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!


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Smoked Chicken Noodle Salad with Lychees and Sesame Seeds

I’m in the mood for nice light lunches… errrr… brunches, especially since it is the weekend.

What else can you do when its blazing hot outside and the rain clouds are nowhere in sight, but to make yourself a pitcher-full of margaritas or pour out a nice cold beer, pop a movie into the DVD and eat something light and tasty.

I was thinking salad… a noodle salad. Now I must say that I prefer my noodle salads cold rather than hot, especially when the temperature outside is hovering dangerously close to the 40° C mark… and when lychees are in season.

Oh yeah… you heard me right. Lychees… yummm

I had contemplated keeping the salad vegetarian, but then a rather delicious breast of smoked chicken called out to me and begged to be added. And I couldn’t refuse. Tossing in a plump but rather spicy green chilli, which I deseeded.

Here’s the list of ingredients for this super-delicious salad –

150gms smoked chicken breast (sliced thin)

2 medium to large tomatoes (remove the seeds and the pulpy insides)

7 – 8 lychees (remove the seeds and tear into halves or quarters depending on the size of the lychees)

1 medium spring onion – sliced fine

1 large chilli (deseeded and sliced)

2 teaspoons white sesame seeds + extra for topping

1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds (for topping)

80 – 100gms noodles (precook the noodles till just done –  i.e. boil, drain and then toss them in a tablespoon of sesame oil and a few spring onion greens)

4 – 5 small cloves of garlic (minced)

For the dressing you’ll need –

1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon chilli soy

 1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

 pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon demerara sugar

pinch of white pepper powder

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing and chill for 10 – 15 minutes before using.

Combine all the elements of the salad except for the noodles and the dressing.

Just before plating up, mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dressing into the chicken salad and toss. Plate up the noodles. Spoon over the smoked chicken salad, drizzle over some more of the dressing and sprinkle on 1 – 1 1/12 teaspoons of white and black sesame seeds.