Last week we had a wee history lesson: this week brings us up to date. Today's recipe is for Coronation Quiche, devised by Royal Chef Mark Flanagan, apparently in consultation with the King and Queen Consort. Critics of Coronation chicken were heard to mutter that with its curry flavour it was hardly British. I can hear those same people spluttering over the toast and Earl Grey.
Quiche, is, of course, quintessentially French, more particularly from Lorraine. The ownership of Alsace-Lorraine has seesawed on more than on occasion between France and Germany. It is said that the name derives from the German word küchen (cake). The origins can be traced back to 16th century Nancy, where they still use the local name féouse. The French being the French, in its area of origin it is considered sacrilege to fill a quiche with anything other than eggs, cream and bacon. HRH is apparently a great fan of anything which combines eggs, cheese and spinach.
The slightly unusual ingredient is the addition of broad beans. I'm not a huge fan, and in Scotland it may be difficult to find them just now as the season doesn't really start till early May. I suppose HRH can source his own from Highgrove. Anything involving young broad beans is much better with a team of servants - have you undertaken the double podding which is required? If you don't fancy it, use pieces of asparagus instead. If making for vegetarians, use butter in place of the lard.
Ingredients (serves 6)
For the base
250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting; 50g cold butter, cut into cubes; 50g lard (or butter, if you prefer); about 4 tbps milk.
Alternatively, if you can't be a**ed (and if you want to face a charge of treason from the Crown, and ridicule from your peers), a 250g block of ready made made shortcrust pastry.
For the filling
125ml milk; 175ml double cream (or Elmlea); 2 medium eggs; 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon; 100g grated Cheddar; 180g cooked spinach (well squeezed to remove all the liquid, then chopped); 60g cooked broad beans, double podded; s & p.
If you've made quiche before the recipe is nothing out of the ordinary; however, if you haven't, it's a wee bit fiddly. The stages are (a) making the pastry, (b) baking it blind - to ensure you have a crisp shell, (c) making the filling, and (d) making the finished article. I spell it all out (as, coincidentally, did the recipe which I copied). You experienced bakers can skip what you already know.
a) Sieve the flour into a bowl with ½ tsp salt. Add the butter and lard, and rub the mixture together using your fingertips until you get a sandy, breadcrumb-like texture. Add the milk, a little at a time, and using a knife, start to bring the dough together, then use your hands, making sure it has no dry patches and feels smooth. Cover and allow to rest in the fridge for 30-45 mins. Cling film has become the traditional way. If you are anti cling film (and I do try to limit my usage) you probably have some of these useful waxed cloths which do the trick.
b) Put a 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin or a 20cm pastry ring on a baking sheet. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the pastry to a circle a little larger than the top of the tin and approximately 5mm thick. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin and gently press into the corners, taking care not to have any holes or the mixture will leak. Cover and rest for a further 30 mins in the fridge. Heat oven to 190˚C/Mark 5.
c) Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper – to do this cut a disc of greaseproof paper larger than the tin, scrunch it into a ball (this makes it more pliable), then unwrap and place it in the pastry case. It should come above the sides. Fill with baking beans or uncooked rice,lentils or whatever, and bake blind for 20-25 until nicely golden and dry. Carefully remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans, and return to the oven for 5 mins to dry the base. Reduce the oven temperature to 160˚C/Mark 3.
d) Beat the milk, cream, eggs and herbs with some s & p. Scatter half of the grated cheese in the blind-baked base, top with the chopped spinach and beans, then pour over the liquid mixture. If required, gently give the mixture a delicate stir to ensure the filling is evenly dispersed, but be careful not to damage the pastry case. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Place into the oven and bake for 20-30 mins until set and very lightly golden.
Serve hot or cold. Nice with a crisp green salad.