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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with baby Potatoes

Another classic French recipe from the Smoking Tava, Quiche is an open faced pastry-crust (shortcrust pastry) filled with savory custard and meat or vegetable filling. In this recipe I have used Spinach, mushroom and baby potatoes but you can go wild with your imagination and make your own filling. This is my first attempt and I'm quite impressed with the outcome.
Shortcrust pastry-
All purpose flour (Maida) - 200 gms
Butter - 100 gms, chilled, cut into cubes
Egg - 1 medium sized, beaten
Pinch of salt

Baby potatoes - 4-5, peeled and boiled until just done
Button mushroom - 150 gms, sliced
Spinach - 200 gms, large leaves with stalks removed.
Eggs - 4 medium sized
Double cream - 250 ml
Dried chives - 1 tsp
Chilly powder or Cayenne pepper - ½ tsp
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder - a pinch
Parmesan cheese - 25 gms, grated
Olive oil (cooking) - 2 tbsp
Lemon juice - from ½ lemon
Salt to taste

For the shortcrust pastry, add flour, butter and salt into a food processor and run it briefly. Add half of the egg and run it again. Add more egg, just enough to make the mixture moist and to bring it together. On a flat work surface, make a ball out of the mixture and then flatten it until its around 1 cm thick. Wrap it in a cling film and place it in the refrigerator for around 30 mins. Pre-heat oven to 180º C. The pastry needs to be blind baked first before we can add in the filling. Line a 9 inch tart tin with the pastry and then with a layer of foil or butter paper. Fill with baking beans or dry pulses/rice (so that the edges of the pastry are held together and does not fall in). Bake in the oven for about 20 mins or till the pastry is just dry. Take out the foil/butter paper, brush the inside of the pastry with the leftover egg. Place it back into the oven for another 5 minutes. Once done take it out and let it cool.

Now prep the filling - Put spinach leaves in boiling water, just as the leaves turn slightly dark and still green, take it off and immediately put in cold water. Squeez excess water and shred the spinach leaves into small bits using your hands.
Heat a pan, add olive oil. Now add the mushrooms, let it sweat out all the water, add ¼ of the black pepper and salt. Saute till all the water has been evaporated. Now sprinkle some lemon juice. Take it off the flame and let it cool down completely.
In a bowl, beat 4 eggs, add cream, chilly powder, black pepper, dried chives, parmesan cheese, nutmeg. Nicely blend the mixture. Add spinach to the cream mixture. Slice the boiled potatoes around ½ cm thick. Spread the potato slices on the pastry almost covering the bottom. Evenly spread the mushroom. Now spoon in the creamy spinach mixture until the pastry is about 95% filled (the mixture may rise further because of the eggs). Bake in the oven @ 180º C for about 40 minutes until its golden brown and is just set in the center. Remove from the oven, allow it cool for around 10 minutes.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Bonjour friends...this is my first encounter with French cooking. And well what better way to start than with baking. Presenting to you, the classic French puff pastry....Croissant. The recipe does not have too many ingredients, but requires time, patience and lot of love.

All purpose flour (Maida) - 4 cups plus some extra flour for dusting
Active dry yeast - 1 tbsp
Sugar - ¼ cup
Milk - ½ cup, luke warm
Water - ½ cup, luke warm
Salt - 2 ¼ tsp
Butter sticks - 200 gms, cold

Egg wash-
Egg - 1
Water - 1 tbsp

Take milk in a large bowl, add yeast, whisk nicely. Add sugar and salt, mix well. Now add 4 cups of flour, mix thoroughly (no need to completely knead the dough at this point). Roughly shape into a ball place it in a large plate and cover it nicely with cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Place a large piece of cling wrap on the counter top, place the butter stick on top and cover it with another cling wrap. Now gently start beating the butter flat with a rolling pin. Flat it to around 1/2 cm thick. Repeat for the the rest of the sticks. Put the flattened butter back to the refrigerator. Now take out the dough and roll out to from a 12 inch square. Place the flat butter sheets in the centre of the square and arrange next to each other. Fold one flap of the dough covering the butter, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the center of the butter. Repeat for rest of the flaps. Press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. Dust the dough and start rolling the dough lengthwise while keeping the width as is. Roll till the length is around 24 inches and width about 8 inches (Keep dusting the dough making sure it does not stick to the counter top). Now fold one end of the dough (along the length) till the middle, and then fold the other end to the middle (both ends meet at the center). Fold the dough from the center so that the dough forms a  6 inch x 8 inch rectangular shape. Place the dough in a baking tray, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour. Take out and roll the dough till the length is around 24 inches (lengthen the other sides this time, viz the open ended sides) and repeat the above process for three more times refrigerating the dough every time for ½ hour.

Once set in the refrigerator, take out and roll into a 40 inch x 8 inch long sheet. With a scale, make marks at 5 inch intervals on one side lengthwise. Mark intergvals of 2 ½ inch on the other side. With the help of a pizza cutter, cut triangles such that the base of the triangle is 5 inch. Once done, make 1 cm long cut right in the middle of base of the triangle. Now pull the edges slightly (on either sides of the cut) apart and fold and keep rolling in-wards towards the pointed edge of the triangle to form the basic croissant shape.  Now bring both the edges together to form the final croissant shape. Place it over butter paper set on a baking tray. Leave it in a warm place (around 30º C) for proofing. Make sure the place to not too warm or else the butter would just melt away. Keep it for around 2 hours.
Beat the egg and water in a bowl to form the egg wash. Now brush the egg wash gently (do not apply pressure on the croissants, they are very delicate at this point). Pre-heat the oven @ 200º C and bake for 20 minutes (after the first 10 minutes rotate the sheet and continue baking).

Enjoy the delicate and buttery flavoured croissant.