Leek and bacon quiche
This quiche makes a great addition to a picnic or lunchbox and can be baked a couple of days in advance. Take the time to slowly cook the leeks so they become meltingly sweet – a wonderful partner for salty bacon and cream. Make sure your pastry case is well cooked before you add the filling – the bottom should be as crisp as the edges.
½ quantity shortcrust pastry (see below), chilled
Tapioca or potato starch for dusting
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
For the filling
1 tsp duck fat or lard
6 rashers of unsmoked back bacon, derinded
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts), well washed and chopped
200ml double cream
180ml whole milk
Black pepper (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line the base of a 24-centimetre loose-bottomed flan tin with a disc of baking parchment.
Roll out the pastry between two sheets of cling film dusted with tapioca or potato starch to about the thickness of a $2 coin. Peel off the top sheet and invert the pastry over the flan tin, easing it onto the base and sides. Peel off the cling film and patch any holes in the pastry. Using a rolling pin or sharp knife, remove the excess pastry overhanging the rim. Prick the pastry all over with a fork.
Line the pastry case with baking parchment, to come above the edge of the case. Fill with baking beans or dried beans and bake 'blind' for 10 minutes. Lift out the baking beans and parchment. Brush the pastry case with beaten egg and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until the base is cooked through. It should feel firm and the pastry should be golden. Lower the oven setting, if necessary, to 180C.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the duck fat or lard in a frying pan and fry the bacon rashers until they have taken some colour; remove and set aside. Add the butter to the pan. Once it has melted, add the leeks and cook until soft and sweet smelling, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool a little. Cut the cooked bacon into strips.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, cream and milk until well combined. Stir in the leeks, bacon and some pepper if you like (the bacon will provide enough salt). Pour into the pastry case. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until slightly risen and light golden brown on top. It should still have a little wobble in the middle, but not too much or it won't set. Allow to cool slightly and serve just warm. This quiche will keep in the fridge for two to three days.
Blackberry bakewell tart
Cooking blackberries takes me back to my childhood and foraging along the hedgerows. Here, a jammy blackberry compote complements frangipane beautifully. For a summer version, use raspberries to fill, and replace the vanilla in the frangipane with lemon zest.
Butter for greasing
½ quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (see below), chilled
Tapioca or potato starch for dusting
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
For the fruit filling:
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
40g light muscovado sugar, to taste
2 tsp cornflour, blended to a paste with 1 tbsp water
For the frangipane:
100g ground almonds
40g potato starch (or an extra 25g ground almonds)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
100g salted butter, softened
100g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the topping
20g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 200C. Butter the sides of a 23-centimetre loose-bottomed flan tin; line the base with parchment.
To make the fruit filling, put the blackberries, lemon zest and sugar into a small pan and cook until the juices have run and started to reduce a little, 10 minutes or so. Add the cornflour paste and cook, stirring, until thickened. Set aside to cool.
Roll out the pastry between two sheets of cling film dusted with tapioca or potato starch and use to line the flan tin. Prick the base with a fork. Trim off the excess pastry. Line the pastry case with parchment and baking beans. Bake 'blind' for 10 minutes, then take out the parchment and beans. Brush the pastry case generously with beaten egg and bake for a further five minutes until golden and cooked through. Let cool. Lower the oven setting to 180C, if necessary.
To make the frangipane, sift the ground almonds, potato starch, if using, and baking powder into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well until smooth and fluffy.
Spoon the fruit filling into the pastry case, spoon the frangipane on top and level the surface. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 50 minutes, or until the frangipane is cooked. To test, insert a skewer into the frangipane layer: if it comes out with no wet crumbs clinging, it's done. Serve warm or at room temperature, with cream if you like.
Makes 450g (1 quantity)
The secret to great pastry is to keep everything cold and use only your fingers – not palms, when rubbing in fat. There is no need to worry about over-developing gluten here, but you don't want to melt the fat into the flour and end up with a greasy lump. It might seem like a lot of ingredients, but the finished pastry is short, nutty and buttery.
You can pre-make a pastry flour mix by multiplying the dry ingredient quantities below, whisking everything together in a large bowl or bucket, then weighing out bags of 295g. Each of these bags will make up one quantity of this pastry – enough for two tarts or four pasties. Alternatively, make a few batches of pastry and freeze.
80g rice flour
90g sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, chestnut flour or white teff flour
50g tapioca starch
70g ground almonds
2-3 pinches of sea salt
3 tsp ground linseed
1 tsp ground psyllium husk
100g salted butter, chilled and diced
1 large egg, beaten
3-4 tbsp cold water
Mix the flours, tapioca starch, ground almonds, salt, linseed and psyllium together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs – don't go so far that it looks like sand. Stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
Sprinkle in some water and toss the crumbs with your fingers. Continue to add water in small amounts until the crumbs start to form clumps as you toss them. Avoid kneading the dough or squishing it together too much, just turn the crumbs with your fingers to encourage them to absorb the water. You will need to make the dough wetter than for a standard wheat dough, as the flours and linseed will take up slightly more water. The texture you're after is a soft putty rather than a firm dough; it should be almost sticky.
Knead briefly and gently to bring together into a ball. Flatten between two sheets of baking parchment to about a 5cm thickness and chill for at least an hour – overnight is ideal, so that the flour can soak up the water and produce a much more pliable pastry.
If it seems at all crumbly when you come back to it after an hour, simply crumble it into lumps and add two-to-three teaspoons of water before re-kneading. You'll get the hang of how much water to add after you've made a couple of batches. Err on the side of too wet rather than too dry and your pastry will hold together better.
The pastry freezes well for up to two months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and use chilled.
Variation: sweet shortcrust pastry
Add 50g light muscovado sugar with the flours.