Bacon & Spinach Quiche
Today's recipe is by far one of my most popular recipes and here's why - it is quick, easy, tastes delicious warm or cold and it's popular with kids and adults - a real all-round crowd pleaser. It's also very warm and rustic in presentation which is great when you are short on time but still want your meal to look fantastic when it hits the table.
While this recipe uses bacon and cheese as the two main ingredients I have also used ham and mushrooms and in the past and these sorts of flavors in this quiche work really well too. If you like, you can nix the meat and create your own version of this quiche using just chopped veggies like tomato, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus and capsicum. Once you have made this recipe a few times and are familiar with it you can really go to town on the variations.
Now I have to say, while most quiches use a short crust pastry I use a ready made puff pastry and I've never had any complaints - I also like the little flaky crispy pastry you get on the edges when using puff pastry.
The secret to getting a fantastic flavor in this quiche is good quality CHEESE - cheddar, Edam, sharp cheddar and lightly smoked cheese all work really well. You don't want to go for cheese that is light in flavor, like say, mozzarella, as it simply doesn't have the flavor or salt you need for the quiche flavor to really come out.
Also if you remember this simple ratio of 1/4 cup milk to one egg, with a pinch of salt and a good few grinds of pepper you can never really go wrong with the custard. This is important if your custard happens to fall short for whatever reason - you want the custard to JUST cover all the cheese. So if I need to I just whisk together 1 egg and a 1/4 cup milk, a shake of salt and pepper and top up my custard.
If you use a cheese stronger in flavor than a standard cheddar, taste and if very salty already do not add salt to the custard.
If you happen to feel you have too much custard for whatever reason, just add a bit more grated cheese to "thicken" it up. This is quite a forgiving recipe and allows for easy adjusting.
Last but not least, the trick with using puff pastry sheets is to get it onto your quiche tin or baking dish BEFORE it gets super soft. I then allow it to sit for a little while on the tin/pan itself and then I gently push it down into place once it has a little give.
Depending on the size of your sheets you might need a bit of extra pastry, so just cut a little extra pastry to size as required and gently press them into the areas you need so that the pan bottom and sides are covered in pastry (or up to the level of your custard).
If you have a really deep dish you only need have the pastry up to the line of your custard filling.
Watch my video demo for all my tips and tricks
YOU WILL NEED
1 x 25cm x 25cm/10" x 10" sheet puff pastry plus a little extra to fix gaps if needed
1-2 tablespoons rice bran oil
1 large onion finely diced
2 cups chopped bacon pieces
4 cups baby spinach (you can also use frozen spinach (about half a cup)
1+3/4 cups good cheddar or tasty cheese - a mix including sharp & smoked cheese also works
3/4 cup milk
2 rounded tablespoons chopped parsley
A pinch of chilli powder or paprika (optional, mainly for warmth and color)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
In a large non-stick frying pan, add the oil and allow to warm up. Add the chopped onion and bacon and fry until the onion is softened and golden in color. Add the spinach and allow to wilt and soften. Set aside.
Line your 22cm/9 inch quiche tin or dish with the pastry. If you need more pastry cut more to size and add to the areas as needed, overlapping slightly so it is easy to join. I use a fork to "bond" the edges together and get a good seal. It doesn't have to be pretty, just sealed.
Add your slightly cooled bacon, onion and spinach mixture evenly over the pastry.
Add the grated cheese evenly over the bacon mixture.
In a medium bowl or measuring jug add the milk and then the eggs and whisk until the well combined, (no yellow yolk bits should be visible or your quiche will come out tasting like eggs and for a quiche that is not good).
Add the parsley and season with a good pinch of salt and a few good grinds of pepper and mix the custard again.
Pour the egg custard over the cheese layer.
If using, sprinkle with a pinch of chilli powder or paprika.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the custard is set.
Remove and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. Perfect hot or cold with a lovely crisp salad and some fresh garlic bread!