What’s cooking today: Rustic spinach & feta quiche in your air fryer
This is one of those nerve-wracking recipes that has you asking yourself, will it work, will it work? I’m delighted to say that it worked beautifully. But there’s a golden rule.
The golden rule of baking a quiche is that it must be made ahead and given plenty of time to set. Short of this, your quiche is going to be a floppy, runny disappointment. So, ideally, make this the day before.
Generally, a quiche is left to set at room temperature over many hours. It is argued that this is preferable to fridge setting, which can have the filling pull away from the pastry.
But the other side of this coin is that the filling includes egg and cream, which you want to remain safe for consumption. And you may be cooking it on a hot day. So, I prefer it to go in the fridge. Luckily, the filling in this instance did not separate from the crust.
For this recipe, you make your own very delicious, crunchy pastry and bake it blind first in the air fryer. Then you add the filling and bake it again.
Note, please, that this recipe has a lot of filling, and is designed for a deep pie dish. Specifically, I used a 21 cm across x 4 cm deep disposable tin foil pie dish, which is a standard size you can find at the supermarket. (By the way, there’s nothing to say you cannot wash the dish and reuse it, as long as it has not been damaged in the process.)
Also, because the filling is so deep, it will need more time to set than a shallower quiche might need.
One more little idiosyncrasy of my recipe is that I used only runny cream, no milk.
I say “serves 8”, but I’m generous with portions. I’m sure you could stretch it to 10, though that wouldn’t happen in my household. (Twelve? Don’t be silly.)
For the pastry:
2 cups plain flour, sifted
120 g butter, at room temperature
1 heaped tsp Colman’s mustard powder
1 scant tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
4 Tbsp cold water
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
8 to 10 large Swiss chard or spinach leaves to equal about 1 cup when cooked
A few grindings of nutmeg
250 g cream cheese
140 g crumbled feta cheese (I used Dalewood Fromage Jersey feta)
120 g grated Vacchino Romano cheese (or Cheddar)
2 jumbo eggs, beaten
⅔ cup cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the butter.
Rub the butter and flour together with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the paprika, mustard powder and salt.
Add 2 Tbsp cold water and knead to a smooth dough.
Make a well, plop the egg yolk in, and work the dough with your hands to incorporate the egg. (Imagine that you’re trying to capture the egg yolk in the middle of the dough, then keep working it until it’s spread all over.)
Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
Wash the chard/spinach in cold water and shake off excess.
Shred the bunched leaves as finely as possible.
Put the shredded chard/spinach in a heavy-bottomed pot and put the heat on under it. Cook until its water is released and has entirely cooked away. You do not want residual water to turn your quiche soggy.
Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir through.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the cream cheese, feta, Vacchino Romano (or other grated semi-hard cheese), cream, salt and pepper and two beaten eggs, and mix well.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out.
Spray a 21 cm x 4 cm tin foil dish with cooking oil spray.
Roll out the ball of pastry and cut a round big enough to fill the base of the tin and come up the sides.
Arrange the pastry in the tin and neatly up the sides, and trim the edges.
Prick the bottom of the pastry all over to encourage even cooking.
Preheat the air fryer to 170℃ on the air fryer setting.
Cook the pastry at 170℃ for 8 to 10 minutes.
Spoon the filling into the pie dish and spread it out evenly.
Air fry for 15-20 minutes at 150℃ on the air fryer setting.
Brush the top with beaten egg.
Cook for two more minutes on the grill setting at 150℃.
Allow to cool and set in the fridge overnight.
Remove the quiche from the fridge and bring it to room temperature before serving. DM
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido.
Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.
This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.