(Please forgive this blurry image!!)
Contrary to most of the current content of the blog, I’m actually more of a savoury person than a sweet person. I’ll take a full english breakfast over sweet french toast any given day. In fact, I started out cooking before I even dared to venture into baking. I hold the 2 of them extremely dear to my heart nonetheless. I think it is also why I am a big fan of quiches - perfect combination of both!
I spent a long time figuring out the best recipe for the quiche crust - y’know the buttery flaky kinds of crust that takes your mind to France? One of the best quiches I had was from a tiny pop-up store in Borough Market, London about 5 years ago. I remember clearly how the crust crumbled a little when you cut into it, and it was like a savoury shortbread because of the flake and butter. UGH pity I was not into cooking at that time if not I would have paid a tooth and nail to ask for that recipe.
I’ve searched endlessly from books to food bloggers to the web for The Perfect Crust. I’ve spent days in the kitchen experimenting and sometimes questioning why I even bother when I can get store bought crusts instead. But there’s the perfectionistic streak in me that must succeed HAHA and store bought crusts are always a last resort for me. The more I fail, the more I must figure it out.
This crust goes back to basics. It’s just butter (the fat), flour, some ice water, and a sprinkle of salt. I used to think that cooking meant breaking boundaries and getting all creative, until I stumbled across Michael Rhulman’s Ratios. He explained that ratios should be learnt as a means to liberate creativity in the kitchen - I was hooked. His pie crust/quiche recipe was so simple in the form of the well-known 3-2-1 Pâte Brisée Pie Dough. I doubted it at first, but now, I’m sold.
The important part about this dough is that the butter must be very very cold. Heck, make it frozen. The dough should be made quickly and man-handled as little as possible. Too much kneading will make it tough and dry. The moment if comes together, give it a couple of kneads and that’s it. There’s also the element of refrigerating the dough before rolling it out, and this is an ESSENTIAL step. I cannot emphasise this enough.
The content of the quiche, on the other hand, had me finding what’s the best balance of eggs, cream/milk, and ingredients. My Dad, The Boy and I love our quiches loaded, but I’ve had friends who preferred something more of a frittata. I don’t think there's a hard and fast rule for the contents, but it has to be tasty. What’s fun is that you can come up with different flavours for your quiche and see what works for you! (I’ve made a vegetarian one and the meat eaters in the family loved it just the same).
Which brings me to my Breakfast Quiche. I’d like to think this is somewhat a full breakfast all rolled into a quiche. With a damn good crust. There’s eggs of course, and then there’s BACON, mushrooms, caramelised mushrooms. I guess you can add sausages if you want, but I’d prefer them whole on the side with some salad. That would make a pretty big breakfast/brunch for the weekend mornings!
(BACON MY LOVE)
I’m not gonna lie - making a quiche takes quite a bit of time and effort. Which is why when I make them, I’d make at least 2 large ones. I’d keep them refrigerated and warm them up to eat whenever we feel like it over the next couple of days to a week. A lot of people are looking for a quick fix these days, even when it comes to home cooking. Maybe the #slowlife isn’t exactly practical for times like these, but I still firmly believe that good food comes with effort. Sure there are recipes that are quick, and there are some that need time and patience (like baking bread and buns for example!) - but the end product is always worth it.
I had a recent bake sale at a little cafe with many other lovely people, and these quiches sold out within an hour. There’s always a special kind of joy when people love the food you make.
The Breakfast Quiche
Makes a 9-inch deep quiche
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
225g frozen butter - cut into small pieces
2 - 4 teaspoons of ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
9-12 slices of back bacon
2 boxes of portobello mushrooms - washed and chopped
2 large white onions - chopped
7 while eggs
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (feel free to use whatever melty cheese you love!)
Salt and pepper to taste
(I personally like to use my hands to mix everything together)
1. Combine the flour and butter and rub the butter with your fingers until they both combine to form small pea-sized chunks
2. Add the ice water and the salt and mix gently until everything is just combined
3. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in cling warp, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out
(When it all comes together)
1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C
2. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it soften for approx 10 minutes. Roll out the dough to about 1cm thickness
3. Line a 9-inch cake / tart pan or spring form pan with parchment paper
4. Lay the rolled out dough onto the pan - there should be some dough overhanging the edges. Trim the edges nicely and keep the left over dough in case you need to patch up crust cracks after.
5. Line the top of the dough with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights/rice/beans so that the crust bakes flat. Blind bake the dough in the oven for 30 minutes and then remove the pie weights. Bake for another 15 minutes until its nice and golden.
6. Remove the crust from the oven and patch areas of crust (to prevent the batter from leaking out)
7. Now reduce the oven temperature to 165 degrees C
8. Set aside the baked crust
Making the filling
1. Chop the bacon into small pieces
2. Sauté the bacon until cooked and crispy. Remove from pan and set aside, but reserving the bacon fat
3. Sauté the chopped mushrooms in the bacon fat for that extra flavour and set aside
4. Caramelise the chopped onions until golden and sweet. Feel free to add a pinch of sugar to speed up the caramelisation
5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the cream and add salt and pepper to taste
Putting it all together
1. Add half the bacon, mushroom and onions onto the prepared pie crust
2. Pour half the egg and cream mixture onto it
3. Add the other half / remaining bacon, mushroom and onions and then pour the other half of the egg and cream mixture (I tend to do it in 2 layers as I feel like this makes sure all the ingredients do not sink to the bottom)
4. Cover the top with shredded mozzarella cheese
5. Place in the oven and bake slowly for 1h to 1h 15 minutes. When done, the centre should still be slightly jiggly
6. Remove from oven and let cool completely
7. Serve warm with a side salad and pat yourself on the back for all the hard work put in for this beauty.