Was it you who said egg-free quiches were as impossible to make as licking your own elbow? Well if it was, you couldn’t have been more wrong.

You can stop trying to lick your elbow now. It’s never going to happen and plus, you look ridiculous.

I wanted to create a quiche with strong flavours that cut through the creaminess of the dish while also making a small slice go a long way. This was imperative because if I didn’t, I’d have ended up squirming on the floor with a protruding belly and crumbs all over my face having eaten it all. And I promised myself that would never happen again.

Sweet potatoes added just that – a strong velvety sweetness, caramelised onions gave the quiche some colour, texture and flavour, and the sharp, salty feta cheese cut through the rich filling. Perfecto.

I’m quite pleased with myself for making my own pastry. I know shortcrust is the easiest pastry to make but lazy is the best way to describe me. There’s no excuse for it. All my pastry endeavours have ended up as crummy disasters. I’m hasty, hot-headed and fiery tempered as opposed to a cool-handed pastry whiz-kid.

This had to change.

I took my time, made sure everything was cold (ice water, frozen and grated butter and cold hands) and things weren’t looking too shabby if I say so myself.

Then I burned myself… twice.

Have I told you about my war wounded arm? My right arm is covered in several burn marks from hurriedly fetching things to and fro the oven and grill. Each one carries its own story and in a way, I’m quite proud of the ugly little guys.

Shall we get back to the quiche?

Eggs are to quiche as gelatine to jelly; they help it set so you can slice it. A set custard if you will. In place of eggs I used cornflour (a tip I picked up from revered chef Kurma Dasa and his fabulous book Great Vegetarian Dishes). However, I also added some self raising flour, mature cheddar cheese and baking powder. The flour and baking powder helped my quiche puff up, lighten up and set in place as it would if I added eggs. I also added plenty of cheese to make it very savoury and golden brown on top.

A small wedge of this quiche served warm or cold with a green salad (dressed in something sharp) will make you forget about how much cheese, cream and butter actually went into the dish. I’ve forgotten already.

Tip: Freeze your butter, then grate it before you add it to your flour to keep your pastry extra cold.

I’d always make this quiche a day ahead as it needs at least 8 hours to cool and set before you slice it. When it comes out of the oven it should still be a bit wobbly in the middle, and then when it chills it will begin to set.

Eggless Quiche with Sweet Potatoes, Caramelised Onions and Feta
(cuts into 8-10 slices)

For the cumin pastry crust:

280g plain flour
140g butter, frozen and grated on a cheese grater
1 ½ tsp toasted cumin seeds
½ tsp salt
8-9 tbsp iced water

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

2. In a large bowl combine the flour, cumin seeds, butter and salt. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the iced water and bring the mixtures together to form a firm dough. Cover in cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, grease a fluted tart case (with a removable bottom) with oil.

5. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to 5mm in thickness and around 5-6cm larger than your tart case (I used a 10 inch wide, 2 inch deep case).

6. Lift the pastry up with your rolling pin and drape it over your tart case so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides. Gently push the pastry into the sides of the case, taking care not to stretch or tear it. Prick some small holes

7. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Place a large piece of greaseproof paper in your pastry case and fill with baking beans. I used rice which worked just as well.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans/rice. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes to turn golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the quiche filling:
240g red onions, sliced
140g sweet potato, cubed
200g feta cheese, cubed
4 tbsp self raising flour
1 ½ tbsp cornflour
400ml milk
300ml double cream
100g cream cheese
80g mature cheddar cheese
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp butter
Olive oil

Method

1. To caramelise the onions, heat the butter in a pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the slice onions and 3 tbsp of sugar. Cook on a medium heat for around 20 minutes, stirring all the time. Try not to break them up too much, though. Add the dried organo and set aside.

2. Wash the sweet potato cubes, place in a bowl with 2 tbsp of water and microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Refresh under cold water and drain. Set aside.

3. In a large pan, heat 4 tbsp olive oil and add the cornflour and self raising flour. Cook until slightly pink, grab a whisk and slowly add the milk, whisking all the time. Add 150ml double cream, the cheddar cheese, cream cheese and 50g of the feta. Keep whisking for 5 minutes until you’re left with a smooth sauce. I sieved mine at this point to make sure there were no lumps at all.

Your filling mixture should be the consistency of lightly whipped cream. Place cling film directly on the mixture to stop a skin from forming on top.

4. Add the remaining 150ml double cream and allow to cool. This will thicken on standing so when you return to it after cooling, you will need to adjust the consistency to its previous state by using some hot water and whisking.

5. Fold in the onions, potatoes and feta and pile the mixture into the cooled pastry case. Fill a baking tray with hot water and place it in the bottom of the oven (this will keep the environment moist so your quiche won’t dry out).

6. Place your quiche on a baking tray and put it on the rack above. Bake for 45 minutes at 180°C until almost golden.

7. Turn the oven off but leave the quiche inside. Open the oven door for a few minutes to let some heat escape so your quiche doesn’t burn.

8. After two hours your quiche should have cooled. Remove it from the oven, cover in cling film and refrigerate for 7-8 hours. Once you remove it, trim the excess pastry and then it should be ready to devour.

I know this sounds terribly long and complicated, and it sort of is (for me, anyway). I’m not gonna lie.

But take one bite of this lush, creamy eggless quiche and you’ll know why it took so much of your love and effort.

Also, feel free to experiment with flavours. You could add anything from green peas, cherry tomatoes and spinach to a variety of other cheeses. Just remember to send me a piece in the post.

 

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