There comes a point in any week when you need to use up various odds and ends from the fridge to make a thrifty meal. Today I came eye to eye with some spare rashers of bacon, the end of a piece of Gruyere cheese, most of a pot of low fat creme fraiche, and a few eggs that needed eating up. I decided to make a simple Quiche Lorraine to make use of them. Here’s the recipe.
1. Rub together 200g value plain flour, and 100g sunflower margarine, or if you are feeling lavish, 50g value butter and 50g sunflower or olive margarine. For a cheaper recipe you could use lard to replace some of the fat, or a vegetarian lard alternative. When the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, add a little water to to mixture until it makes a ball that stays clean as you move it around the bowl. Be careful not to handle the pastry too much, or it will become heavy.
2. Sprinkle the pastry with some of the plain flour, and roll it out until it’s slightly larger than the flan dish you intend to use (about 15-20cm diameter). If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a bottle, and if you don’t have a flan dish, any baking tin will do. Drape it over the flan dish, push the pastry into corner or fluting without stretching it too much, then use your rolling pin to cut it to shape by rolling it over the top of the flan dish. Save any excess pastry for later as we have a cunning plan for it.
3. Cover with foil, and bake in the oven at about 175C for 15 minutes.
4. While you are doing this, mix up 250ml of milk, or double cream, or creme fraiche, with two or three eggs and an extra yolk (keep the white to one side as you will need it later), 50g or so of grated hard cheese (Cheddar, Red Leicester, Gruyere, and Emmenthal are all suitable), and some chopped bacon rashers that you have fried in a bit of olive oil. Add some black pepper. For a veggie version, try adding chopped up broccoli stalks, celery leaves or grated carrot instead of the bacon.
5. Remove the pastry case from the oven and spread the inside of it with the spare egg white. Put it back into the oven without the foil for about 2-3 minutes until the yolk has set.
6. Take the pastry case out again and pour in the egg and milk/cream mixture.
7. Put the whole lot in the oven, again without the foil, and cook for about 20 minutes until the mixture has set. Be careful the pastry doesn’t burn – if you think it might do, it’s fine to put a bit of foil around the edge to protect it. The mixture will puff up a lot as it cooks and then will settle again as you take it out of the oven.
And the leftover pastry? Make a dozen jam tarts like this. Roll out the pastry as before, and cut out some circles that fit your pre-greased bun tin. You can use a pastry cutter, or the lid of a jar. Put a spoonful of jam into each one and a teaspoon of water over the top of the jam. Cook in the oven at about 175C for about 10-15 minutes or so, until the pastry is a little brown. Lovely with a cup of tea.