Introduction

This is the ultimate greens quiche! Why call it a quiche -tart? Just to emphasise the fact that this is a pastry quiche (there are also crustless versions). It is a super versatile recipe and you can basically substitute all the ingredients in the list with whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. I happened to have spinach and kale that needed to be used ASAP. I opted here for a more of a spanakopita flavour (recipe will come soon). You can be creative and make your own version as any combination will work!

Materials

For the pastry
  • 250g plain flour
  • 150g cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
  • 1x egg yolk
  • 1x tablespoon of cold semi-skimmed milk
  • 1x teaspoon of salt
For the filling
  • 200g kale (weight with the stalks), roughly chopped leaves
  • 200g frozen spinach
  • 2-3x spring onions, cut in rounds 0.5cm thick
  • 2x leeks, cut in rounds 0.5cm thick (approx. 300gr weight with the dark green tops)
  • 2x eggs
  • 200ml of double cream or crème fraîche
  • 200g of feta, crumbled
  • 20g of pine nuts, toasted
  • 10g of dill, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Equipment needed: Tart tin 23cm

You can use a vegan cream alternative for a lighter version!

Method

For the pastry, mix the flour and salt with the cold butter in a bowl of a mixer (with the paddle attachment) and mix for 1min on a low speed. Then increase the speed to medium and mix for further 2min until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency. Then add the egg yolk, mix to incorporate and add the cold milk. It should be enough for the dough to just come together. Make a ball with the dough, wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest at room temperature for one hour.

In the meantime, start making the filling by wilting the kale and the spinach. For the kale, remove all the hard stalks. You can strip the leaves off the stalk with your fingers or cut the hard bits with a knife.  Then put the leaves in a pan, add salt and toss around the kale with tongs to ensure it cooks evenly. Cook until they lose volume,  become bright green and when they just start to colour, take them out of heat. It should take approx 5-6 min (or even faster if your pan is already hot). Don’t overflow the pan but wilt it in several batches. For the spinach, add the frozen blocks on a hot pan until the ice is melted and stir frequently (approx. 10min). If you have fresh spinach leaves, you can wilt them using the same method.

Add a little bit of olive oil in a pan and add the chopped leeks and spring onions. Sauté them until soft (4-5min), then add in the pan the wilted kale and spinach and make sure everything is mixed well together and all moisture is evaporated (about 2-3 min). Set aside to cool.

In a separate small pan add the pine nuts and fry for a couple of minutes until just golden (don’t burn them!). Set aside to cool.

After the hour has passed, roll the dough between two parchment papers, this way you avoid incorporating extra flour. Roll the dough until it is 4mm thick. Here, I used a rolling pin with guides. Remember that you want to give your dough a round shape, so roll one side and then turn the dough (or the rolling pin) by 90oC and roll again. Also account extra for the sides of the tin (approx. 4cm high) i.e roll the dough in a circle of minimum 27cm diameter. Carefully transfer the rolled dough onto the tart tin and tuck the dough in the ‘corners’ of the tin. You can push it with your fingers (if you don’t have long nails that is) or take a small piece of the dough and wrap it in cling film and use that as a tool to push down the dough. Make sure that the dough is in all the ‘corners’ and side crevices of the tin. Then take a sharp knife and cut the excess dough that overflows. You can use it to fill any holes you might have (nobody will know!). Then make fork marks everywhere in the dough, not just the bottom but the sides too. Refrigerate the dough in the tin for 30min.

Make sure you push the dough in all the crevices of the tin and refrigerate before baking. This will stop any shrinking!

Grease a tart tin with butter and pre-heat the oven to 180oC/fan. After the 30min, put a baking paper on top of the pastry, add some ceramic beads (or dry beans) and blind bake for 15min. Then take it out of the oven, remove the beads and egg wash the pastry with a beaten egg (you will use the remaining egg for the filling) and bake for a further 15min. Set aside  to cool (about 15-20min).

Make sure you let both the filling and the pastry case come to room temperature before assembling. This will stop soggy bottoms!

In the meantime, finish the filling. Add in the kale/spinach/ leek/onion mix,  the feta (crumble it with your hands), the dill, the toasted pine nuts, the double cream and the eggs (use any egg left from the egg wash plus one more). Add salt (but not too much as the feta is salty) and pepper to taste and mix well.

When the pastry case is cool add the filling in the pastry case. Oven cook for 30-40minutes.

Discussion-Conclusion

I know, I know asking you to do a pastry dough is maybe too much but you can make a larger batch and freeze the rest. Then you will have already made pastry to use whenever you have vegetables sitting around in the fridge. Adding a bit of cheese and some creamy eggy goodness makes everything taste better! And if you are like me struggling to eat kale raw, it is a great way to achieve your five a day!

Leave your dough to rest at room temperature for easier rolling.

This pastry recipe I use here is a mix of two recipes (see references below). Both recommend to make the breadcrumb stage in a mixer but if you don’t have one, you can mix the butter and the flour with your hands. There is nothing wrong with that, as we want butter pieces in the flour. One recipe adds cold milk and the other cold water to bring everything together. I am not sure if there are any differences in the consistency/flavour, as it is only a tiny amount used to bring the dough together. One recipe suggests to rest the dough at room temperature for an hour and the other recipe to put it in a fridge. Any method would work, but if you choose to rest in the fridge it will be a bit hard to roll at the beginning but the dough will come to room temperature eventually. If you choose the fridge option, definitely do not roll the pastry before resting it, as it will break down when you try to put it on the tart tin. Here, I opted for the room temperature option, which is the easier, and I didn’t see any major differences between these two methods.

There is another issue with the number of tablespoons of milk/water you add for the dough to come together. One recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of milk. When I used the tablespoon that we actually eat with (not the measuring tablespoon), I had to add 4 tablespoons for the dough to come together! Here, I used the proper measurement of a tablespoon so I had to add only 1 tablespoon. So, it doesn’t matter what you use, you will have to judge and add just enough for you to be able to make a ball out of the dough. If you add too much milk/water add a bit more flour, but avoid going back and forth by adding one tablespoon at a time and mix  to incorporate before you add the second one (if you need to)..

Don’t rely on exact measurements found on recipes. Just add enough milk/water for the dough to come together!

With this recipe you can also create layers. Mix the cream and egg in a separate bowl. Then fill the pastry case with the vegetable/feta mix and on top add the egg/cream mix  (trying not to mix with the rest of the vegetables below). However this method can cause extra mess. Here, I mixed all the ingredients together and then filled in the pastry case. So up to you!

In conclusion, this is a very versatile recipe and can be different each time. You can make a lot of different versions of this with the only constants the pastry and the cream/egg mix. You will not regret the extra effort for the pastry. The recipe is super tasty, simple and at the same time a very different dish that will impress your friends! Let me know what you think!

Mushrooms and peppers work quite well with the kale and spinach. You can also replace feta with Parmesan or omit cheese all together!

Leave a Reply