Quiche Lorraine with Gruyère and chive flowers
For the pastry
- 200g/7oz plain flour, sifted
- pinch of salt
- 125g/4½oz chilled butter, cubed
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
For the filling
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 175g/6oz streaky bacon, cut into 1cm/½in lardons
- 100g/3½oz onions, chopped
- 2 free-range eggs
- 2 free-range egg yolks
- 300ml/½ pint double cream
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tsp chopped chives
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 50g/2oz cheddar, grated
- 50g/2oz Gruyère, grated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- small handful chive flowers, to garnish (optional)
For the pastry, place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse briefly. Add half of the beaten egg and continue to pulse. You might add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together.
If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then, using your hands, add just enough beaten egg to bring it together.
With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm/¾in thick, then wrap in cling film or place in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10–15 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and place between two sheets of cling film (larger in size than your tart tin). Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry out to no thicker than 5mm/¼in or even thinner for small tartlet tins. If the tin is round, make sure to keep the pastry in a round shape and also large enough to line the base and sides of the tin.
Remove the cling film and place into a 18cm/7in quiche tin (with 3cm/1¼in high sides) If you wish, retain the top layer of cling film to help you shape the pastry. Press the pastry into the edges and, using your thumb, ‘cut’ the pastry along the edge of the tin for a neat finish. Remove the cling film, if used, prick over the base with a fork and chill the pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes. (Or cover it back up and keep in the freezer for a few weeks).
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Line the pastry with foil, greaseproof or parchment paper, leaving plenty to come up the sides. Fill with baking beans or dried pulses. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry feels dry.
For the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Fry the onions gently in the same oil for a further 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a medium-sized bowl, add the cream, herbs, cheeses and bacon and onions. Mix well and add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the pastry from the oven and remove the paper and beans, pour the filling into the pastry base and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the centre has just set. Serve warm, garnished with chive flowers.