>Little Quiche Lorraines

When I was about 11 my dad brought me home a book called Junior Cook. I spent hours going through it, marking all the recipes I wanted to try and making lists of the ingredients I needed to buy. That book pretty much marks the beginning of my foray into cooking and baking on my own (rather than just mixing Mum’s cakes or eating her raw apple pie dough). I can’t believe I was baking so young, as my brother is 12 now and all he can make is Vegemite toast. But back then, I loved it and wanted to bake something different every day and write recipes in my little green notebook (clearly, not much has changed).

Unfortunately, the Junior Cook was a bit of fail. The quiche recipe, however, was delicious. The pastry is fine and crumbly and the balance of flavours in the filling is great. So many people get quiches SO wrong (too salty, too thick, raw pastry, bland flavours, etc) that it surprised me a kid’s cookbook could have such a spot-on recipe.

I made mini quiches this time to get the most out of the pastry as its my mum’s favourite. You can make a large quiche instead if you like; just double the pastry. The filling quantities will remain the same.

For the pastry
3/4 cups plain flour (112g)
55g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
30ml chilled water

Using your stand mixer and the paddle attachment (or a food processor) mix the flour, butter and salt together on a low speed until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs and the butter becomes the size of small peas (to see exactly how this should look, click here).

Add the water in a stream as the mixer is still going and continue to mix on low until the pastry comes together. Shape it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Once the pastry has cooled, butter your 12-hole muffin pan, individual mini tart cases or pie tin. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry as thin as you can, about 2mm (thicker if you are using a larger tin). Keep flouring lightly to ensure it doesn’t stick. Cut rounds out of the pastry to fit your tins (try a large jar lid) and gently ease the pastry circles into the holes. Press  the pastry into the edges using your fingers, and prick the entire surface with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour (this stops the pastry from shrinking when it is baked).

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Cut or tear small squares of greaseproof paper and line each muffin hole with one square. Fill with dried beans, rice or weights and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans from the pastry, and bake for a further 10 minutes until the pastry cases are lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

For the filling
You can use any combination of fillings here, such as caramelised onion, asparagus, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, corn – even tuna fish. But Lorraine is my favourite!

4 rashers of bacon, rindless, chopped into small strips
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup grated cheese (tasty, gruyere, cheddar, whatever you like)
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream

Fry the onion and the bacon, together or separately, on a low heat until the bacon is slightly crisp and the onion begins to caramelise. Allow this to cool.

Return the oven to 180 C. Whisk together the eggs, milk and cream in a jug. Season this well with salt and pepper – a teaspoon of each should be enough.

Divide the onion, bacon and cheese evenly between the pastry cases.

Pour the egg filling, slowly, into each of the pastry cases until almost full. Be careful not to overflow them.

Bake for 30 minutes (this time will be the same for a large quiche) until the filling is set, golden brown and puffy. Makes 12 mini quiches.

Great for a light lunch or dinner served with a green salad, or as canapes at a dinner party.

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Filed under Pies & Tarts, Savoury

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