It’s back. 2 Weeks in and the “Great British Bake Off” (GBBO) is looking every bit as good as it has done over the past few years. All the talk of the “Bake Off” losing its charm with its move from BBC2 to its big brother prime time channel BBC1 hasn’t happened (the only difference is some awful spin off show on a Friday night).
I’m may have said in the past but I don’t like TV cookery competitions. There are many things that I don’t like about these programs but the main thing is when they say “5 minutes left” and then show a clip of somebody who hasn’t even put what they are cooking in the oven. This is plainly edited to build suspense.
GBBO is no exception. I can tolerate it more than lots of other cookery competitions, maybe its the charm of Mary Berry, seeing 12 lovely shinny Kitchen Aid’s (and wanting one) or the fact deep down we all wish we could bake as good as some of the contestants (except the ones that go out in the first few weeks). The other thing I find strange about GBBO is the fact they find out the week before what they are baking (Isn’t the point of a competition is that its a test of skill?) and they get to bring “things” in to help them, stencils and other inventions like a cake saw.
Just because I’m not a big fan of GBBO doesn’t mean I don’t like to bake. I enjoy baking but find I need to be have the time to do it so being off work this week was the perfect opportunity to do some baking.
I love quiche, lovely crumbly pastry, unlimited potential for fillings and a nice creamy egg mixture. I find quiche is the sort of dish that you just can’t buy as good as you make it. I have now stopped buying quiche in shops due to the “extra” ingredients that you find in bought quiches . So with time on my hands this week quiche was my number one dish on my list to bake.
Short crust pastry is one of the easiest recipes to remember. 3 ingredients butter, flour and water. If that wasn’t simple enough the ratio to pastry is 2 to 1. Two parts flour to one part butter. But this is boring so I like to add parmesan & thyme to my pastry so that you get a depth of flavour.
Bacon & Brie Quiche
500g Plain flour
250g Butter – Cubed
Pinch of salt
6 Slices of streaky bacon, chopped
1 Red Onion – diced
200g Brie – sliced
15g Thyme – chopped
15g Chives – chopped
100g Baby spinach
15ml Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Get out your blender or a large bowl (blender wins every time for me). Place everything for the pastry except the water in the mixer. Blend it until you get a breadcrumb. Add the cold water a little at a time until the pastry comes together. Stop the blender, remove it and combine by hand. Once you have a smooth ball (don’t work the pastry too much otherwise it will shrink when baking), cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Whilst the pastry is in the fridge heat a frying pan with the olive oil, add the bacon, garlic, thyme and onions and cook until the bacon is cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the spinach and cook. Remove from the pan and mix with the bacon mixture.
Roll the pastry out between 2 pieces of grease proof paper (this stops you using flour and drying out the pastry). Line your tin but let the pastry overhang the top with a little bit of pastry (this will stop it shrinking below the top of the tin), stab the base with a fork to let the air out and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the pastry to relax.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and fill with baking beans, egg wash the rim and place in an oven at 200°c for around 20 minutes until the pastry starts to go golden brown. Remove the baking beans and using a pastry brush egg was the base of the pastry (this will help fill any holes in your pastry so that you filling doesn’t come out). Bake for a further 10 minutes until the base is golden.
Place the bacon mixture in to your pastry case.
Make your egg mixture by whisking your eggs then adding the milk, cream and seasoning. Pour your egg mixture in to your pastry case and top with sliced brie and chives.
Place back in the oven on 170°c until the egg sets and there is still a wobble (about 10 minutes).
Now here’s the trick to avoid having a soggy bottom on your pastry like so many GBBO contestants over the years. Remove the pastry from the oven. Carefully remove the outer pastry case and leave your quiche on the base of the tin. Place back in the oven until the case is completely baked and golden.