By Karen Vivers
Leek and Bacon Quiche
I have this thing about ‘Having Something In’. Sounds vague I know, but what I mean is I get nervous at the thought of having visitors and nothing to feed them. I’m sure it’s about how I grew up. I heard the words ‘Oh, I’ll need to make sure I’ve got something in’ so many times it has stuck in my brain. It could be said when we knew people were coming, then it was with purpose, or it could be more of a mused thought of the knowledge that people always seemed to be popping in and out as mum scribbled down her shopping list. It has left me with a slight panic if I have ‘nothing in’ and a feeling of contentment when I know I have ‘something in’.
Then there’s what you should have in. It could be something you buy, biscuits, snacks etc. But, that really is a cop out. In our house the rules were that there had to be a pot of soup on the go, or at least soup that could be heated up (home made broth of course). Then there had to be enough things like tins of salmon, cold meats and cheese, chutneys and pickles to make up sandwiches. And most important of all, baked goods. This would normally come in the form of a of some kind of sweet tea loaf. I carry on this tradition to some extent, although I must confess, I don’t always have ‘something in’ but I do my best. And as my mum did, it is very often a tea loaf, but sometimes I like to have other options, and one of my favourites is quiche. Great to eat fresh from the oven or to have as a bit of lunch when somebody pops by
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
For this recipe I use a springform cake tin that has a diameter of 28cm / 11 in. and is 6cm / 2.5 in. in height.
Ingredients for 6 to 8 Servings
For the Pastry
A little unsalted butter, a couple of tsps should do it, just to grease the tin.
400gr / 14 oz. ready made puff pastry.
For the Filling
1 x tsp olive oil
2 x medium sized leeks, cleaned thoroughly and chopped finely
2 x large garlic cloves chopped finely
250gr / 0.5 lb smoked bacon chopped into small cubes
8 x large eggs
200ml / 6.5 fl. oz. crème fraîche
2 x tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp nutmeg
200gr / 7 oz. grated mature cheese like cheddar, gouda or gruyere
2 x medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
Some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Not too much salt as the bacon can be quite salty.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Roll out the pastry until it more than fits your cake tin. Grease the tin with the butter. I find the easiest way is to take a bit of the paper in which the butter is wrapped and use this to wipe around the inside of the tin.
- Lay the pastry into the tin gently, and still being gentle but firm make sure it fits neatly into the edges. Make sure you have enough pastry to hang over the top of your tin a little. Don’t press it over the rim, just let it hang loosely. This gives a rustic finish and allows for shrinkage of the pastry during cooking.
- Blind bake the pastry for about 20 minutes. I do this by placing some baking paper on top of the pastry and then pouring over dried beans to weigh it down.
- Whilst the pastry is having its first bake you can make the filling. Add the oil to a frying pan and heat it on a medium high heat. Fry off the bacon for a couple of minutes until crisp. Add the leeks and garlic with a little salt and pepper, stir through, set to a medium low heat, cover with a close fitting lid and cook until soft. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir from time to time just to check that the mix is not sticking – if the heat is not set too hot, it should be ok. Check for seasoning and adjust if need be. The amount of salt you need will depend on how salty the bacon is.
- Mix the eggs, crème fraîche, nutmeg and thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl – I use a metal whisk for this.
- Once the pastry has been blind baked, remove the beans spread the leek mix gently and evenly over the pastry base. Sprinkle over the cheese, also evenly. Hold back about a little of the cheese to sprinkle over the top of the quiche. Pour over the egg mix carefully – you don’t want to splash it in as it will disperse your leeks and cheese making some areas a little sparse on the tasty filling.
- Lay the sliced tomatoes carefully over the top and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese.
- Cover the quiche with tin foil and put it back in the oven to back for about 45 minutes or until it is almost set.
- Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes to brown the top and completely set the filling.
Tips and Variations
- If you want to avoid the pastry shrinking, once you have lined the tin, place it in the fridge for about half an hour. As I go for a rustic look with this quiche I don’t bother with this step.
- You can use this method with almost any sort of vegetables. Some need a bit of cooking, others for example spinach (works really well with goats’ cheese) you can just add raw. It’s a great way to use up left over vegetables.
- When cooking or sweating down the leeks, try not to get too much colour on them, ie. don’t turn them brown. It doesn’t matter that much if you do, but it is nice to keep the pale green colour.
Karen Vivers, originally from Scotland, has lived here in Amsterdam since 1997, and has set up the Cooking Coach to help inspire people to get back into the kitchen. The basis of the cooking lessons are easy, tasty, healthy recipes. Each course starts with a free introduction session, to make sure that you only cook what you like to eat.
As well as cooking lessons, Karen offers Culinary Tasting Tours in Amsterdam, is a passionate food blogger, writer, author of “Love Food, Live Healthy” and works freelance as a Business Consultant, specialising in small and medium food businesses, helping them get started, grow and deal with commercial challenges.
Love Food, Live Healthy is ideal for those of us who really enjoy our food, but want to eat consciously without compromising on flavour. Packed with over 100 recipes, this book has lots of practical cooking and healthy eating tips. Designed for cooks of all skill levels, whether you love cooking or just love eating!
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