Quiche is a delicious savoury tart with incredible versatility that holds up with almost anything your fridge or larder has to offer. Think of it along the lines of a frittata with pastry and you’ll begin to understand the length of possibilities in terms of fillings. The recipe for this one uses a classic combination of bacon and mushrooms with the flavour amped by some fresh thyme leaves. However, feel free to go Mediterranean with some crumbled feta, sundried tomatoes, and basil or spinach. Or indeed some roasted peppers, torn ham, and caramelised onions. I am also going to attempt to debunk the myth about pastry that has seemingly perpetuated the mindset of home cooks. I won’t condescend with a sort of head tilt superiority and pretend like the first time I made pastry it was perfect, it wasn’t but also nor was it a disaster either. Indeed far from it but over time, with a little practice and know how you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it before, especially shortcrust. This pastry is essentially a combination of flour, fat (in most cases butter) and bound (brought together) with a little bit of liquid (anything from water to egg).
For this to happen all that you need is simply patience, a little time, and a whole lot of cold. For the pastry it is essential that the butter is very cold, I would even recommend leaving it in the freezer for some time before adding it to the other ingredients. From here you can grate it from frozen which makes the whole process even easier, especially if you don’t have a food mixer or processer. In fact, in terms of crisp, crumbly pastry, as mentioned above cold is an essential component needed to make good shortcrust pastry. Make space in your freezer for your tart tin before you begin this recipe. Another technique used here is that of “blind baking”. This is where you bake the pastry case on its own first before adding a wet filling so as to avoid the now wildly known coined term of “soggy bottom”. To help with this task, you need to cover the pastry in greaseproof paper and baking beans. Make a cartouche (a circle of baking paper) and crumple it up in your hands, and follow by unfolding the paper back out again. You’ll notice that the greaseproof has become much more pliable and useable. Repeat this action another few times. This allows that when placed over the uncooked pastry, and the baking beans added, the paper will mould easily into every corner of the pastry, giving an even bake.
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