Saturday, 3 March 2012

Cauliflour & Comté Quiche

Shoo or was that Chou?

'Out of my way!' The old man was trying to get off the bus - the obstacle, a pear-shaped lady with a couple of plastic grocery bags. She hadn't heard at first. 'Oh excusez-moi' she begged when he brushed past her, hitting one of the bags (accidently I hoped, looking on).

And so that is how I began to think of  Choufleur (Cauliflour) that morning on the way to work, staring at the bulbous form in the flimsy grocery bag that the old man had just hit. What was she going to make with that cauli I almost asked aloud. Her hair was oiled back in a black bun and a gold stud sat proudly on the left side of her nose. Hmmm. I thought 'Gobi Aloo', that comforting curry that my mum used to make for us with floury potatoes and florets with a bite. 'I could eat some right now' I was thinking until I stoppped to clear up my drooling mess of thoughts. Wait. Right. There.

Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps the lady on the bus was going to make something else with that 'gobi'. Why was I, of all people, putting her culinary expertise in a box? Hmmph. The bus stopped and I got off; the doors closed behind me. I will never know the fate of that cauli. Yet, I learned, no, reminded myself, not to think so hastily.

So how many different fates can a cauli have? Well, this little cauli, right here, went into a quiche with lashings of Comté cheese.

Comté (pronounced 'con - TAY') cheese comes from the Jura Mountains in France. This cheese goes through a maturing period of  4  to 18 months which means that each Comté cheese has a unique flavour.

As I wanted a colourful quiche and any old excuse to spice things up, I blanched the florets with a teaspoon of turmeric which didn't overpower the overall taste.

The Recipe makes 4-6 servings

For the custard filling:

200ml Cream
100ml Milk
4 eggs
100g Grated Comté Cheese
1 small Cauli (cut into florets and blanched with tsp of turmeric)
Pinch of Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the shortcrust pastry:

125g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water

Make the shortcrust pastry.

1.Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub together to make a crumb-like consistency. Then make a well, and stir in the egg yolk with a wooden spoon. Mix to a firm dough using drops of the cold water to hold the dough together (you may not need all of it). Don't knead the dough as this will make the pastry hard just bring it together with the spoon and hold the shape together with your hands. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

2. Roll out the dough with a little flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. Line a round quiche tin with baking parchment and put the pastry over it. Use your hands to place it in neatly and trim the excess off the rim. Prick the base of the dough with a fork.

3. Blind bake for 20 minutes at 180° with baking parchment and baking beans to maintain the crust's shape. Uncover for the last 5 minutes of baking for a crisp and golden  crust.

Prepare the cauliflower.

Wand cut the cauliflower into florets. Add a tbsp of coarse sea salt and a teaspoon of turmeric to the boiling water for blanching. When water is boiling, add the florets and boil for 5-7 minutes. Check with a fork, the florets mustn't be left to go too soft.

Make the custard  filling.

1. Beat the eggs. Then stir in the cream and milk. Whisk together. Season with salt and spices.

2. Place the florets evenly in the quiche tin. Pour in the custard filling, and top with the grated cheese.

3. Bake for 40 minutes at 180°

4. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into the quiche.

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