Summer is upon us and it’s the season for barbeques, picnics and alfresco dining, which can be tricky if you’re Coeliac and vegetarian as so many traditional English staples include gluten and meat. But you don’t have to feel left out, there are plenty of treats available to us, we just have to get inventive!
This is one of my favourite summer time recipes as it can be made in advance, is easy to transport, and it’s just as delicious eaten hot or cold. It also includes one of my all time favourite food combinations – spinach and feta.
Gluten free pastry is notoriously difficult, the lack of gluten in gluten free flour means it tends to crumble and fall apart. I discovered this recipe soon into my diagnosis, and have tweaked it over the years, it’s now pretty much fool proof and I’m no longer nervous baking with pastry!
For the pastry
225g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
For the filling
100g frozen spinach
50g feta cheese
50g cheddar cheese
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
A few grates of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
- Take the spinach out of the freezer, leave it in a bowl to defrost, and preheat the oven to 225 degrees Celsius. Next, get started on the pastry by adding the butter, xanthan gum and gluten free flour to a bowl and rubbing them together between your fingers and thumbs until they form the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
- Beat the egg, and add it to the bowl with the flour and butter. Using a butter knife, cut through the mixture until it starts to come together, then use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. You want the pastry to be soft and pliable, similar in texture to playdough. Lots of things can affect the consistency of the dough at this point, from the brand of flour used to the size of the eggs. If the dough is still a little wet and sticky add in some more flour. If it’s a little dry, beat another egg and add it in slowly a small amount at a time. If it’s a little crumbly add another ¼ tsp of xanthan gum. With traditional pastry it’s recommended you chill the dough before using it, but I’ve found with GF pastry this is counterproductive and it works better when soft and a little warm.
- Now comes the tricky part! Flour your work surface well and slowly and gently roll out the dough to about ½ cm thick. It might crack a little around the edges – this is normal, don’t panic.
- Grease the tin with butter, and carefully lift the pastry into the tin. This is the hardest part of the whole operation, but the dough should hold together!
- Using a piece of spare pastry carefully push the dough down into the tin. I learned this tip while watching The Great British Bake Off and it really works – the pastry is a lot softer than your fingers and the pastry is a lot less likely to crack. Trim off the edges, and stab the bottom of the pastry with a fork (this stops it from rising when you bake it).
- Line the pastry with baking parchment, add in baking beads or rice and blind bake on 225C for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pastry case from the oven, and take out the baking beads and parchment. Next, beat an egg, and using a pastry brush, brush a layer of the egg over the inside of the pastry case, including the sides. Return the case to the oven for another 5 minutes. The egg wash fills in any little cracks or gaps in your pastry case and ensures the quiche won’t leak.
- Remove the case from the oven and leave to one side to cool, while you make the filling. Check the spinach and see if it has defrosted, if not, put in in the microwave on a low power setting for a few minutes at a time, or run it under warm water. Once it has defrosted fully, squeeze out any excess liquid – the spinach needs to be as dry as possible to stop the quiche from going soggy. Cut the spinach up into small pieces and set it to one side.
- In a jug, combine the two eggs, milk, cheddar cheese, herbs, nutmeg and a good amount of pepper. The feta is quite salty, so be more careful with the salt. Arrange the spinach evenly inside the pastry case, and crumble the feta over the top. Gently pour the egg and milk to the top of the pastry case.
- Carefully transfer the quiche to the oven, bake for 25-30 minutes at 200C, until the top is brown and the quiche is firm.
Lucy is a contributing author at The Gluten Free Veggie. She is a 29 year old vegetarian Coeliac with a passion for great recipes! Check out all of her posts here. When she’s not cooking up delicious treats, Lucy is creating greetings cards for her business. Check out her Facebook page here.
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