Monday, 16 June 2014

Creamy Asparagus Quiche with Ham & Cheddar

This was a rich and creamy, delicious variation on the theme of quiche. It's great to make ahead, and a good leafy lettuce salad makes it a complete meal. Easy, too!

I used my favourite crust, as usual - it's also easy, and has a nice substance to it. I trimmed off enough that I made a couple of little flat biscuits with the trimmings - just patted them out and slid them into the oven for 15 minutes right on the folded up piece of parchment paper I rolled the crust out on.

8 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 30 minutes prep time
PLUS time to cool

Creamy Asparagus Quiche with Ham and Cheddar

Make the Crust:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sunflower seed oil
1/4 cup buttermilk, milk or cream
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

The butter should be very soft. Mix it with the oil and milk. The butter can be in fairly large lumps. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix the baking powder and salt into the flour. Mix the flour into the wet ingredients. Stir until everything is amalgamated. There should no longer be large lumps of butter, but small lumps or streaks are not only fine, but good.

Put the dough out on a piece of parchment or waxed paper a little larger than the pie plate, and roll out the dough until it will fit it well. Turn it into the pie plate - you will need a 10" one - and press it into place. Peel off the parchment paper, and trim the edges. Press them neatly into a ridge around the top. Poke the base of the crust a number of times with a fork, to keep it from puffing too much as it bakes.

Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes at 350°F.

Make the Filling:
500 grams (1 pound) asparagus
3 large eggs
250 grams (1/2 pound) light cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
a good scraping of nutmeg
125 grams (1/4 pound) chopped ham
125 grams (1/4 pound) diced Cheddar cheese

Wash and trim the asparagus, and cut the tips off about 1/3 of the way down. Cut the bottom 2/3 pieces smaller. Put a pot of water on to boil, and boil the bottom 2/3 pieces for about 6 minutes, until quite tender. Cool them in cold water, and drain them well, but keep the pot of boiling water as you will use it for the rest of the asparagus. Cook the asparagus tips for 3 minutes, then cool and drain them as well.

Put the cooked bottom pieces in the bowl of a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Break in the eggs, and process again. Add the cream cheese, and process again until the mixture is very smooth. Whizz in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Chop the asparagus tips, keeping the very tops aside to garnish the top of the quiche if you like. Mix the remainder with the ham and Cheddar, and spread them evenly in the baked pie crust. Pour the filling evenly over them, and garnish with the reserved asparagus tips, assuming you have reserved them. Bake the pie at 350°F for about 50 minutes, until just set in the middle. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Last year at this time I made Stir-Fried Radishes with Their Greens.

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