Monday, 3 November 2014

Quiche

Quiche

Custard, crust and cheese makes up a savoury pie better known as a Quiche. The area of Lorraine in France takes credit for popularising this soft creamy dreamy dish. Best served warm, a perfect Quiche is best described of the fine balance of setting the custard filling. Bake it at a low heat;it must not boil but set just right; Firm to the eye and touch yet with a bit of a jiggle in the center when you shake it. Only then is a Quiche simply perfect!!


Served with a fresh green salad sprinkled with a light vinaigrette makes for an ideal lunch.


There are many variations of the Quiche that originated centuries ago (surprisingly in Germany and not France). The word itself is borrowed from the German Kuchen meaning  a cake.

Legend has it that leftovers of bacon were added to a custard initially to make this a savoury cake. As it moved over the borders to France via the areas of Lorraine and Alsace some leeks/ green onions and cheese were predominantly added to make it Quiche Lorraine!!

In the early 1900's it was considered a "ladies" dish; and commonly people mentioned that real men do not eat Quiche!  Much like Real men do not wear Pink? But thankfully times have changed all of that. It is common to find it on menus all over the world (including many men enjoying a slice wearing a bright pink apparel) with variations that may have other vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, corn and a choice of meat - yet the custard and cheese being a constant in this crinkled shortcrust pastry.






Cheese and Leek Quiche

soft and set, cooled to perfection and ready to serve.






Leek, Ricotta and Cheddar Cheese Quiche


Pastry Shell

1 1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup salted butter
3 tbsp cold water
 In a bowl  sift the flower and salt. Cut the butter in with two knives. Alternately use your index and middle fingers, just the tips, gently mixing it until it looks like a bowl of little pebbles. Now add water and bring the dough together.
Cover the bowl with a wet tea towel; the wetness should not be touching the dough itself. Leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a piece of parchment. It should be larger that the desired dish size.
Flip it over the dish and gently pat it down. Cut the edges off with the help of a knife. Prick dots into the pie and bake in a preheated oven of 350F/180C for 15 minutes till it is barely cooked and just dry. Cool for 10 minutes before filling.

Filling

2 tbsp salted butter
2 finely chopped Leeks
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese/paneer
1 cup shredded sharp assorted cheddar
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cup whole milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked mixed pepper corns
a few drops of tabasco
1/4 tsp sugar

Saute the leeks in 2 tbsp of butter until just soft.

Cool and keep aside.
Beat the eggs with a fork in a large bowl , add the milk, cream, tabasco, sugar, salt, cracked peppercorns. Keep it aside.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on the cooked pastry shell. Top with ricotta/paneer and leek.
Now pour over the ready liquid custard all over.
Bake it in a preheated oven of 400F/200C degrees for 5 minutes and  lower the temperature drastically to 275F/135C degrees and allow it to cook for 20 minutes. Check the quiche, It can look set and golden brown but must have a perfect  jiggle in the centre yet not be liquid or runny. Turn off the oven, wait for another 7 minutes and  then remove from the oven. Let it rest for 15 minutes do not cover the quiche. Serve warm. Not piping hot.

Tips
Grate the cheese through a larger hole of the grater rather than a finer one.
Use your favourite hard  cheddar cheese. Choosing one dark and one light cheddar will make it more interesting visually when cut.
Paneer/Ricotta should be preferably older and not fresh. The fresh soft one will release a lot of water spoiling the texture of the quiche completely. When baked the once old and hard paneer magically turns into light fluffy delicious bites.
Jalapeno cheese is a great alternate for those who love a sharp bite in their food.
Be adventurous and add a herb or two if you have some in the house, basil, chive or tarragon are  great choices.
Substitute leek with green onions/spring onions using the whole sprig including the green end of it. 2 leeks should be equal to approximately 10 to 12 green onions.


Do not reheat. 

For more interesting recipes click

Niloufer's Kitchen:Winter
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G2US0EK




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