Archive for June 8th, 2009

This recipe was scribbled down from the television while I was watching Delia Smith‘s new How to Cheat at Cooking series when it first aired last year.  I have the original 1971 How to Cheat at Cooking paperback but there is nothing as posh as smoked salmon in it, as far as I can remember!
Update July 2011: I took a very large version of this to a shared buffet where I had been asked to provide an item for the main course.  It was a hit and disappeared very quickly, being particularly appreciated by a friend who eats fish but not meat.  I own two huge loose bottom flan tins (around 50cm in diameter). Useful and inexpensive, these came from a French supermarket, possibly Super-U (or Hyper-U) – I will check this Summer as I am hoping to bring back some for a friend!   I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone who entertains groups of people.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Delia’s demonstrated recipe was for Quick Cheese & Onion Tart with Smoked Salmon just one of the suggestions from she made as an alternative to the basic flan of onions and egg mixture topped with cheese.  The new television series has an accompanying book using ingredients which are readily available in supermarkets, however I am not especially interested in using ready made pastry cases or pre-cooked onions. I have done the opposite to Delia’s intention, making my own pastry and cooking everything from scratch.  A good mixture is to use part fennel and part onion for the filling, decorating the quiche with some of the wispy fennel tops, if available, instead of parsley.  When fennel is not available I have  used more onion and flavoured the flan with ground fennel seeds to give the hint of aniseed flavour which goes so well with salmon.

100_3447 Smoked salmon quiche

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Smoked Salmon, Fennel & Onion Quiche
(Serves 3-4)

1 quantity of shortcrust pastry to line a 8″ flan tin/dish

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small (or half) a head of fennel, finely chopped – reserve fronds for decoration or ½tsp ground fennel seeds
1 x 100g pack Smoked Salmon offcuts (available in supermarkets – often in the ‘Value’ range)
150ml single cream (I used Elmlea half-fat)
2 eggs
2ozs/50g strong cheddar cheese
1oz/25g grated Parmesan
Salt & pepper

1.  Make the pastry and rest in the fridge.  Preheat the oven to 200oC.

2.  Line a flan dish with the pastry, prick the base, fill with beans to prevent rising and blind bake for 10-12 minutes.  (Pastry should be set but barely coloured.)

3.  Break the eggs into a bowl and beat.  Lightly brush the inside of the hot flan case with a little of the beaten egg which will help to seal the inside. Mix the cream into the remaining egg.

4.  Heat the olive oil and fry the onion gently until translucent (along with chopped fennel or ground fennel seed if using), leaving as little liquid in the pan as possible.

5.  Grate both cheeses and mix well together.

6.  Put a layer of cooked onion (with fennel if used) in the base of the flan dish.  Evenly cover with pieces of smoked salmon.  Pour over the egg and cream mixture.  Top with mixed cheeses.

7.  Turn heat down to 180oC immediately before putting the flan into the oven.  This will help to keep the underneath of the crust crisp. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

8.  Let the flan settle for 10 minutes before serving with salad or a green vegetable and buttered new potatoes.

Variations including vegetarian:
Quick Cheese and Onion Tart (the original version) – filling: 2 onions fried in olive oil, covered with egg/cream mixture and topped with cheeses and sage leaves to decorate
Other suggestions were: Roquefort & Leeks

Also the (non-vegetarian) classic Quiche Lorraine (smoked bacon in place of salmon).

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There are many different types of pastry and most are suitable for use with both savoury and sweet dishes.  I plan to add the different types I come across in books and on the internet.  Not all will be tried (I will say so if I have used them) but I hope that other people will find this list helpful.  All recipes from elsewhere will of course be credited.  If you have a special pastry recipe (shortcrust or sweet Pâte Brisée) that is not listed here that you would like to share please leave the recipe information or a link to your site in the comments  box below.

To those to who I have linked I hope that you are happy to be credited here – thank you in advance!

Types of pastry in order of listing below:
Orange Shortcrust (Nigella Lawson)
Crème Fraîche Shortcrust (Zeb Bakes)
Cheese Pastry (Delia Smith)
Pâte Brisée (Joanne Harris’/Fran Warde)
Lemon Pastry (
Nigel Slater)
Almond Pastry (
The KitchenMaid)

Other ideas:
Chilli Cheese Pastry (Cherrapeno)



Shortcrust Pastry

Shortcrust is the pastry that I use the most and therefore has to be the first posted. I use my mother’s method for shortcrust pastry, which is always crisp and beautifully light.  It is difficult to get a light result as shortcrust pastry is often over handled and the finished result can be tough.  My mother’s use of self-raising rather than plain flour, plus a less fine ‘rubbing in’ of the flour and fat (to give the appearance of larger rather than fine breadcrumbs) gives a ‘shorter’ version, slightly more crumbly.  I know it is not the traditional way to make shortcrust but it works for us and I therefore never use plain flour.  If you want to make Shortcrust Pastry with plain rather than self-raising flour I suggest you follow the chilling and mixing instructions for Orange Shortcrust pastry (below), omitting the orange.  If I have time I use Nigella Lawson’s pre-freeze method (see orange shortcrust pastry) as it makes the starting mixture extra chilled – ideal for pastry.

Shortcrust Pastry is made using the proportion of ½ fats to flour (ie: 1oz fats to 2ozs flour).  I usually make a larger amount of pastry than needed, cutting the finished ball in half or thirds and without rolling out, freezing it for later use well wrapped in plastic. Frozen pastry is almost, but not quite as good as, freshly made and I would always make fresh pastry if I was entertaining!

(Makes enough to line a 2 or 3 flan dishes, depending on size)

12ozs/300g self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
3ozs/75g margerine (hard block type – not soft tub type)
3ozs/75g cookeen or trex white vegetable shortening (or lard if you prefer)
Cold water to mix together

1.  Better results are achieved if the ingredients are cold.  Wash your hands in cold water before handling the pastry.

2.  Sift flour and salt together into a bowl.  Cut the fat into small pieces and rub into the flour with the fingertips of one hand until you have a mixture that looks like medium sized breadcrumbs.

3.  Again using just one hand, add just enough cold water to make the dough bind together into a soft but not sticky ball.  Too much water can make the pastry hard. It is important to avoid overhandling the pastry from this point.

4.  Put the pastry ball into a plastic bag and if possible allow it to relax in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before using for a better result.

5.  When rolling out the pastry it should be placed on a floured surface and gently rolled in one direction only, rotating the pastry rather than the rolling pin, until it is about 3cm/⅛” thick.  Try to avoid stretching the pastry as you lift it and line your dish.  If possible, let the pastry rest for at least 10minutes once rolled before baking to allow it to relax.


Orange Shortcrust Pastry (Nigella Lawson)
I followed the instructions for this to the letter and the pastry was wonderful: short and light, with just a hint of orange taste.  I will definitely be making this for mince pies from now on, but it may also make an appearance for other sweet pastry case desserts.  I think the excessive chilling of the pastry is probably the key to its success, so this must not be skipped. 

The original recipe can be found in Feast: Food that Celebrates Life by Nigella Lawson as part of her recipe for Star Topped Mince Pies.

(makes 12-14 mince pies, without lids but with a small pastry decoration on top)

240g plain flour
6og vegetable shortening
60g unsalted butter
juice of 1 orange
pinch of salt

1.  Sift the flour into a basin add the fats cut into small pieces and put in the freezer for 20minutes.

2.  Squeeze the orange into a jug – heating the orange slightly will help it yield more juice.  Add the salt to the juice.  Place the jug in the fridge along with a separate jug containing some water in case extra liquid is needed.

3.  Put the flour and fat mixture into a food processor and mix until the contents look like porridge oats. 

4.  Incorporate the orange juice and process until the mixture starts to stick together.  You may find that you do not need to use all the juice, or need a little extra chilled water.  Remove from the processor and form into a ball with your hands.

5.  Divide the mixture in half, put each half in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least 20minutes before using.  Nigella made trays of small cocktail sized pies and suggested the mixture was divided into 3 rather than 2, unless you had enough trays to make all the pies at once.

6.  The pastry is very easy to work and can be re-rolled successfully several times. 

7.  When I had rolled and filled a tray of pies, I put them back in the fridge for at least 10minutes before cooking as the pastry had come to (warm) room temperature whilst being cut.


Crème Fraîche Shortcrust (found at Zeb Bakes)
This recipe is currently untried by me but it sounds unusual: richer than conventional shortcrust but not as rich as Pâte Brisée (below)

100 grams plain flour
a pinch of salt
50 grams cold butter
1 tbsp crème fraîche 

1.  Sift the flour and salt together.

2. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub in.

3.  Add crème fraîche to bring the pastry together.

4.  As with other pastries, handle as little as possible and chill before using.


Cheese Pastry (Delia Smith)
This is a lovely pastry to use for savoury flans, such as Turkey Flan with Leeks & Cheese, from the book Delia Smith’s Christmas.  Any leftover pieces could be used to make small cheesy nibble biscuits or cut into lengths and baked as cheese straws.  If I have time I use Nigella Lawson’s pre-freeze method (see orange shortcrust pastry) as it makes the starting mixture extra chilled – ideal for pastry.

2oz (50g) Cheddar cheese, grated
6oz (175g) self-raising flour
3oz (75g) butter/margerine (hard block type – not soft tub type)
½level tsp mustard powder
salt & freshly milled black pepper

1.  Cut the fat into small pieces and put with the flour in the freezer for 20minutes to pre-chill, then rub the flour into the fat till crumbly.

2.  Add the cheese, mustard and seasoning along with just enough cold water to make a dough that leaves the bowl clean.

3.  Place the dough in a polythene bag and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so before rolling out.  If the dough is difficult to work it could help if it was rolled out between two sheets of cling film, re-chilling the dough if necessary.


Pâte Brisée Pastry (Joanne Harris/Fran Warde)
This is an untried (as yet) recipe for this pastry, which is used in particular for French style dessert tarts.  I made Pâte Brisée many years ago while at school from a long forgotten recipe and remember it as successful, but the pastry difficult to handle.  The recommendation that everything is kept very cool is important.  Run your hands under cold water before making and take ingredients straight from the fridge. If you can make it in a cooler environment than a kitchen with hot oven it would be very helpful.  I have recently made some cheese biscuits with a similarly soft dough and the instructions suggested that it was rolled out between two sheets of clingfilm, which was extremely successful.  I think this might help here, plus of course putting the pastry in the fridge to re-chill as necessary.  If I have time I would use Nigella Lawson’s pre-freeze method (see orange shortcrust pastry) as it makes the starting mixture extra chilled – ideal for pastry.

The original recipe comes from from The French Kitchen by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde.  It was recommended for Tarte Citron.

(enough to line a 25cm tin)

250g plain flour
175g butter, cut into small pieces
20g unrefined caster sugar
1 egg
2 tsp water

1.  Rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until it is like breadcrumbs.  (Keep fingers and kitchen environment as cool as possible.)  Mix in the sugar.

2.  Add the egg and water and mix together with the end of a knife using a cutting action until a dough ball forms.

3.  Put onto a cool floured work surface and knead lightly for a minute with your palm to ensure a smooth pastry.

4.  Wrap and place in the fridge for 40minutes.

5.  Lightly butter a 25cm loose bottom flan tin.

6.  Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line the tin.  Trim the edges with a knife and place in the fridge for 20minutes to chill and relax.

7.  Fill and bake as in recipe.  There is no need to bake the case blind (part bake unfilled) before use.

Lemon Pastry (Nigel Slater)
This Pâte Brisée type pastry comes from a Nigel Slater recipe in his weekly Observer newspaper column on Sunday 25 July 2010.  The only change I have made is to substitute ordinary caster sugar for the golden caster originally specified.  My one concern is the instruction that the pastry should be kneaded, albeit lightly: I had thought that the best pastry was handled as little as possible, but I reserve judgement.  I have not yet had a chance to make this, but I have no reason to think that Lemon Pastry would be just as delicious as the Orange Pastry which I make regularly.  This pastry was used in a pie filled with fresh peaches, flavoured with orange zest and served with cream.

(enough to line a 24cm tin, serving 6)

150g butter
150g caster sugar
1 egg
the grated zest of a small lemon
250g flour
1 tsp baking powder
a little milk and sugar to finish

1.  Lightly butter the pie plate and set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.

2.  Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and continue creaming and add the grated lemon zest.

3.  Sift the flour and the baking powder together and gently fold into the creamed mixture.

4.  Make the dough into a ball, place on a floured work surface and knead very lightly for a minute or so.  Cut in half.

5.  Line the pie plate with one half of the dough and place both it and the remaining piece of dough in the fridge.

6.  Once the pie is filled, roll out the reserved pastry to make a generous covers for the dish. Brush the edge of the pastry already in the pie plate with milk and cover with the second piece of pastry.

7.  Press or pinch the edges gently together, brush the pie lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Make a small hole or slit in the middle of the pie crust so the steam can escape.

8.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden. Allow to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

Almond Pastry (The KitchenMaid)
This recipe was found at The Kitchen Maid (based in Australia) who used it for mince pies.  I have yet to try this but it sounds delicious and a good way to add an almond flavour to a flan.  The recipe can be made in a mixer or by hand.  It would be good adapted by adding other ground nuts: pistachios would be delicious and would add an interesting green tinge to the pastry.  The quantity below is enough for aprox 24 standard size mince pies with lids.

250g plain flour
50g ground almonds (or experiment with other ground nuts)
100g icing sugar
190g fridge cold butter, diced
1 egg yolk
1tbsp ice cold water

1.  Put the flour, almonds, sugar and butter into a mixer, processor or a bowl and mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Mix the egg yolk and water in a cup and mix in small bursts of speed by machine or by hand until the mixture clumps together.

3.  Make a flat disc with the mixture using your hands, cover with cling film or put in a plastic bag.  Leave in a cool place for at least 20 minutes.

4.  Roll the pastry disc out between two large pieces of greaseproof paper or cling film, which makes it much easier to roll and cuts down on mess.

5.  Use as required to line a large or individual tins.  Filled tarts should be baked in a hot oven.  Bake the filled tarts in a hot oven ( 200-210oC/400-420oF/Gas 6-6.5 for about 12 minutes.

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