Mini Quiche… Two for One

My love for quiche is a fairly recent one even though I’ve been eating them over the years. Some have been good, others decent, some sinking like lead and most of them way too eggy. The delicatessen counter at a well known 5 star hotel in Mumbai used to dish out a fairly decent spinach quiche, but a couple of bites and my stomach would feel like it had been through a 5 course meal. Can you imagine heading back to work after one of those and hoping you’d get through the afternoon and evening without …. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ….

And then one day I started baking my own pies and quiche… and seldom ate one that was deli or store bought after that.

I used a simple flaky pie crust recipe for these, tweaking it a bit, and adding in some spice, just for fun.

For the Spiced Flaky Pie Crust you’ll need –

1 1/4 cup AP flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon paprika powder

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 cup cold butter (cubed)

3 – 4 tablespoons ice cold water

Mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter and cut it into the flour. I used a cold fork (refrigerated) to break the butter down, and once that was done, I used chilled fingertips (mine, of course, rubbed with an ice cube till hey were short of numb ;-)) to mix the butter into the flour till it resembled coarse breadcrumbs. Now add the icy water, a tablespoon at a time, and working fast knead to form a dough. Cover the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 – 6 hours or overnight.

So now that you’ve got the dough all ready and sitting and chilling in the fridge you can get down to the business of the filling for your quiche.

I decided to make two different fillings, and follow two different methods. The first one had the filling put into the pastry with the custard poured on top, and the second quiche had the filling folded into the custard and spooned into the pastry lined tray.

Now I don’t recall if I’ve said this before, but I’m not really a big fan of full sized pies or quiche. They intimidate me, even though I’m quite aware that I can cut out just the portion I want. But anyway… what, or seriously where would I be without my little quirks, and mind you, I have quite a few of them. So I used my good old inch deep mini muffin trays to make these obviously mini quiche(s).

Quiche # 1 –

Duo of Mushroom with Babycorn*

Duo of Mushroom with Babycorn Mini Quiche

Ingredients –

4 – 5 ears of babycorn (depending on the size) – sliced

1/4 cup button mushrooms (sliced)

small handful of fresh baby oyster mushrooms

1 spring onion (sliced fine)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon butter

 pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly milled)

4 medium cloves garlic

1 large green chilli (sliced down the centre, deseeded and sliced into semi circles)

Toss the spring onion with the garlic in hot oil, add the babycorn and sauté for a minute, before adding in the mushrooms, the butter, chillies and seasoning. Toss on high for a minute and turn off the heat. Keep aside to cool.

*(The filling is enough for at least 12 mini quiche, but I used just half the quantity as I was only making one 6 muffin tray full.)

For the custard you’ll need –

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk (I used low fat milk, but you can use full cream milk if you like)

2 tablespoons sour cream (omit this if you’re using full cream milk)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder (freshly milled)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cut grated cheddar

1/3 cup Cheddar Cheese for topping (grated)

Whisk the eggs, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg, and keep beating. Slowly add the milk, and finally the grated Cheddar. Note that I haven’t used salt in the custard since the cheese will have enough salt, so you don’t really need more.

The custard is enough for at least 14 – 15 mini quiche… so served me well for both the quiche recipes.

Thaw the pie crust for 15 minutes or so before rolling it out to roughly a 2 – 3 mm thickness. Cut out circles using a utter or an inverted circular lid.

Grease the muffin trays with some olive oil or melted butter. Place the pie crust into the trays, evening them out (if required) with your fingertips. Using a fork make a pattern with the tines of the fork in the pastry.

And with a short jabbing motion make 3 rows of holes into the bottom of the pastry, spoon in the mushroom and babycorn mixture, and pour over the custard.

Top with extra grated Cheddar and bake the quiche in a pre-heated oven at 210° C for 20 – 25 minutes, or till the quiche have set.

Quiche # 2

Pan-roasted Eggplant and Zucchini

Creamy Pan-roasted Eggplant and Zucchini Mini Quiche

Ingredients –

4 large slices (1 cm thick) eggplant (pan-roasted and chopped)

1/2 small zucchini (sliced, pan-roasted and chopped)

1 – 2 tablespoons oil for drizzling over the eggplant and zucchini before roasting

! large jalapeño chilli (deseeded and sliced)

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper

1 tablespoon grated Cheddar  (+ extra for topping)

Combine the above ingredients, and fold into the custard (you’ll need about a cup plus of the custard). Spoon the mixture into the prepared pastry lined muffin trays (I did not tine-design these), grate some Cheddar over the top of each quiche and bake them in your pre-heated oven as before.

A glass of wine would be just perfect now wouldn’t it?

Have a great day!

Spicy Minced Meat Puffs

If you read my earlier post on Strawberry Tarts, you’ll know that I owe this one to Kamran Siddiqi of the sophisticated gourmet, whose quick puff pastry recipe makes these puffs what they are… buttery, incredibly flaky and oh so delicious. Kamran’s pastry recipe is neutral and can be used for both sweet and savoury tarts or puffs, and in this recipe it provides a perfect home for the spicy minced meat filling, tempering down the heat of the ground spices and the chillies. I couldn’t stop eating them.

For the Spicy Mince filling you will need –

1 1/2 cups of beef mince (you can use chicken or vegetables)

I medium red onion – minced

*1 1/2 teaspoon cumin

*20 black peppercorns (you can use less if you like)

*5 cloves

*(dry roast and pound in a mortar)

1 teaspoon ginger garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon paprika

4 green chillies – chopped (you can use less and remove the seeds if you like it less spicy)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

squeeze of lime

3 tablespoons chopped coriander

Fry the onion in the oil for 5 – 7 minutes till light golden. Add the salt and continue to fry for 2 – 3 minutes on a medium flame.

Add the chopped chillies and all the ground and powdered  spices and roast for 3 – 4 minutes on a very low flame, stirring constantly. Be very careful that the spices do not burn.

Finally add in the minced meat and roast it along with the spices, before adding in a 1/4 cup of warm water and cook the mince covered for about 15 – 20 minutes or till all the liquid has evaporated.

Add the lime juice and the fresh chopped coriander and turn off the flame. Allow the minced meat to cool completely before using it in the puffs.

For the Puffs –

You will need 1 egg for the egg wash, apart from the puff pastry dough.

Roll out the dough to about 3 – 4mm thickness and cut into squares 31/2″ x 31/2″. Place about a tablespoonful of the minced meat in the centre of each square and brush the edges with egg wash.

Fold over to make a triangle.

Brush the tops of the puffs with the egg wash and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 35 – 40 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.

These puffs make great party snacks or even an evening treat… and are perfect for a light lunch served with a side of lettuce, sliced red radish and red onion rings in a light vinaigrette dressing.

And believe me when I say that they taste even better than they look!

Strawberry Tarts

I love pastry, especially flaky pastry… never mind the loads of butter and the the griping about the hips. Because as my grandma once said, “they’re family hips child”. So if anyone wants to know… I got hips in my legacy. And I’ve learned to live with it.

But getting right back to pastry, I’ve been dying to make puff pastry ever since I could say… Julia Child. But making a pâté feuilletée from scratch is no small task. In fact if you follow Julia’s directives, a regular pâté feuilletée should have 73 layers and a pâté feuilletée fine 730 layers.


Now pardon my French, s’il vous plait, but I honestly got intimidated by the prospect of 73 layers, let alone 730. Here I am, standing 5′ 3″ and no where near the build of that great dame. I mean seriously, think of all the muscle that has to go into rolling out pastry dough. And before I cuss again I think I should get on with letting you in on how I finally managed to crack the code. All with the help of a young man named Kamran Siddiqi and his website, the sophisticated gourmet.

“Thanks Kam for the easy puff pastry recipe”… because voilà, suddenly the ghost of Julia lifted and I was hands deeps in mounds of fine white flour and yellow knobs of frozen butter. And life was looking up.

So here’s my modest attempt at a Strawberry Tart. I had planned to put in a splash of balsamic, but since I was going to take some across for my mother who cannot have anything tart at the moment (and no… that doesn’t include tarts… oh! never mind!) I decided to go without either balsamic or lemon juice and simply dredged the fruit in icing sugar, topping the strawberries with fresh rosemary.

I was so wrapped up in making the dough that I forgot to take any pictures, but my camera happy finger got back into action once it was time to roll out the pastry

Doesn’t everything look lovely with icing sugar?

Chicken, Peas and Parsley Pies

I love butter and I love pastry. But working with it is a challenge in Mumbai where the temperature is anything from hot to hotter to hottest. So I stuck my hands in ice cold water and rubbed them with ice-cubes to keep them cold.

I made these pies in a muffin tray. Individual servings,  perfect for a light lunch or dinner… or even as an in-between-meals kinda snack.

You can fix yourself a salad on the side, in case you feel guilty about all that butter in the pastry, and want something to cut that fat… But it’s quite unnecessary.

These pies don’t feel heavy on the stomach at all… and butter is in any case good for the soul.

Chicken and Parsley Pies

P is for Pastry, Pies, Puffs… err..Quiche???

An ode to Pies, Puffs, Quiche n Pastry in general…

To butter, shortening, lard, flour, cold hands and everything else that goes into making them the treat they are…

To finally mastering the art of the perfect pâté feuilletée some day soon…

And to Julia Child, who despite being the messiest cook there was on camera, will remain the grand dame of French Cuisine.