My lovely wife is not a huge fan of quiche, but I won her over with this one. She said it was one of the most delicious things she had ever tasted. I used to make this quiche lots when I worked in the Skip Garden Kitchen, a vegetarian cafe in an urban garden in central London. It’s a great winter quiche for when all the gorgeous peppers and courgettes are out of season, somehow the sunny orangey yellow of the butternut squash and the vibrant green of the kale make a winter day not seem quite so dreary. I love this combination of flavours – you get sweetness from the squash, an earthiness from the kale, the salty sharpness from the feta and all encased in the rich buttery goodness of a homemade shortcrust pastry.
However, the absolute best thing about this quiche is the crispy bits of curly kale that stick out the top of the egg mixture. Don’t worry at all about dunking them completely into the quiche, the bits that stick out the top will become crispy and delicious in the oven (a bit like kale crisps) and the perfect foil to the softness of the butternut squash. Serve with a green salad sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and/or some puy lentils dressed with oil, cider vinegar, mustard and herbs. Yum!
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
125g salted butter (cold)
1 egg (whisked together)
A splash of cold water
For the quiche:
900g butternut squash (peeled & chopped into 3 cm cubes)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
100g curly kale (woody stalks removed and torn into pieces)
100g feta (crumbled)
300ml whole milk
Salt & pepper
A 25cm tart tin with a removable base
First make the shortcrust pastry. Rub the cold butter into the plain flour with your fingertips until they are combined and the mixture resembles sand.
Add 1/2 of the egg to the mixture and mix very briefly. Then add a splash of cold water and mix just until the pastry comes together into a dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead for about 30 seconds, just until the dough is smooth.
Form the dough into a thick round, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Once the pastry is chilled roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately the thickness of a £1 coin and large enough to line the tart tin. Turn the pastry frequently as you roll to ensure the pastry doesn’t stick to the work surface.
Line the tart tin. Lift the pastry into the tin and gently press the pastry into the tin. Trim the tart tin but leave an overlap of extra pastry, about 2cm all around the edge of the tin, this will prevent shrinkage.
Line the pastry case with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beans. Return to the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
Once the pastry is again chilled remove from the fridge and put it in the oven immediately. Bake the pastry case for approximately 20-25 minutes.
Remove the baking beans from the pastry case and brush the inside of the case with egg wash (the other 1/2 of the egg whisked with a pinch of salt). Return the pastry case to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the tart tin. Finally trim the edges of the pastry case with a sharp knife. The pastry is now ready to use for a quiche or tart.
Now for the quiche. Peel and deseed the butternut squash and cut into 3cm chunks. Put the squash into a baking tray with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well until all the butternut squash is coated in the smoked paprika. Roast in the oven at 200° Celsius for 20-25 minutes until the squash is soft and slightly crispy around the ages.
Make the eggs royale (the eggy, milk mixture that forms the basis of the quiche). Combine the 8 eggs, 300ml milk, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and whisk together until really well mixed and the eggs are completely broken up..
Put the butternut squash in an even layer in the baked pastry case. Scatter over the curly kale and the crumbled feta. Pour in the eggs royale mixture, ensuring the mixture comes to the top of the pastry case. It is totally OK if some of the curly kale pokes out over the top of the eggs royale mixture, it will get crispy and delicious in the oven.
Bake the quiche in the oven at 180° Celsius for 30 minutes or until the quiche is set in the middle. Either serve warm (but not hot) or allow to cool completely before cutting and serving. Delicious with a green salad and/or puy lentils with a mustardy dressing.