‘Norwegian’ Quiche with Fennel Salad

After a brief stop in Oslo (as mentioned in previous post) we headed for the mighty Norwegian fjords. Thankfully the roads were not busy as they are windy, single lane and full of trucks not to mention the camper vans. If you are claustrophobic like me be prepared for lengthy mountain tunnels with one tunnel actually stretching over 25km long.
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The landscape is dramatic, wild, harsh and yet so so beautiful. A postcard from Mother Earth of what she is capable of creating. We experienced this first hand on a family friendly 3hour rafting trip in Voss which was a bit hair raising at times but we survived all thanks to the lovely Kiwi crew at Voss Rafting who looked after us.img_4263

I was quite happy to take pictures of lovely food we ate in Norway as suppose to cooking dishes, a feature I thought my blog might need, but once you experience the cost of not only food in Norway, you too will be making your way to the nearest supermarket to cook your own food. I promise I will only say it once: Norway is expensive! You will soon find your inner chef!img_4255

I knew we would be up for a snack after our rafting expedition so I decided to make a quick full proof quiche the day before.

We are living in a very remote cabin about 20min from Voss and I prayed that the little oven will not let me down, thankfully it did not. I decided to use Nokkelost Cheese (click for uk supplier), a Norwegian cheese made from cow’s milk with caraway, cumin and cloves which lent a interesting flavour to the quiche. You could use any cheese you would like but I think a strong cheese like Gruyere, Parmesan, Pecorino or even a strong Cheddar would work well. You can add a bit on caraway, clove (prob only one) and cumin seeds to the cheese as well, I would probably roast them off quickly in a pan for a few minutes, grinding them in a mortar and pestle before adding to the cream mixture.

I bought a few essentials on our Eurotrip which ended up being 3x large plastic containers. Luckily the very understanding Carl knew that in the long run it will either taste good or save us money so he happily made space for these ‘essentials’. I love a rich quiche so my little 15cm ring is more than enough but you can easily double the amount to suit a larger quiche dish.

Ideally you would process the butter and flour with a pinch of salt in a food processor till it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Remove the mixture add to a large bowl and add the cold water while stirring vigorously with a cutlery knife while shaking the bowl in order to incorporate the liquid as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure a beautiful short pastry. One can write chapters about the incorporation of the water and the amount of water in pastry, a subject much debated and written about (if you have loads of free time read Harold McGee) but in principal too much water and the pastry will be tough, too little water and the pastry will be too short (crumbly) and very difficult to work with.

We were taught, when faced without a food processor, to cut the butter ‘into’ the flour with two cutlery knives till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. This is tedious with a capital ’T’, I vouched never to endure this kitchen torture again after leaving Leiths, I would rather eat slightly tough pastry. Your choice, but if you are intrigued give it a go! If not use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour (a Leiths sin) as quickly as you can or if you like me a ‘goody two shoes’, I do a combination of both.

Ingredients

Pastry

190g plain flour
90g cold butter cubed into similar size smallish cubes
1 pinch salt
50ml cold water

Filling

3 egg yolks
1 egg
200ml double cream
100ml milk
70-90g cheese finely grated
white pepper and salt

Method

1. To make the pastry, sift the flour together with a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb texture. Add enough cold water to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough as quickly and efficiently as possible (see note above).

2. Mould into a disc, wrap and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes – this is very important, it relaxes the gluten which makes pastry tough

3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface slightly larger than your pastry. Roll onto rolling pin and gently lift and place pastry in case. With a piece of excess pastry, very gently press into the corners of the case ensuring the pastry meets the case at the bottom. Roll off the overhanging edges of the pastry and again neaten with excess pastry.

4. Wrap the pastry (and excess pastry in case of cracks) and chill for at least 30min (the longer the better).

5. In a bowl, combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper and grated cheese, season well with salt and pepper and chill.

6. Preheat the oven to 220˚C

7. Remove the pastry case from the fridge and line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans taking care not to overload the pastry with beans! Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another five minutes to cook the base. You are looking for a very light colour almost sandy look and ‘feel’ with no grey patches.

8. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3 and lower the oven shelf to one below middle (this is called lower 1/3 of the oven)

9. Carefully pour the mixture into the quiche. I normally fill to 2/3 then place the quiche in the oven and then quickly fill in the last 1/3.

10. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set (see note).

11. You can sprinkle the quiche with more cheese and return to the oven being careful not to overcook the quiche, or the filling will become tough.

Kitchen Notes

+ You are still looking for a ever so slight little wobble in the middle as this will set further once once quiche is removed.

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