A quiche is a pleasant thing to eat. It may even be delicious, according to the nuances of your taste-buds and the particular quality of your hunger. I sometimes thought, when I was younger and didn’t really eat quiche, that a quiche was something quite flavourless and watery. This need not be the case at all. What is more, the remnants of a quiche, those portions left uneaten, will serve you excellently at some date in the not too distant future – for example, for the next day’s lunch. My recipe for a spinach, bacon and onion quiche will produce a tasty quiche indeed – but only if you are capable of following it competently and not just throwing everything about the place and scooping it all up off the floor.
For the pastry:
- 200g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 2 tbsp water
For the filling:
- 150g spinach
- 100g bacon or ham
- 2 mediocre onions
- 6 eggs
- 250 ml cream
- 100g cheese
Notes pertaining to these ingredients
You may be surprised that my recipe does not specify a particular cheese. Of course, today there are available countless cheeses. In the 19th Century, Louis Pasteur, famed chemist and microbiologist, whose research would have such a positive effect upon the preservation of milk, was in fact also an ardent lover of cheese. According to an admittedly apocryphal account, he was one day eating a piece of Comté, made in the very region of his birth, when he boldly predicted that in the future there would be available in the markets and cafés local to his town not only Comté, but even up to three-hundred cheeses. Last week, a noted scientific journal revealed, amidst much celebration, the creation of the world’s three-thousandth cheese, surpassing Pasteur’s hypothesis tenfold.
I do not think that this quiche is going to live or die dependent on the type of cheese you use. If you use a cheese you like, you will be okay. I used something called an ‘aktie jong belegen’, which indicates not an ‘actual young Belgian’, as I first supposed, but instead a semi-mature Dutch cheese. Cheddar would be good; there is Gruyère; some quiche recipes call for cream cheese or ricotta; and Parmesan would work just fine too. Likewise, use single or double cream as you wish. If you want to use two small onions, or two excessively large ones, go right ahead – but do not bemoan this recipe if, potentially at a later date, you encounter problems.
Time to make; time to bake
It should go without saying that the time it will take you to make this quiche depends on a variety of factors over which I have little control. It will be affected, for instance, by the layout of your kitchen; the composition of your fridge; your general liveliness and hand-eye coordination; and if you are inclined to only participate towards the recipe every fifth bar, for instance, of a twelve-bar blues – spending the other eleven bars nodding your head, or shaking it with your tongue thrust into your cheek while tapping your feet – then the recipe will take you a more extensive period.
Roughly, preparing everything should take about twenty-five minutes: ten to make and roll the pastry without too much haste; around ten to cook the bacon and the onions, plus the spinach; and a few minutes to put everything together ready for the oven. Cooking the quiche will take thirty-to-forty minutes.
- Heat your oven to 200C, or 180C fan-assisted
- Personally, I’d throw the onions and bacon into a pan on a low heat at this stage, and allow them to cook slowly whilst you are working on the pastry. For clarity, however, I’ll split the method from here into two: one guide for the pastry, one guide for the filling.
For the pastry:
- Put all the flour into a bowl
- Cut the butter into small pieces, and throw these pieces into the flour
- Rub the flour and the butter together with your fingers. You should end with a mixture wherein neither the flour nor the butter is noticeable as an independent ingredient: there should be no flour left on its own at the bottom of your bowl, but the mixture should not be greasy owing to too much butter.
- Add two, or perhaps three tablespoons of water, and use a knife to literally chop at the mixture as a means of drawing it together. After doing this for a few seconds, you should be able to bring the mixture into a ball with your hands. If you can’t, add a little more water – if the dough is too dry, you will not enjoy rolling and inevitably breaking it.
- Now roll the dough to the size of whatever you’re going to cook the quiche in. You may use a quiche or flan tin or a round dish of some sort; in my case, I used a cake tin 26cm across. I tend to roll all of the dough out; I place my tin over it and make a slight impression; then I cut along the lines of the impression and use the cutout as the base for my quiche. I then roll out the sides separately and press them, gently, into the base.
For the filling:
- Slice, cut roughly, or dice your onions, and put them in a pan to sweat over a low heat with a little oil.
- Chop the bacon or ham in your possession into fairly thin slices or cubes, and add these to the pan.
- You should let this go now until the onions are translucent or even begin to take on a little colour; making sure also that the bacon is cooked. Perhaps a little under ten minutes.
- Chop the spinach and add to the pan, cooking for another couple of minutes.
- Put the six eggs, the cream and the cheese into a bowl and mix lightly – you don’t need to whisk the eggs thoroughly if you don’t want. Add the cooked spinach, onions and bacon, and some salt and pepper and any other relevant herbs and spices.
- Pour this mixture into your quiche base.
- Now cook in the oven for thirty or forty minutes. If the top starts to brown quickly, turn the heat down: it is important that the base of the quiche has sufficient time in which to bake.
Here is a sort of flow-diagram, depicting pictorially the above steps: