To us, anything that contained dairy used to be considered heavy on the tummy and should be reserved for the winter and consumed in the slightest portions. This probably is a result of our Lactose intolerent Asian tummies. 11 years on- we consume cheeses by the block, yoghurt by the tub, and milk by the carton ( well the last bit is a lie- we hate, of all things, milk and milk only). Moving to the UK has been a revelation, even upto today. We don't know or understand where the idea came from, but quiches always appear to be a Spring / summer affair here in Europe. What's more absurd, is that this very idea has become part of us.
But as winter closes in, the old self re-surfaced and I had a craving for those exact heavy-on-the-tummy affairs. Took me a while to decide what to throw in, and how to adequately bring a warming touch to them. So in we go the squashes scented with the warming sweetness of cinnamon and firecracking chili flakes. The quiche is also topped with charred broccoli- the bitterness of which is a great contrast to the sweetness within!
Recipe below serves 6 to 8 depending on appetite.
For the pastry
A small pinch of salt
110g unsalted butter, cubed
A generous dash of single cream
A squeeze of lemon juice
For the filling
1 small red onion, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
A generous dash of red wine (optional)
350g (net weight) butternut squash and/ or sweet potatoes, cut into 1.5cm chunks
Small pinch of chili flakes, to taste
1 lemon, zest only
100g broccoli, trimmed and cut into stems
150g creme fraiche
Salt and pepper, to taste
100g feta, crumbled
30g parmesan, finley grated
A handful of almond flakes
1. Lightly grease a deep 20cm baking tin with butter.
2. Prepare the pastry. Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add cubed butter. Using your fingertip only, mix the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a generous dash (or two) of single cream. Using a blunt table knife, mix the cream into the dough. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Again, use a blunt knife to mix the dough until it comes together. Form a dough ball using your hand. Roll it out to cover the base and up the sides of the baking tin. Poke the bottom with a fork several times. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 20 - 30 minutes.
Note: We didn't chill the dough before rolling as it is so cold that we didn't think this extra step is needed. But if you are doing this in the peak of the summer wrap the dough ball in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes bofore rolling.
3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. When hot, add sliced onion along with ground cumin, smoked paprika, and cinnamon. Cook for 2 minutes, then add a generous dash of red wine (optional). Cook for a further minute or two before adding the butternut squash / sweet potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, then add chili flakes and lemon zest. Cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes until just softened. Set aside to let cool completely.
4. While the squash / sweet potatoes are cooking, par boil the broccoli so that they are just cooked but still firm. Drain and let cool completely.
5. Heat oven to 180C. Line tart shell with baking paper and top this with baking beans. Blind bake the pastry in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then remove the baking beans and baking paper and bake for a further 5 - 10 minutes until slightly golden brown.
6. Remove the pastry shell from the oven and let cool completely.
7. In the meantime, beat 6 eggs with 150g creme fraiche. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
8. Once the pastry shell, squash / sweet potatoes, and broccoli are cooled, cover the bottom of the shell with the squash/ sweet potatoes. Then pour in the egg / creme fraiche mixture. Top the quiche with broccoli stems. Scattered feta and parmesan evenly on top, followed by the almond flakes.
9. Bake the quich in the hot oven for 45 minutes until the filling is set and the top is golden brown.