Friday, 22 August 2014

Builders' Tart

When I wrote about the Cardigan Pizza Tipi a few weeks ago, I didn't mention that pizza is only served from 6 p.m. Go to eat earlier than that, on a warm sunny lunchtime (they do happen in Wales), and you'll find quiche on the menu, but not just any old quiche.

Oh no. Delicious, buttery individual pastry cases packed with perfectly paired, locally sourced (where possible) ingredients; salads bursting with flavour, and freshness, full of sunshine.

I went with the kids and my parents earlier in the summer. Pink was in disagreeable mood. 

"But I don't LIKE quiche. What am I going to eat?"

Unfortunately, the alternative was mushroom soup. Pink has an avowed (and most disappointing) hatred of mushrooms, and I was starting to get a little bit weary of the whinging, which she can keep up for an admirably long time when the mood takes her, when I hit upon the solution.

Yes, I pandered to her.

"Well, look, this one with sausage and bacon in it - that's not quiche - that's a TART."

Problem solved.

I don't really approve of my actions, but needs must and all that, and it was worth it to get her to eat the Builders Quiche that I knew she'd love: sausages, bacon from the local butcher, cannelini beans, the usual eggy cheesy filling. I don't even know why she objects to quiche in the first place - omelette, eggy bread, poached eggs - probably some of her favourite things to eat.

I wanted to recreate the quiche/tart this week for some friends. Off to Dewi James in Cardigan for chipolatas in natural casings and streaky bacon (I got my eggs there too), and, as advised by the pastry chef at the Tipi when we asked him - the best Welsh butter I could find.

Pastry's not my forte - I'm not going into that again - and my finished shell, post blind-baking was not a thing of beauty, but I was pleased with the flavour and the butteriness of the pastry as part of the end result; and while that end result might not quite have captured the full essence of the Tipi's own Builder's Quiche (I'm wondering if I was missing some sliced tomatoes), it was definitely getting there.

Builders' Quiche/Tart

Serves 8 generously


300g plain flour
150g best Welsh butter
1 large egg yolk
around 50 ml cold milk

1 large onion
8 rashers of streaky bacon
8 good quality chipolata sausages
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
5 large eggs
500 ml semi-skimmed milk
fresh ground salt & pepper
400g can cannellini beans
75g grated cheddar


Make the pastry: in a food processor, whiz the flour and butter to crumbs then add in the egg yolk and pulse to combine. Slowly add the milk till the mixture just starts to come together, then bring it together with your hands, knead it briefly to form a ball, flatten, wrap in clingflim and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Once the pastry is rested, remove it from the fridge.

Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

Line a 28 cm, deep quiche dish and bake blind for 20 mins - I line my uncooked pastry case with greaseproof and add baking beans (because I have them) for this bit, then remove the beans and paper and cook for a further 5 minutes.

At the same time, chop the onions relatively finely, and snip up the bacon in to bitesize strips.

Combine the onion and bacon in an oven proof dish, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of oil, mix together and pop in the oven for about 30 mins, stirring every so often.

Put the sausages in an oven proof dish, drizzle with the remaining oil and pop in the oven too for around 30 mins, shaking the dish every so often (when you stir the onions and bacon).

While the pastry is baking blind and the onions, bacon and sausages are in the oven, whisk up the eggs, add in the milk and the fresh ground salt and pepper.

Grate the cheese, drain the cannellini beans.

Once the case is baked and the onions bacon and sausage are cooked as indicated, you're ready to assemble.

Scatter the onion and bacon mix over the bottom of the pastry case, and arrange the sausages, fan-like, over the top. Scatter over the cannellini beans, then the cheese, finally pour in the eggy mixture on top then return the whole thing to the oven for 30-40 minutes, till it's baked and golden.

I'm afraid my photos of the finished product were rubbish, but I quite liked this one...


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