For all you fans of convenience and purchasing ingredients with one quick stop at the supermarket here are some mini quiche bites that are just perfect for a girls night in. Yes boys, I’m being sexist and going along with the maxim that you don’t eat quiche because you are ‘real men’ I’ve heard the expression ‘Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche’ plenty of times but didn’t realise until now that it was the name of a book that featured on the New York Times best-sellers list for over a year, quite an achievement. It appears to be a humourous read and lads I’m only joking, you can whip up some mini quiches for a boys night in whenever you like:) (not that you need my permission)
Ready made sheets of shortcrust pastry are cut to line cupcake trays and these are blind-baked before filling and returning to the oven to finish cooking. With the pastry partially cooked this means there is less likelihood of a soggy pastry base. When you do blind-bake you are supposed to line the pastry with a little grease-proof paper and weigh it down with some pie-weights or dried beans to prevent your pastry from shifting and shrinking too much from the base and the edges. This is tedious though and not for the time-pressed so what’s the alternative? The alternative is to sacrifice a pretty looking symmetrical pastry case for one that may be uneven and perhaps even bulging in places but one that will taste just as good. Their mis-shapeness will be counteracted with the delicious filling and once garnished with a sprinkling of fresh herbs their asymmetry will surely not be commented on in the hurry to taste. If you are going to cheat like I do and leave out the lining and weight filling, then you will have to interrupt the blind-baking process a couple of times to use the back of a spoon to gently tease back up the sides of the pastry that may be shrinking down into the case and to smooth out the bottom that may be rising and bulging.
The mini-quiches will be sufficiently filling to be accompanied with something light like a side salad and perfect washed down with a nice chilled white wine. Speaking of wine this lucky girl has been invited to dine out at a ‘See Beyond The Label’ event courtesy of Jacob’s Creek ‘Wine & Dine Experience” which visits Cork this week. This roadshow is visiting Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford and is encouraging food and wine enthusiasts to ‘See Beyond The Label.’ If you would like to request a reservation at one of these events or to find out more visit the Jacob’s Creek facebook page
Mini Quiche Bites:
You will need:
A little butter to grease the cupcake trays
2 boxes of 2 round sheets of jus-rol shortcrust pastry (4 sheets in total)
3 spring onions
1 small handful fresh parsley (& extra for garnishing)
250g cherry tomatoes (on vine if possible)
250ml creme fraiche
1 tsp thyme
some hard cheese to grate on top
Pre-heat the fan oven to 180C or Gas Mark 6.
Lightly grease 2 cupcake trays with a little butter.
Open out the defrosted sheets of pastry and use a round cutter or a large cup to cut circles of pastry to line the cupcake trays.
Place the pastry-lined cupcake trays in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, meanwhile do the filling preparation.
Rinse and chop the spring onions and parsley.
Rinse and halve the cherry tomatoes.
Whisk the eggs, creme fraiches, thyme and parsley together in a large bowl and then stir in the chopped spring onions.
After 5 minutes of blind-baking the pastry remove the cupcake trays from the oven and use the back of a spoon to gently smooth out the bases and pull up the sides as they will have begun to shrink away from the edges. Return the pastry to the oven to cook for 5 minutes more.
Again coax up the edges of the pastry before filling each base with 3 or 4 cherry tomato halves and then use a jug or a ladle to pour over the egg and creme fraiche mixture.
Return the filled pastry to the oven to cook for 1o minutes more.
After ten minutes grate some hard cheese over each pastry case and cook for a final 5 minutes.
Use a spoon to gently prise the mini-quiches from the cupcake trays and serve warm with a garnish of chopped parsley and perhaps a side of coleslaw.
Enjoy with something nice and chilled.
Til next time, Sheila.