Qhere is a little as gratifying as a quiche – a still warm, lightly set, perfectly seasoned egg custard, with cheese, herbs, veg, all encased in walls of a flaky, buttery pastry. As we are in sprout season, which happily extends far beyond Christmas, it seemed only right to add them to the lineup, too. A steamed sprout should yield a satisfying texture – neither too soft, nor too crunchy – and pairs beautifully with blue cheese.
Sprout and stilton quiche
Homemade pastry is a cinch but definitely buy some if it persuades you to try making this.
Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
400g brussels sproutshalved
2 large onionspeeled and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic clovespeeled and minced
A few thyme sprigsleaves picked
350ml double cream
1 egg, plus 3 egg yolks
100g of cheddarfinely graded
For the pastry
175g cold unsalted butter
350g spelt flourshifted
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 eggseparated, the white lightly beaten with a fork
First make the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour and salt briefly until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and, using a fork, stir with just enough of the beaten egg white to make the mixture bind. Roll into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
For the filling, steam the sprouts for five minutes until just tender. Meanwhile, sweat the onions in the oil on a medium heat for five minutes, then add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until softened.
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Coarsely grate the pastry into a buttered quiche tin, allowing extra pastry for an overhang later. Press the pastry into shape with your fingers, then roll flat with a small, floured glass. Prick with a fork, cover with greaseproof paper and baking beans, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, brush the base with the remaining egg white and return to the oven for five to 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Turn down the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4, and stir the sprouts into the onion mix. In a large bowl, whisk the cream, egg, yolks, cheddar and a generous grating of nutmeg. Break in half-walnut-sized chunks of stilton and season lightly, remembering that the stilton will be salty already. Tip the vegetables straight from the pan into the baked tart case, pour over the cream mixture and add a final grating of nutmeg. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until puffed up, golden and just set.
The simple flex
Vegans can use a dairy-free shortcrust pastry and a vegan cheese, doubling up on the thyme and onions and adding a little yeast extract for extra flavour.