t going to be back at home around lunchtime, I cut a slice and wrapped it in foil in the morning to take with me. It’s great when it’s fresh out of the oven, but it’s still tastes good when it’s cold too.

Obviously a cheese and onion flan will work with pretty much any type of cheese or onion you so desire, although you might end up with something rather powerful, depending on the cheese you use! Cheddar, whilst hardly the most exciting of lactational produce, is at least usually not too expensive and very easy to come by. As for the onions, I prefer red onions in almost all cases, and so I usually substitute in the more brightly coloured version for it’s paler sibling.

Vegetable Quiches

Asparagus, red pepper and beetroot quiche

Asparagus, red pepper and beetroot quiche

Ingredients:

The pastry:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 55g butter
  • 30ml cold water

The filling:

  • 7-9 asparagus
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 small beetroot, cooked (optional)
  • 1/2 butternut squash (optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • 50ml milk
  • Thyme
  • Black pepper

Recipe:

  • 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)

Asparagus and red pepper quiche

Asparagus and red pepper quiche

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.

 

Ok, so the first time I made a quiche I didn't have a pastry dish, so a cake tin had to do.

Ok, so the first time I made a quiche I didn’t have a pastry dish, so a cake tin had to do.