Asparagus and Ricotta Quiche

Embrace pie crust making in this tasty asparagus quiche recipe where fresh flavors and cheesy creaminess dominate.

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Serves: 8 • Prep Time: 45 mins • Cook Time: 45 mins

Straight from the Forq Kitchen!
by Jayne Pearce


Fresh flavors and cheesy creaminess…

Maybe it’s just me but I associate the word ‘quiche’ with other similarly sentimental and seventies-sounding foods such as prawn cocktail and sausage on sticks. This pastry and whisked egg concoction only recently made an entry back into my kitchen as I sought to reinvent dishes that were dinnertime mainstays throughout my childhood. Back then, the quiche was not a terribly big hit for me as my own mother saw it as a chance to empty the veggie drawer into it. The meat-eater in me wasn’t fooled. Fast forward thirty or so years and here I am feeding the same – albeit with a few modifications – veggie quiche to my own children and they eat it without complaint. Phew to that.

The asparagus quiche would go perfectly with a New Zealand or South African Sauvignon Blanc.

There are four simple rules for grilling steak and they are:

  • Pat dry and leave to rest at room temperature for up to 1 hour before grilling.
  • The grill needs to be hot-hot-hot beforehand. Expect smoke. The BBQ was designed for grilling steaks, not least because its exterior location won’t set off any smoke alarms and have you flinging your tea towel around desperately.
  • Prepare the steak with a pinch of salt and pepper if desired and coat all sides with melted butter or vegetable oil to lock in the flavor and prevent drying out.
  • After grilling, leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before eating.

The versatile quiche can have just about anything thrown onto its pie crust, with the egg and cream custard mix poured over it. This quiche recipe can be adapted to include smoked salmon or bacon – as in quiche lorraine – to complement the asparagus and ricotta. The calorie-heavy cream can be swapped out for milk, crème fraîche or sour cream, no problem. I have used ricotta and parmesan in this recipe but most cheeses make a fine filling for the quiche, or not at all as the quiche does not absolutely require cheese. I opted to use all butter but feel free to split it 50/50 between butter and fat. Apart from the mandatory pie crust and custard, anything goes for filling the contents of a quiche.

Quiches – or flans as the thinner versions are sometimes called – use a pie crust (or a shortcrust pastry if you’re an anglophile). Whichever you feel comfortable with, it is generally a blend of two parts flour to one part fat and a little water thrown in for binding. The flour and fat are mixed together using a technique called the rubbing-in method where cooled finger-tips lightly blend the ingredients together to create a linear texture to the dough. Other pastries such as puff pastry use a time-consuming layered fat to dough method that can be tricky to make. Many people fear homemade pie crust for their sweet or savory dishes but, honestly, it really is surprisingly simple to make. Like oven-baked bread, pie crust making is a rare chance to dive in with your hands and feel the food taking shape between your fingers.

As with all of my recipes, I like to recommend a wine style and the asparagus quiche would go perfectly with a New Zealand or South African Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc has distinctive grassy and asparagus aromas which match the quiche but also have enough body and acidity to balance out both the custard and the weight of the pie crust.

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Directions

Here’s how to make this delicious recipe

Prepare the pastry by adding the flour to a mixing bowl then add the softened cubed butter.
Using the ‘rubbing-in method’ described above, gently mix the flour and butter together with the tips of your fingers until crumbs are formed. Allow the crumbs to aerate between your fingers and the bowl to retain the coolness and avoid the fat from getting overheated and oily.

Asparagus & Ricotta Quiche

Mixing the flour & butter together

Mixing the flour & butter together

Add a teaspoon water and mix together with a knife until the pastry starts to form a single ball. Add another teaspoon of water if needed.

Finish off using your hands to bring all of the crumbs together. Place in a plastic bag and let it rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

While the pastry is resting, add 16 or so asparagus to a steamer and steam for no more than 2 minutes. Transfer to a deep tray of iced cold water for 2 minutes to halt the cooking. Drain and set aside.

After 30 minutes take the pastry out of the fridge and create a thick round disc shape with your hands. Sprinkle some flour on a work surface and then begin to roll out the pastry rotating 90 degrees and flipping the pastry with each roll or two while re-sprinkling the work surface with flour with each flip. The pastry should keep its circular shape and begin to thin.

Once the circular pastry shape is about 12-13 inches (34 cm), using a rolling pin, transfer to a pastry dish. Trim the edges of the pastry but leave some overhang as the pastry will shrink a little during the baking phase.

Set the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the base of the pastry in the dish with a few fork holes to allow the heat to circulate and place in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Pie weights can also be used to weigh the pastry down during cooking and prevent any bubbles forming.
Meanwhile, add the cream to a bowl and whisk in the eggs to make a custard.

Add the seasoning and lemon juice and continue whisking.
After 15 minutes, take the partially-baked pastry out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 370 degrees F.

Pour the custard into the pastry dish.

Measure the approximate radius of the dish – in this case 4.5 inches and cut the 16 whole asparagus into 4 inch lengths from spear tip to end of stem.

Slice the remaining asparagus stems into small pieces and scatter evenly into the cream mix.
Position the 16 asparagus spears on the dish evenly radiating out from the center.
Drop teaspoon blobs of the ricotta evenly around the asparagus spears.
Scatter the parmesan shavings evenly on top of the custard.

Sprinkle dried basil over the top.

Asparagus & Ricotta Quiche

Asparagus & Ricotta Quiche

Prepared for the oven

Slide into the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the custard has solidified.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before indulging or refrigerate and eat cold with salad and a refreshing glass of wine.

Asparagus & Ricotta Quiche

Asparagus & Ricotta Quiche

Fresh out the oven

Asparagus & Ricotta Quiche

Asparagus & Ricotta Quiche

The finished masterpiece!

Ingredients

  • 16 asparagus
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (375ml) cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120g) ricotta
  • 1/2 cup (120g)parmesan
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Dried basil
  • 1 grind of black pepper
  • 1 grind of salt

Equipment needed:

  • 9 inch pastry dish

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Who’s Cooking Today

Jayne Pearce

I’ve sampled exotic and unusual foods on my travels, but nothing beats coming home and sharing my experiences in the kitchen and in my writing. I love the sticky leftover goo of barbecued pork ribs that my kids can’t quite polish off on their own; I yearn for the safe and homely aroma of roast chicken as I pull it from the oven; I adore the sizzle and smell of broiled bacon on a wet Sunday morning. Food will always be my friend as it is meant for sharing. You can enjoy my written and visual translation of taste at jambip.com or via the various social media channels.

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