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Baking a lovely green spinach quiche to help me get through the long hours of night shift was on my to-do list this week. Inspired from Smitten Kitchen, I tweaked the recipe slightly by adding left over roast chicken to the filling and using a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella along with a sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese. Spinach is something I grew to like much later when I discovered dishes like palak paneer. Throughout my childhood I’d related spinach to something that Popeye ate to get his muscles bulging and maybe that is what made me reluctant to give this leafy green vegetable a chance. Hopefully I later became aware of its numerous health benefits and it gradually found its way into my regular ingredient list whenever I plan my grocery shopping.

SPINACH QUICHE

Ingredients:

For the Pate Brisee Crust

1 3/8 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 tablespoon granulated sugar

9 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For the Spinach Cream Cheese Filling

85g cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup cooking cream

3 eggs, room temperature

250g spinach leaves, fresh or frozen

200g cooked chicken, optional

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

4 to 6 green onions, sliced

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

  • Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar together in a food processor.

  • Add butter, and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Add ice water in a slow stream.

  • Pulse for no longer than 30 seconds or until the dough just holds together and is not wet or sticky.

  • Shape the dough into a disk and wrap well in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

  • Press the dough into a tart or quiche pan 7-8-inch in diameter. Trim edges and save as decoration.

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in cream.

  • Add eggs and remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour the filling mixture into the prepared crust.

  • Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is set, for about 25 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes.

  • Remove quiche from pan and cut it into wedges and serve warm as a side dish. Serves 6-8 persons.

Spinach Quiche

Today marks the 48th anniversary of Mauritius as a free country. Successively colonized by the Dutch [1638-1710], The French [1710-1810] and the British [1810-1968], our country gained its independence after a long struggle by members of the Mauritian Labour Party, Comité D’Action Musulman and Independent Forward Bloc. In 1992, it went on to be proclaimed as a republic state and now stands as the proud result of the hard work of our forefathers and the dedicated effort of the subsequent generations, known internationally as the ‘Star & Key of the Indian Ocean’.

Along with the people of Mauritius, the national day is equally celebrated by residents of Rodrigues, Agaléga, Saint Brandon, Tromelin and the Chagos Archipelagos, all part of our outer island territories in spite of the existing dispute between Mauritius and The United Kingdom over the sovereignty of Diego Garcia. Rodrigues, our well known sister island, is famous for its dried octopus, pickled lemon and chilies, kidney beans as well as its sweet treats.

The Tourte de Rodrigues is one you cannot miss as it is ever-present in market fairs and PME cooperative society sales. Filled with tropical fruits like papaya, pineapple or mango cooked in sugar to, jam-like consistency, the tourte may well have been a corruption of the French tarte during the period of French colonization.  Today, anyone can buy the pastry at leisure from a local Rodriguan stall but it is just as easy to bake at home from simple, everyday ingredients.

TOURTE DE RODRIGUES

Ingredients:

For the Dough

200 g all purpose flour

115 g unsalted butter, cold

Pinch of baking powder

1 egg yolk, room temperature

For the Filling

1 small firm, ripe papaya

1 small coconut, grated

150 g unrefined sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Sift flour and baking powder together. Cut butter into cubes, rub into flour until crumb-like in texture.

  • Add egg yolk and knead lightly.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, about 5 mm thickness.

  • Press half of the dough into a 7-inch pie dish. Trim any excess and refrigerate pie crust for few minutes.

  • Prepare filling by peeling the papaya. Remove seeds, cut into cubes and place fruit in a heavy saucepan.

  • Add sugar and cook until the mixture browns and thickens considerably. Remove from heat and cool.

  • Add coconut and vanilla, mix well. When mixture cools down, spread uniformly over prepared dough.

  • Roll out a 7-inch dish from the remaining dough and use it to cover the filling and seal the edges well.

  • Decorate the pie with the remaining dough trimmings and brush the top with egg or milk for glazing.

  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180 oC for 30 to 40 minutes until the crust turns golden brown in colour.

  • Allow the tourte to come to room temperature before slicing to serve. Makes about 8 regular servings.

Tourte de Rodrigues

For the month of November Krista & Nicole of Two Cups of Sugar challenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie. They wanted to share one of their local favorites; in their hometown there is an incredible bakery that makes the most amazing deserts, one of which is their Cranberry Apple Cheesecake Crumble Pie.

It is a long name for a dessert that brings three delicious treats together and this month they are challenging all Daring Bakers to make their own version of this unique dish. Cheesecakes can be savory or sweet and can include an endless number of additions from fruit and chocolate to onions, spinach, or goat cheese.

CHEESE CAKE CRUMBLE PIE

Ingredients:

For the Pie Crust

1 ¼ cups / 175g all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon / 5g fine kitchen salt

6 tablespoons / 77g shortening

1 ½ tablespoon / 21g cold butter, cubed

6 to 7 tablespoons / 90 to 105ml ice water

For the Cheesecake Filling

16 oz / 450g cream cheese

3/4 cup / 150g white sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup / 60ml heavy cream

For the Sweet Crumble

1 cup / 140g all-purpose flour

1/2 cup / 75g rolled oats

1/2 cup / 100g white sugar

2/3 cup / 135g brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/2 cup / 113g cold butter

Method:

  • Sift together flour and salt. Add shortening and butter and mix by rubbing mixture between fingers.

  • Combine until it resembles like coarse meal. Sprinkle ice water over mixture and blend with a fork.

  • If the mixture is not holding together add up to 1 tablespoon ice water. Shape the dough into a disk.

  • Wrap with plastic wrap and chill dough for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F /220°C /Gas Mark 7.

  • Lightly flour working area and roll out the dough to fit 1 – 2 inch / 2.5 – 5cm larger than the pie pan.

  • Gently place in pie pan and fold under excess dough. Prick dough several times with a small fork.

  • Fill with beans or baking weights or  8-inch /20cm cake pan to help keep the shape during baking.

  • Bake for 9 minutes. Remove beans/weight/cake pan and bake crust for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

  • For filling, have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 500°F /260°C /Gas Mark 10.

  • Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and add sugar.

  • Beat gradually until smooth. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

  • Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated. On low speed beat in heavy cream. Add in fruit if using.

  • Carefully pour the filling into prepared crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 500°F / 260°C / Gas Mark 10.

  • For the crumble, mix all dry ingredients together in mixing bowl. Add butter and crumble together.

  • It should resemble a coarse meal (pea-sized). Top the pie filling with the crumble and return to oven.

  • Reduce the oven temperature of 200°F / 95°C / Gas Mark lower than 1/2 and bake for 1 hour more.

  • Turn the oven off, prop the door ajar and let the cake cool in the oven for 30 minutes before moving.

  • Remove to a rack and let it cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Daring Bakers November Challenge

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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