What you need
For the pastry
250 g cake flour
150 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
a pinch of salt
about 90 ml ice-cold water (see recipe, below)
For the filling
1 punnet (250 g) ripe cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
8 large free-range eggs
¾ cup (180 ml) cream
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup (250 ml) cooked peas
150 g mozzarella, grated
5 thin slices ham, fat trimmed, chopped [optional]
4 Tbsp (60 ml) finely chopped chives
10 big basil leaves, torn into little pieces
100 g Parmesan, finely grated
fresh pea shoots or baby rocket leaves
What you do
Heat the oven to 190 °C.
First make the pastry. Put the flour, butter and salt in a bowl, and lightly rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cold water, bit by bit, until the pastry holds together. Knead lightly with your fingertips and press into a ball. (You can do this quickly in a food processor fitted with a metal blade: use the pulse button to process the flour and butter to crumbs, then add the cold water in small splashes, through the tube of the jug, until the pastry just comes together and forms a ball. Don’t over-process the dough).
Flatten the pastry ball into a rough disc, wrap in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest for 15-20 minutes.
While the pastry is resting, prepare the filling. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a fierce heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently, until the tomatoes are blackened and blistered in places, but still fairly raw on their insides. Set aside on a plate.
Now get ready to roll out your pastry. Sprinkle a little water on a marble slab, or your counter-top or a large wooden board. Press a long piece of clingfilm to this wettened surface and place the pastry disc on top. Cover with another length of clingfilm. Roll out the pastry to a rough circle about 22 cm in diameter and around 2 mm thick. (Roll the pin away from you, but give the pastry/clingfilm ‘sandwich’ a quarter turn every two rolls). Lightly grease a deep 18-cm-diameter quiche dish. I use a fluted metal pan with a loose bottom, but a ceramic or glass flan dish will do.
Peel off the top layer of clingfilm. Now flip the pastry over and drape it over the quiche dish, without removing the upper layer of clingfilm. Gently ease the pastry into the dish, getting well into the corners, and letting its edges drape over the rim. When the pastry is sitting comfortably in the dish, run a rolling pin firmly over the rim to remove any overhang. Peel off the top layer of clingfilm.
Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork, and lightly press down on it a circle of baking paper or tin foil cut to about the same size. Fill the paper with 2-3 cups of rice or dried beans, and bake blind at 190 °C for 10 minutes, or until the outer rim feels somewhat dry when you tap it with a finger.
Carefully remove the paper with the rice or beans and return the case to the oven. Turn the heat down to 180 °C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the base of the pastry is a light golden colour and feels dry to the touch.
Meanwhile, put the eggs and cream in a bowl and whisk by hand for 2 minutes, or until well combined and slightly frothy. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Remove the pastry case from the oven and sprinkle over the peas, mozzarella, ham, chives and basil. Drain the blistered tomatoes in a sieve, discarding the juice, and arrange them on top.
Pour the whisked egg/cream mixture into the pastry case, and top with grated Parmesan.
Bake the quiche at 180 °C for about 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden, and ever so slightly wobbly in the middle. If you’re using a deep quiche dish, this can take up to 40 minutes. And if the rim of the pastry darkens beyond golden-brown, cover it with strips of tin foil.
Remove the quiche from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes.
Serve warm, topped with pea shoots or rocket.
Michael’s wine recommendation – click here
Jane-Anne Hobbs is a food writer de luxe. Recipe developer and photographer, she has written a stunning cookbook Scrumptious, click here to read my review. Always on the look out for low carb dishes, she has latterly come up with some stunners, and this is one of them.
CLICK HERE to go to her website.