Mini Bacon & Spinach Quiches

I’ve made quiches before for home ec class back in RG, crustless though. While testing recipes for the party, I made these bacon and spinach quiches which I really wanted to include in the menu but I couldn’t fit it into my prep schedule.

Making these were fun though! I love savoury food as much as sweet, but it’s harder to make savoury food that I can bring for people to try.

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Make-shift pie weights! Cheap, easy and can be re-used every time!

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ImageLoving how colourful they are! But the cups do take time to shape so ah maybe next time.Image

Excellent when lightly toasted so that the crust is flaky and crumbles in your mouth~

Shortcrust pastry (Pâte Brisée) Recipe

Originally from Simply Recipes (Link), re-written for those without a food processor below. If you do have a food processor, this recipe is slightly easier, but making pie crust without a food processor isn’t very difficult as well. Do head over to the simply recipes site if you do intend on making this with a food processor!

Yield: Makes 1 pâte brisée crust, enough for 1 9-inch tart. Double the recipe to make a pie with a bottom and top crust.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons sugar (increase to 1 1/2 tsps if making a sweet tart)
  • 113g (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold/frozen (If you don’t have a food processor, just stick the block of butter in the freezer without cutting it up into cubes)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Directions:

  1. Whisk flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Take the frozen block of butter and grate it into the bowl containing the flour mixture. (This makes sure that the flour can be quickly incorporated with the butter before it starts getting warm, a big problem for hot and humid Singapore)
  3. Either use a large wooden spoon or your hands to cut the butter into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles a course meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas, as per the picture below (Source: LivingWellSpendingLess). Uneven butter pieces are not a problem, they actually help make the crust more flaky (Y). I like using my hands for this because I feel like it helps me judge the texture of the mixture better, but sometimes when the weather is really warm, I place the bowl on a tray with a little ice water in it, and also leave a bowl of ice water and a towel next to me, where I can soak my hands to make them cold and dry them before cutting in the butter.coarse meal
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of ice cold water to the mixture and mix. Add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. Pinch some of the dough to check for readiness – if it holds together, it’s ready. If not, add a little more water and mix again. Try to keep the water to a minimum as too much water will make the crust tough.
  5. Tip the mixture from the bowl and place on a clean, smooth surface. For an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique, called “fraisage”. (I tried this and it worked well!) Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky.
  6. Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disc. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter, speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing in the dough. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (At this point you can freeze the dough disk for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
  7. When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to take just enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
  8. If making a pie, place the dough on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
  9. If making the mini quiches/pies, use any round cookie cutter of the right size to cut out pieces of the dough and place directly into the pie dishes.

To blind bake the crust:

  • Pre-heat oven to 218 degrees celsuis.
  • Place a piece of baking/parchment paper on the pie dough in the pie dish and fill it with pie weights (dry beans work just as well and definitely cheaper too). Make sure that they cover the bottom of the pie and press against the sides of the pie. The weights on the bottom will keep the pie from puffing up and the weights against the sides will keep the sides from sagging as the crust bakes.
  • Bake for 12-15 min until the edges are very lightly golden. Remove the crust(s) from the oven and remove the baking/parchment paper with the pie weights in them.
  • Put the crusts back in the oven and bake for another 5 min.

The quiche filling:

As for the filling, I didn’t really measure out the ingredients. Here’s what it consisted of:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped fresh baby spinach
  • Bacon, fried
  • Swiss cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Layer the bacon, spinach and cheese in each/the quiche and pour the egg mixture over it. Bake at 170 degrees celsius for about 20min, or until the filling is set and golden.

Note: Next time I’ll try blanching the spinach first so that they look more cooked (wilted-y) instead of still holding their leaf shapes.

Okay that’s all!

In other news, I got a new stand mixer!! Show it off with a picture soon hahaha very very happy!!!! Thanks hotgang, as embarrassing as our name is ❤

 

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TWD: Buttermilk Scones!

Hi again !

The past 2 weeks have been really trying – had a non-stop fever for 12 days in the midst of 2 major assignments! Thankfully I’m blessed with such caring and thoughtful friends who’ve sent me lots of encouragement (and notes!!), as well as the ever hovering mum. And who’s forgetting my loving Dino, even in the midst of his mid-term exam. ♥♥♥

I was so disappointed that I fell sick right as I was supposed to take part in this month’s first Tuesdays with Dorie challenge, and really disheartened after the fever refused to go away after more than a week. Despite having a next assignment coming up, I dropped everything and made the buttermilk scones I was supposed to make anyway. Baking therapy should be a thing – it does wonders *_*

The challenge this time around were Buttermilk Scones, found on page 210 on Baking with Julia. Head over to Tuesdays with Dorie to see the links from all the other bakers who participated, with their beautiful scones 🙂

Scones were blueberry-lemon, here’s a picture ft. small hands

Decided to set up shop at the dining table instead of the kitchen – with my page in Baking with Julia marked out, I’m ready to start *excited*

Got my brother to take this photo (hehe in case you were wondering what socery!!) (also you can see his usual style – tip of photo finger. Hahaha he took one for Benz, Lin and I before and his finger was covering so much of the photo we looked really funny :’D)

We’re supposed to cut the butter in, and I decided to try grating the butter into the dry ingredients before rubbing it in with my hands! This worked out pretty well.

After working the butter into the dry ingredients to form a crumbly texture (it’s alright to have slightly uneven lumps, this adds to the flakiness of the scones, as with most pastries), add the buttermilk!

Adding the grated lemon peel

No pictures on the (very short) kneading and shaping process cause my hands were all icky!

Before baking

Little pizzas :’D

Fresh out of the oven ♥

I love the smell of freshly baked goods, permeating the house. I could do this every day, if only I could!!

A good night with my scones and a bag of small things ♥

Which reminds me that I never did finish The God of Small Things, because reading fiction is such a luxury. But actually, I’ve to stop thinking that way; it’s only a luxury because we all spend so much time on facebook/instagram/various other form of social media. Although, a lot of time on facebook is spent reading articles posted by friends, so the nature and subject matter of reading has changed, not the time spent itself! *consolesself

 Hotdog or legs Pizza or Scones. #calefareplant

These scones are really good eaten fresh out of the oven or toaster! Unfortunately, they don’t keep well and get a little soft even when placed in an airtight container. This is the dilemma I face when attempting to feed my friends all the time 😦

I finally had time to pen these thoughts down after my equity & trusts assignment submission today, rushing for the deadline was such a nightmare. Very much looking forward to the brief respite we’d have for a few days after Monday’s LCS assignment submission, before preparation for finals begins!

Take care everybuddy ♥

January ’14 Bakes – Pretzels, Pineapple Tarts and Kueh Lapis!

Hello!

Week 3 of school just ended and it has been mad busy – I’ve hardly had time to keep up with work and sleep, let alone bake! Didn’t manage to participate in this month’s Tuesdays With Dorie challenges, which was a pity because everyone’s Vanilla Chiffon Rolls look so good, yum! To take a look at the creations of all the talented bakers, head over to Tuesdays With Dorie.

The slivers of time I’ve stolen to bake though, have seen more failures than successes, but I’m so blessed still to be learning so much each time.

These are the pretzels I baked with Dino, for our picnic!
I think we added too much baking soda though, and we used a quick recipe which didn’t call for a rise. The pretzels turned out very chewy and a tad too tough!

Lesson learnt:  Don’t try and save time, and compromise on quality instead! Good things come to those who wait (flavour and texture really does develop when the dough is rising). This seems like a lesson that can be applied to all the areas of our life as well.

We also made some very delish sandwiches but we had no time to take photos because we really had to chase the sun ~ In the end it was a night picnic but miraculously the sky stayed a haunting purple the entire night :>

I also decided to take up some baking classes at a community centre! Unfortunately it’s only a demo class meaning we usually watch; if we were graded for class part for this class, this would definitely be an A+ for me though ! Feel a little silly asking so many questions sometimes when I’m surrounded by mostly housewives and retirees, but they all seem to find this little uni girl quite fascinating hehe.

During the latest class, we got a recipe for pineapple tarts since Chinese New Year was just around the corner and we even got to get our hands all sticky and oily during class by helping to roll them! Alas, disaster struck, and accident-prone me managed to trip and drop the small box of tarts each of us got to bring home -just- as I stepped on the bus, strewing pineapple explosions all over the front entrance 😥 Sorry bus uncle, he looked really annoyed then. Thank goodness some kind souls came forward to offer me tissues and helped me pick the bigger pieces off the floor as I was really paralysed in shock and embarrassment :((

 Hence, on my free Friday, Lin, Benz and I decided to embark on a quest to make more pineapple tarts! (185 to be exact – it filled up about 9 containers!!)

Did some research online from Dino’s assessment of my teacher’s recipe (had a measly 5 pieces after the accident) and modified the recipe slightly. Here are some pictures from that very ambitious day – so glad everything turned out super well!

Wasn’t as ambitious as to make our own pineapple jam though, this pineapple jam from the brand Bake King. Maybe I shall try making my own next year, but the store-bought ones have already set a high benchmark!

Fresh from the oven – it made the house smell sooooo amazing, the aroma of the butter was just intoxicating :’>

Cooling on the racks – Lin’s OCDness meant they must be in straight lines before I could take a photo. I must admit that does make the photo look so much better!

 
 We had some leftover tart crust dough, so we had a lot of fun shaping them cutely, and they’re even more fun to eat!! Pop one of those squares into your mouth for a burst of buttery goodness!

Also managed to extend my local baked good repertoire during one of the classes with Kueh Lapis!
It does take patience to add each layer on one by one, and I can’t wait to try it at home.

Truly homemade when you can see the uneven layers (#tryingtocoveruptheinconsistencies hehe)

It’s CNY Day 2 today, hope everyone’s been having a very Happy Chinese New Year! It’s my favourite festival of all, the time to celebrate familial love and warmth. Looking forward to seeing my cousins again later. And of course, the festivities are so centered around awesome food!! CNY’s truly a time where you forget what it’s like to feel hungry because everyone around you is plying you with food all the time; better get down to exercising real soon~ Have a good feasting week ahead, ^^