My mum was visiting a couple of weeks ago. She came in on a Friday evening and I made a quiche before going in to work that morning. I made the crust Thursday evening and cooked the stuffing and baked the quiche the following morning.
I was pleasantly surprised at how the crust turned out. I think I’m going to use the crust recipe as my go-to pie-crust recipe now on. I’ve come across various pie crust recipes over the past few years, read some and marked to try later, tried some and screwed up and well, thought some were too tedious to try at all. This one, however, seems like the one recipe I want to stick with. The last couple of steps on how to bake the dough into a crust came from this post. The recipe for the stuffing is entirely my own.
For the Crust:
(makes one 9-inch quiche crust)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100g) salted butter (typically the smallest slab of Amul butter that you can buy at a supermarket), cold and cut into cubes
1/4 cup very cold water
1/2 teaspoon sugar (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if you intend to make a sweet pie, 1/2 a teaspoon is good for savoury recipes)
1. Sieve the flour, salt and sugar to make a homogeneous mixture.
2. In a large bowl, add half the butter cubes to the flour mixture and use a hand blender or a food processor to mix this, for a couple of minutes. Then, add the second batch of the butter and mix for another couple of minutes. At this point, you should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many fairly visible pieces of butter, about the size of regular pulses.
3. Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water to the bowl and mix for a few seconds. Add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, running your blender through the mixture after each addition, until the mixture just about begins to come together. Your test for this is that when you pinch some of the crumbly dough, it will hold together, if it’s ready. If not, just add a little more water and blend again.
4. Set the crumbly dough mixture out onto a clean, smooth (preferably cool) surface. Use your hands to press the crumbly dough, into a disc like shape.
5. Knead the dough until it comes together. Make sure you do not over-do this because it might result in your pie crust becoming a little tough. You probably *do* want to see little specks of butter in your dough. I have explained why in the “Notes” section, below.
6. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour on all sides. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, at least.
7. When the dough has chilled long enough, pull it out of the refrigerator and place it on a smooth, clean, lightly-floured surface. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, so that it is easy to work with and roll out.
8. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and roll it into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch.
9. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line pie/quiche dough parchment paper, wax paper, a cookie sheer or aluminum foil, pressing into the corners and edges. Fill the pan at least two-thirds with baking weights – dried beans, rice or aluminum pie weights.
10. Bake the dough for 15 minutes. Remove it from oven and let it cool a few minutes.
11. Carefully remove parchment paper and weights.
12. Using a fork, poke holes into the bottom of the pie crust.
13. Bake the crust in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden.
14. Let the crust cool for a few minutes before it is ready to use (after the filling is made).
1. The colder the butter, the better your chances creating a flaky crust. When making pie-crusts or quiche-crusts, ALWAYS use cold butter. If you already have a plan at hand, make sure you chill/freeze the butter for a good while before you set out to make the dough.
2. Try to use as little water as possible. Too much water will make the crust tough.
3. When kneading the dough, if you want an extra flaky crust, you must press the heel of your palm into the crumbly dough, pressing the dough down and outwards onto the surface you are working on. This is, apparently, a French technique, called “fraisage”. Repeating this process 4-6 times for a nice, flaky crust.
4. Why is it ok to have little pieces of butter being visible in the dough when you knead it? It is because when you bake the crust/dough, these specks of butter will melt and the butter will, thus, help the dough separate into flaky layers.
5. At the end of point 6 in the method, above, you can actually wrap the dough up well and freeze for up to a couple of weeks.
6. Towards the end of the procedure described above, I mention poking holes into the crust. This is to help any air in the dough escape.
7. The baked crust can be wrapped in clingfilm and refrigerated for up to a couple of days, for use later.
For the stuffing:
1/4 kilo minced chicken
1/2 cup kernels of corn, boiled and ready to use/eat
1 cup of spinach leaves, blanched and roughly chopped
Salt, to taste
1-2 teaspoons of herbs, of choice (I used thyme. You could use oregano or a jar of mixed herbs)
1-2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper
A pinch of red chilli powder (cayenne pepper), if required
1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
A handful of black olives, sliced
Olive oil, to cook
1. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onions and saute them until they lose their colour and just begin to get caramelized. This will take 7-10 minutes or probably even more. Don’t let the onions brown too much. Add the garlic and let this cook for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the chicken and the herbs and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add the spinach and the corn and cook for a few more minutes.
4. Add the salt and some red chilli powder, if you like.
5. Add the olives in at the end and cook for a last few minutes.
For the Quiche:
1 quiche/pie crust, as per recipe above
Stuffing, as per recipe above (or any stuffing of your choice)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 tablespoons of milk
Grated cheese, of your choice (I used a mixture of mozzarella and sharp cheddar)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 Fahrenheit)
2. Mix the egg with a few tablespoons of milk.
3. Fill the quiche crust with the stuffing.
4. Pour the egg mixture over this, making sure you pour the egg in at the edges, so that the stuffing adheres to the crust.
5. Liberally top this with grated cheese.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. To check if the egg is completely cooked, use the usual knife test that one would use for cakes. Slide a knife into the centre of the quiche, it should come out clean.
7. Cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.
My mum quite liked the quiche. I loved it. I need to get around to making more quiche crusts (or pie crusts, for that matter) and experimenting with a variety of sweet and savoury stuffing.