JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Monday, January 19, 2009

Egg and bacon tart

I made a classic bacon and egg tart at the weekend (aka quiche lorraine, but I'm English). Utterly delicious, but the pastry - well, it wasn't as good as it could or should have been, and I need some help, as this has always been a weak area in my cooking.

The problem was that I was afraid of putting in too much water (which causes shrinkage), so I think I didn't put in enough, and so it didn't come together into a smooth paste, but was a sandy mess that had to be pressed into the tin. It was short and delicious, but only held together because I coated it with egg white after blind baking - essential for a custard tart, but I used the whites of two eggs rather than one.

Does anyone have a foolproof method for making shortcrust pastry? Or some tips? I'd be really grateful.

In the meantime, here's the recipe for the egg and bacon filling .... the simplest ingredients creating more than the sum of their parts. Not sure why we always give the French credit for this, because it's a classic of English cookery too. (Although Elizabeth Ayrton says in The Cookery of England that the 18th century English version had a pastry covering. Too rich, I think, for modern tastes.)

for a 23cm / 9" tin

6 rashers of smoked bacon
300ml double cream
2 eggs and two yolks
mace is the traditional flavouring, but I don't have any

Cut and gently fry the bacon - it's important to use smoked bacon, even if you normally buy unsmoked (which we do), otherwise the tart will taste insipid. Don't overcook it, you want soft pieces, not crisp ones. Spread over the bottom of the cooked pastry case (which, when ready, should have been brushed with egg white and given a further minute or two in the oven). Whisk the cream, eggs and yolks, pepper, and pour over the bacon.

Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes, then, when it's brown but not burnt, turn the heat down to 160C for 10-15 minutes. Leave it to rest for five minutes before serving.

Related links

Two ways to make pastry without using butter - which I find much easier, as well as lighter eating
Shaken hot water pastry
Olive oil pastry


Sam said...

I love quiche, sorry egg and bacon tart! so delicious.

I make my shortcrust pastry in a food processor so It doesn't get warm from my hands, I think it helps. I also rest it in the fridge for a while if I can.

Anonymous said...

It's my eternal problem too. Here are a few tips: let your dough rest in the fridge after assembling it (times vary between 30-60 minutes). Prebake the crust (e.g. with beans) long enough. You might consider the tip for pastry dough: paint the empty crust with egg yolk while prebaking. And make sure the filling contains as little water as possible. Try over and over again, not hard, as quiches are so good.

Cottage Smallholder said...

Hi Joanna

I know a foolproof recipe for making pastry in your Magimix. Iy works like a dream every time and creates wonderful elastic pastry.

It doesn't tend to shrink and behaves like perfect pastry.

I've also made pastry using butter rather than Stork - lovely buscuity stuff.

Joanna said...

Thanks for these tips - I'll try all of them over the coming weeks and see if that improves matters. Funnily enough, I don't have a problem with sweet pastry (delicious mince pies this Xmas, for instance)


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ahem, pastry crust is not my forte but I do love a quiche and haven't had one in ages.

Jeanne said...

I have a shortcrust pastry recipe that I always use for quiches - can't remember who gave it to me any more but I've never had a moment's trouble with it - its at the bottom of this post:

It's unabashedly buttery though :)

Joanna said...

Thanks Jeanne ....