Sunday, 25 March 2007

Quiche or Tart?

I am just about to start my last week of uni before heading home for the Easter holidays. Looking through my cupboards at lunchtime I realised I had a large amount of red onions and eggs that would need using up before I left. The first thing that came to mind was a quiche. After a short rummage I unearthed some sweetcorn which I thought would look very pretty alongside the red onions and so I set to work.

The pastry was very easy to work with, although it was rather a nuisance to get out of the tin once cooked. However, I didn’t grease the tin beforehand which is probably the reason. I will have to remember to do that next time. In the end I have decided to label this as a tart rather than a quiche as in my opinion a quiche should lots of eggy mixture surrounding vegetables and a tart is lots of vegetables stuck together with eggy mixture and mine is the latter. (Confused yet?)

The tart has a naturally sweet flavour due to the red onions and sweetcorn which go well with the crisp pastry and smooth eggy filling. On cooling, the red onions turned almost the dark blue colour of blueberries, which looked very pretty next to the bright yellow of the sweetcorn. I think it could have done with a little more thyme as it only gave a very subtle flavour. Next time I will try to get hold of some fresh thyme.

I love baking the straggly shaped left over pastry on the baking tray along side the tart case. Mum always used to let us do this with any leftover pastry she had and it always brings back fond memories. They are great to nibble on when hot out of the oven, dusted with a sprinkling or sugar or spread with a little jam.

Red Onion and Sweetcorn Tart
For the pastry
130g plain flour
55g butter
Pinch of salt
1½ tbsp cold water

For the filling
400g red onions
75g Sweetcorn
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 eggs
120ml milk
1 tsp dried thyme
Pepper and salt for seasoning

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and add the butter. Using a round bladed knife, work the butter into the flour using a cutting action.
When the butter is evenly distributed through the flour, rub the mixture together using the tips of your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the cold water a little at a time and work it in using the knife. Then form the mixture into a dough using your hands.
Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Chop the onions in half and then shred them into strips.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onions and thyme. Cook over a fairly high heat until soft, sticky and sweet. Around 10 minutes.
Pre heat the oven to 180C. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until around 3mm thick. Carefully place into a 9inch fluted tin.
Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tin to remove any excess pastry. Then go round the edge of the tin pressing the pastry so that it rises slightly above the rim.
Prick the base with a sharp knife and place on a baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes.
Measure out the milk into a jug and add the eggs, pepper and sweetcorn. Whisk together until combined.
Remove the pastry case form the oven and brush the inside with a little of the beaten egg mixture and return it to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Take the pastry case out of the oven and add the fried onions over the base. Carefully pour over the egg and sweetcorn mixture. Place in the oven and leave to cook for 30 minutes until set and lightly golden brown.
Allow to cool or serve whilst still warm.

Serves 6-8 people depending on appetite.

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