If the 1980s bestseller ‘Real Men don’t Eat Quiche’ is anything to go by, you might want to refer to this as egg, leek and ham pie if you feel that might go down better with the men at your table. Of course, strictly speaking, I suppose it’s a tart and not a pie, but I’d put money on the fact that a man who won’t eat quiche won’t be buying into ‘tart’ either. Anyway, enough wittering, I believe in calling a quiche a quiche and if the neanderthals eating at my table don’t like it they can go and shoot their own dinner My alpha-male husband is actually the exception that confirms the rule – he worships at the altar of The Quiche.
The pastry is made with buckwheat flour, which not only makes it gluten-free, but healthier and tastier than regular pastry; it even stays crisp when served cold. And even if you don’t fancy quiche, it makes a superb base for apple, or any other fruit tart too.
Ingredients for pastry (serves 6-8):
220g buckwheat flour
20g virgin coconut oil
Roughly 5 tablespoons of cold water
Ingredients for filling:
3 leeks, washed and chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
75ml chicken or vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
150 ml double cream
2 thin slices of Bayonne ham (or Parma ham), cut into strips
50 mg Cheddar, Parmesan or Comté cheese, grated
To make the pastry, begin by cutting the butter and coconut oil into small cubes. Add to the flour in a mixing bowl and add a pinch of sea salt. Blend by hand until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the cold water, mixing rapidly with a spoon. Remove the mixture from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until you obtain a ball of pastry (if the mixture isn’t ‘sticky’ enough to form a ball, you may need a drop more water). Wrap in a clean cotton tea towel and leave to ‘rest’ in the fridge for about two hours. This relaxes the dough and makes it easier to use.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry on a clean, lightly floured surface and fill the tart tin or tins. Buckwheat pastry contains no gluten, which makes it very fragile. You’ll find that you have to treat it delicately and possibly fill in the cracks with remaining bits of pastry by pressing gently. I tend to use individual tart tins. Precook the pastry for 12 minutes.
For the filling, begin by frying the leeks and shallots in olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the stock and braise for about 20 minutes, or until the leeks are well-cooked and the stock is absorbed. Break the egg into a small bowl and add the cream and seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika). Beat well to form a homogenous mixture. Place a few small strips of ham on the pastry base, spoon the leek mixture over that, add some grated cheese and then pour the egg and cream mixture over the top. Cook at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown in colour.