A classic that is worth trying and it is brilliant served either hot or cold, ideal for alfresco dining. If you are new to pastry making the I suggest you avoid the all butter shortcrust pastry in this recipe and try the Handmade Shortcrust Pastry which is made with margarine, it is much easier to handle and roll out or if you are short on time then go down the ready rolled route.
Either way this has been a trip down memory lane for me, making quiche (not since home economics class in the Convent of Mercy, Kilbeggan) and it tastes much better than I remember. I wondered then why blind baking was necessary, my ever patient home economics teacher informed me that it stops the pastry getting soggy on the bottom and nobody wants a soggy bottom!
For the pastry
175g Plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g Butter, plus extra for greasing (alternatively use 270g ready made pastry)
For the filling
250g English cheddar, grated
4 tomatoes, sliced (optional)
200g Bacon, chopped
5 Eggs, beaten
200ml Double cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Sprigs of fresh thyme
To make the pastry, sift the flour together with a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a soft breadcrumb texture. Add enough cold water to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough, and then rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a light floured surface and line a 22cm/8½inch well-buttered flan dish.
Don't cut off the edges of the pastry yet. Chill again.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Remove the pastry case from the fridge and line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans (I used uncooked rice which I pushed right to the edges of the flan tin, otherwise it will bubble up, I know this firsthand because this photograph was my second attempt!).
Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another five minutes to cook the base.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Sprinkle the cheese into the pastry base and add the sliced tomatoes if you are using them. Fry the bacon pieces until crisp and sprinkle over them over the top. Combine the eggs with the milk and cream in a bowl and season well. Pour over the bacon and cheese.
Sprinkle the thyme over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set (especially in the middle, it will be firm to the touch). Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set further. Trim the pastry edges to get a perfect edge and then serve in wedges.
To freeze the quiche: Allow to cool completely, then wrap in cling film. Freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen, in a preheated oven, for 15-20 minutes, or until piping hot throughout