Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche

Everyone has their own types of comfort foods, for some its carbs - hot chips, rice, bread and pasta,
others its sugar - chocolate, ice cream, lollies and sweet treats and for others something completely different (cheese? meat? a mix of everything?). I'm in the sugar camp for sure when it comes to comfort food and am always up for a baked treat. But if I want real comfort food then I make this quiche, which is no doubt a surprise to all. Maybe it's the story behind it or how many steps there are so it gives me something to focus or just how good it tastes.
Across from my psych's office there was this café/retro and vintage gift shop, I used to regularly visit it and eventually got in to a routine of buying this amazing quiche for lunch before my appointments. It was a place where I could relax and I loved chatting to the owner and looking around the shop. Unfortunately the café shut down 2 years ago when the owner was expecting her second child and couldn't do both.
A while ago I was craving this quiche and attempted to recreate it, and I believe after many tries I have successfully managed to recreate it, which was no easy challenge. I was making it from memory, but I knew it was made in a deep dish and a spring form tin seemed like the perfect tin (though I am sure you could make it in a typical quiche pan but you would only be able to do one layer and not use as much egg mix). I started with the base which I knew had cheese in it as it wasn't a typical pastry and had little luck finding a cheese pastry recipe until I found Donna Hay's recipe which I have adapted. The filling was thankfully a lot easier and found that layering the ingredients gave a great result. The original version didn't have onion in it and while I think its a nice addition, though I am told it tastes better without it, so its up to you if you add it or not.
It does take a while to make (roasting the pumpkin, blind baking the base and over 1 hours baking time) it but it is well worth it and is great for dinner and lunch served on its own or with a light salad. I even made it on Monday night and served it with crumbed chicken which was a great meal.
It tastes amazing warm out of the oven but still nice cold. I would make it the day you need it but you can make the pastry and roast the pumpkin (and onion) in advance.

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche

Filling:
1/2 a (medium sized) pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
Garlic granules
1/2 red onion slice thinly (optional) - Jocelyn says to leave it out
block of feta (approx. 150/200grms)
1/2 cup pine nuts
120 g baby spinach
8 eggs
1/2 cups milk
pepper

Cheese Pastry
150grm butter
2 cups of plain flour
3/4 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
1/2 cup milk

  1. Grease a spring form tin with cooking spray.
  2. In food processor combine butter, flour and cheeses blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs and slowly add in milk until a ball of dough forms (you may need more or less milk). 
  3. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper adding more flour as needed to prevent it from getting sticky. You want it to be between 1-2cm thick.
  4. Place pastry in tin. You can either drape it over the tin and press in or cut around the tin and press in, before cutting strips of remaining dough to line the sides.You want it to overlap it the sides by a little bit to stay up while blind baking it
  5. Blind bake it for 30 minutes by placing a piece of baking paper over the dough and placing a smaller size dish in the tin (I used a glass bowl) and using rice to fill the gap or just using rice or beans. 
  6. Grease a tray and spread the pumpkin out evenly, sprinkle with garlic granules if using. Place in moderate oven for 45 minutes turning over half way through baking. If using onion 10 minutes before the pumpkin is finished baking spread onion over pumpkin to cook.
  7. Take out the base and remove baking paper.
  8. Cut  3/4s of the feta into smallish cubes setting aside to crumble on top for the final layer. How much you use depends on your preference.
  9. Layer the filling going: Pumpkin (and onion), feta, pine nuts and spinach repeat once more finishing with extra crumbed feta.
  10. Beat eggs, milk and pepper (I don't add salt as I find the feta is salty enough) and pour over the filling.
  11. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 - 1.5 hours until its set (depending on the depth of the tin it may take longer)
  12. Serve warm or cold.
*You can make mini quiches just don't blind bake the base first and only bake for 30 minutes.

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