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  • Writer's pictureKimberley Kells

Quiche Lorraine

I constantly have chunks of leg ham in my freezer from glazed hams that I cook every few months. Quiche Lorraine is one of my favourite ways to use this up as it can really be suitable for any meal: as an indulgent breakfast, to a fancy afternoon tea, to a light dinner with side salad. Either way, this one is absolutely delicious with an unbelievably crumbly short pastry, and rich filling.

While the thought of making pastry from scratch may send you running for the hills, please let me assure you its not too hard! It is quite literally flour and butter squashed together and it doesn't have to be perfect. Yes there are tips which I've included to make it easier (like rolling it out between 2 pieces of baking paper so you don't have to deal with sticking to the bench, or resting time in the fridge). At the end of the day it's still a dough so if you manage to put holes in it while transferring to the tart tin, just grab a little piece of excess dough and patch that baby up! #patchit #noonewillknow. And lets talk about tart tins while we're at it. I always buy the non stick variety so I don't have to butter it #onelessjob and with the removable base so I can pop it out easily. These are available everywhere now. Even the local supermarket has these #itcouldntbeeasier. But if after all my convincing, you're still not convinced, you can always buy the ready made short crust pastry from the freezer section of the supermarket #nojudgementhere. It wont be as flaky or crumbly, but it will get the job done and can be a handy shortcut if you don't have much time, or can't be f*cked. I get it! We ALL take shortcuts sometimes! But if you have the time and the inclination, the texture and flavour of a homemade tart shell is amazing.

“Ham, eschalots and gruyere cheese are the classics for this dish, but I am all for using what you have. If you don't have eschalots (the little brown french onions), a brown onion, leek or even spring onions will work just fine. Likewise you can substitute other cheeses if you don't have gruyere. You can even leave the ham out all together to make it vegetarian, and add mushrooms if you wish. Whatever you choose to put in this quiche, just make sure to saute it well before adding to the tart shell so that all the water is already evaporated.”

Quiche Lorraine an original recipe by Kimberley Kells

Preparation time: 15 minutes + resting time

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children generously

1 1/4 Cup of Plain Flour

1/2 Cup of Butter, chilled and chopped into 2cm cubes

1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

2 Tablespoons of Ice Water

1 Cup of Leg Ham off the Bone, diced

4 Eschalots (substitute: 1 brown onion, or a bunch of spring onions, or 1 leek), finely diced

4 Eggs, whisked

300mL Thickened Cream

1 Cup of Gruyere Cheese (substitute: cheddar cheese), shredded

Step 1- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, butter and salt. Using your fingers, rub the butter and toss to coat in the flour. Repeat, breaking the butter into smaller and smaller pieces until your mixture looks like fine sand.

Step 2- Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time while squeezing the mixture to bring it together into a disk of pastry dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Step 3- In a frying pan, saute the ham and eschalots/onion with a generous amount of salt and pepper until soft and all water has evaporated. Allow to cool

Step 4- After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to the size of your tart tin, reaching up the sides. Gently peel back 1 layer of baking paper and lay the rolled dough into the tin with the remaining baking paper facing up. Remove the other layer of baking paper and ease the dough into the crevices of the tin. Trim the overhang and use the excess for patching any holes. Place the tin back into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.

Step 5- Blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 190c. (Blind Bake: fill with a layer of baking paper and pastry weights or dry rice/chickpeas to weigh the pastry down while you cook the tart shell).

Step 6- Remove from the oven and remove the pastry weights. Fill with the cooled ham and onion mixture and half of the cheese.

Step 7- Whisk together the eggs and cream and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the ham, onion and cheese to the top of the tart shell. Top with the remaining cheese.

Step 8- Bake at 190c for approximately 35 minutes or until the colour is golden brown and has a slight wobble in the centre. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and slicing.

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