I will let you in on a little secret, I had never made quiche, before I made this one. Somehow, I never ended up baking this delicious flaky buttery french inspired savoury dish. As delicious as they are , quiches are high in fat content and doing away with butter means compromising on the flakiness of the pastry. And that sort of defeats the purpose of slaving over a dish for hours. Then one fine day, I decided to face my fears, and give it try. As with most recipes I try, I first tried to search for delicious low-cal version of it. So after a bit of searching (most of it futile) for a healthy quiche recipe, I chanced upon one which used spelt flour as pie crust and skim milk and egg whites in place of whole eggs and cream. I was intrigued and decided to put it to test. That and the fact that I had a whole two bunches of spring fresh asparagus that I was bored of eating. AS refused to eat anymore grilled roasted spears, so I had to come up with something before it went bad.
I wouldn’t go so far as calling this recipe healthy, but it definitely is low fat compared to a traditional recipe. I used wholemeal wheat flour for the pastry base, and skim milk and low fat feta cheese. The results were surprisingly really good. I was quiet nervous about making this, as quite a few healthy baking recipes that I have tried have turned into a disaster. I had made backup plans of ordering pizza incase this failed the taste test. But I was in for a happy surprise and it turned out fantastically good. The base was crisp and the filling was delicious. Leeks and onions added a nice caramelised touch which when combined with the tartness of feta cheese, and the crunchy asparagus went really well. I did sprinkle some nutmeg in the mix as well and it gave it a nice hint of spice. These are delicate flavours that are delicious. Serve it with a simple side salad of mixed greens to add a refreshing crunch, and a citrusy dry white wine, and you have an elegant dinner ready. The hard part about this recipe is the pastry ofcourse. You can use store bought shortcrust as well if you are not fussy about using wholemeal base. Here’s the recipe for, Asparagus & Feta Cheese Quiche with Caramelised Leeks.
Asparagus & Feta Cheese Quiche with caramelised Leeks
INGREDIENTS For the crust:
- 1cup wholemeal flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/3cup ice cold water
For the filling:
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2tsp crushed black pepper
- 1 cup asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces with spears intact
- 1/2 cup frozen peas defrosted in a cup of warm water and drained
- 1 Leek sliced, white part only
- 100gm Feta cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- Salt to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
- The Crust: Begin by combining the flour and salt in a food processor or mixing bowl. Mix the butter into the flour mixture until there are pea-sized (or smaller) pieces of butter. Gradually pour the water in, one tablespoon at a time while stirring the mixture. Grasp the dough (still in the bowl) and mix with your hands, gently. Place dough on heavily floured countertop, and flour your rolling pin. Roll it out gently until it’s about 1/4 inch thick and large enough for you pie pan. I used a 9inch Pie Pan and pressed the dough into the crinkled edges. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up while it’s cooking. Bake in a 200C oven for 10 minutes. Leave it to cool.
- Reduce the oven temp to 180C.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and leeks, season with a pinch of pepper and salt. Stir and spread out to cook until they start to caramelise, about 3-5minutes.
- Add the asparagus and peas, and cook over medium heat until the asparagus is fork tender.
- Whisk together egg, egg whites, milk, chives and nutmeg. Spread the vegetable mixture in the bottom of the prepared crust. Sprinkle feta cheese on top. Pour egg mixture over top.
- Decorate the top with two sliced spears crossed over. (optional)
- Bake at 180C, uncovered until set and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
- Let quiche rest at room temperature for 10 minutes to settle and serve.