January 24, 2008

B's deli inspiration

Yesterday B was in experimental mood, and inspired by my favourite lunchtime indulgence from our local Deli Barringtons, he decided he would have a go at his first ever proper pastry flan! "I mean, how difficult can it be?" he said in true 'man' style "...it's basically just an omelette in pastry!" Well, I couldn't disagree, he did have a point............Although not strictly a 'Quiche' in the true definition of the word, which brings to mind a rich eggy custard, soft set with a million and one different delicious combinations, this concoction of meltingly sweet, vegetables, slow roasted and piled into a rich crumbly pastry case with eggs, cream and cheese, was heavenly.......I might even dare go as far as to say that it may be even better cold! I brought some to work for my lunch today, and the pungent garlicky smell (you've probably already guessed that I'm a bit of a garlic fiend!) as I opened the crinkly brown paper packet was mouth watering. Thank you B.

B's Roast Vegetable and Mozzarella Flan

50g Lard
50g Butter
225g Plain Flour
Pinch of salt

Roast Vegetable Filling:
1 each of
Red Pepper
2 Sweet potatoes
Good quality Olive Oil

Mix together: 2 eggs, 150 mls cream, 3-4 cloves of garlic, herbs (whatever you have to hand - oregano/basil/thyme/tarragon work well)

Salt and Pepper
75g mozzarella
Cherry tomatoes

Chop the vegetables into chunky pieces, and toss in the olive oil in a roasting tin. Roast the vegetables at 200C / 400 F / Gas 6 for about 45 mins to an hour, until they are soft and starting to brown.

While the vegetables are cooking prepare the shortcrust pastry case. Rub the lard and butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, or whizz in a food processor. I prefer to rub in by hand just simply because it's more satisfying (if a little messy, but then that's what baking is about, right?, getting up close and personal with the food!) and you can control the texture better. Anyway, back to the recipe....bring the pastry together with a little cold water, just enough to bind. Be gentle!, over-handled pastry becomes hard. Cover the pastry in cling film and leave in the fridge to 'rest' for about half an hour. This will mean that the pastry won't shrink so much when it's cooked. Roll out the pastry on a floured board (B used a handy bottle of wine in the absence of a rolling pin!) and use to line a 23cm (9 inch) flan tin.

Prick the base and sides of the flan with a fork to help it to cook evenly, and then bake blind for 15 minutes in the top part of a hot oven 190C / 375F / Gas 5 - 'baking blind' just means baked without a filling. To stop the pastry rising too much, or losing it's shape, you generally line the pastry with baking paper and then tip in dried beans while it cooks, but I've also seen recipes where they suggest crumpling up foil instead. Here's how Delia does it...

When the vegetables are roasted to a melting heap, layer them into the baked pastry case interspersed with the torn up mozzarella, and egg/garlic/cream/herb mixture. Finally, dot the top with cherry tomatoes for extra colour if you like, then bake again for about 30-40 mins in the centre of the oven, 190C / 375F / Gas 5 until the flan is set and golden brown.

I like it served with a crunchy salad and tangy dressing for added bite.....

This is a great flan to add your personal touch to by experimenting with the amount and types of vegetables you choose, and you could also substitute goats cheese, or parmesan for the mozzarella for other scrumptious flavour variations!

No comments: