As a card-carrying Brit, I’ve just enjoyed a fabulous long weekend, courtesy of HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Like much of the country, we got caught up in the street party thing, eating and drinking far too much, but enjoying spending time with our neighbours in the sun while it lasted – our street party was on the Saturday, so we were much luckier with the weather than some.
Anyone who follows a gluten free diet knows how hard events like street parties can be from a food perspective. You either take a lunchbox and stay in a little culinary ghetto of your own devising, or you take along a couple of dishes to share but make sure you dive in before anyone else can contaminate your hard work, and hope a couple more people might have brought something that could work so you don’t have to look stand-offish.
In the case of our street party, we were lucky enough that a certain level of catering was to be provided by Angela Hartnett, our local celebrity chef, but since the number of people responding was higher than anticipated, we were all asked to bring food with us to share so there was enough for us to eat, and those with special diets were warned that this would apply particularly to them. Fair enough, I thought, and started thinking about what to take.
In the end, I settled for my trusty balsamic anchovy potato salad and a quiche. I hadn’t been sure what kind of quiche to make, but since I had asparagus and some fresh figs in the house, and some stilton in the fridge that was beckoning, putting them together seemed the right thing to do. And it really was. Seems I’m not the only one to think so, either, since a mention of the quiche on the Coeliac UK Facebook page this morning led to a request for the recipe so here, for Hayley – and anyone else who would like it – is my recipe for fig, asparagus and stilton quiche. I hope you enjoy it.
Fig, asparagus and stilton quiche
For the base:
- 400g Dove’s Farm GF plain flour blend
- 250g mature grated cheddar
- 125g butter
- 1 large free range egg
- 1/2tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 8″ loose bottom flan tin
For the filling:
- 100g mature stilton, crumbled
- 8 asparagus spears, steamed until just tender
- 4 fresh figs, tough stems removed, halved
- 3 large free range eggs
- 100ml Lactofree (or normal double) cream
- 1tsp thyme
- 1/2tsp salt
- A good grind of black pepper, to taste
First of all, pre-heat the oven to 180C. Now let me say that the amount of pastry the base recipe will make is rather more than you will need, but since this is actually the recipe I use to make my cheese and chilli biscuits, I simply roll any leftover pastry into a sausage and cut 1cm slices to make biscuits afterwards. Throw all the ingredients for the base into a Kenwood Chef/Kitchenaid stand mixer if you have one, until it’s all thoroughly mixed, then bring it together with your hands. If you don’t have the mixer, rub the cheese and butter into the flour, then mix in the egg and a little water or milk if needed to make a fairly stiff dough.
Chill the dough for 15 minutes in the fridge, then roll it out between two sheets of clingfilm until it’s large enough to cover your flan base. Remove the clingfilm from one side, then turn the pastry onto the flan base and remove the other sheet of clingfilm. Press the pastry into the flan base and then trim round the edges. Cover the inside with a crumpled sheet of baking parchment, weight with either baking beads or 250g rice, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. At this point, remove the parchment along with the beads/rice and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
While the case is cooling, beat the eggs together with the cream, thyme, salt and pepper and leave to stand.
Once the case is cool to the touch, arrange the asparagus in it to radiate out from the centre. Sprinkle the stilton all over, then place the fig halves evenly round the base between the asparagus stalks. If the figs are particularly plump and look like they’ll be much taller than your pastry case, simply trim some of the skin from the outside of the fig.
When you’ve arranged all these ingredients, pour in the egg mixture, avoiding pouring over the top of the figs if you can. Place the quiche in the oven and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes, or until tipping it no longer results in obvious fluid movement or wobbling – my fan oven plays very differently to my gas oven on this, so start checking at 5 minute intervals from 25 minutes onwards. Et voilà! Remove from the oven and serve hot, cold or cooling, depending on how much willpower you have.