Annabel Langbein’s recipes: Three quiches
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Annabel Langbein’s recipes: Three quiches

Apr 17, 2023

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Salmon & leek quiche. Photo / Annabel Langbein Media

Of the many international offerings on the menu for the King's coronation back at the start of May - Nadiya Hussain's Coronation Eggplant, Greg Wallace's Prawn Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, Ken Holm's Coronation Roast Rack of Lamb with Asian-style Marinade, it was the Coronation Quiche that took the title of the King's signature dish. Queen Elizabeth's famous Coronation Chicken Salad was ousted from its perch for not just any old quiche, but a thoroughly English version with a filling of spinach, broad beans and tarragon, a combination that I think, provided the broad beans were peeled, would be quite delicious.

Quiche is actually a French dish and tradition once deemed the filling should be made with nothing more than cream, eggs and bacon or ham. These days, however, even the French make quiche with spinach, mushrooms, leeks, onions, endives, asparagus, seafood, and often, sacre bleu, add cheese to their quiches. In the south of France, you’ll even find quiche niçoise a la tomate, made with anchovies, olives, tomatoes, eggs, and parmesan cheese. Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking (1951), of which I have a very old tattered paperback copy, offers a recipe for a quiche aux pommes de terre, with the case made not from shortcrust but from mashed potato, flour and butter; and the filling combining cream, gruyere cheese and nutmeg (with no eggs).

Often, when you buy a piece of quiche it's horribly disappointing, a lumpy solid mess of cheesy stodge. A classic quiche should just quiver when it comes out of the oven, the custard cooked at a low enough temperature for the eggs and cream to just set, and the buttery pastry offering up a tender, toothsome flake.

When we moved to Newmarket back in 1987, a young French couple, Dominique Colombie and his wife Celia, (who went on to establish the highly successful Paneton bakery) had just set up La Tarterie at the bottom of Khyber Pass. Some of you may remember this little French pastry shop, which specialised in savoury tartes (quiches), sweet tartes (lemon, almond, etc) and croissants. Dominique learnt the art of making pastry from his father, whose Patisserie Colombie was an institution in the village of Montesquieu-Volvestre in southwest France.

Every weekend we would make the pilgrimage to buy a slice of Dominique's legendary quiche. It had the lightest, flakiest crust and a thick, quiveringly tender custard filling. Rich, ohh it definitely had the last word on rich ... artery-clogging, heart-stopping, Dominque's quiche took the dish to giddy new heights. One day, we arrived for our fix to find not a sign of quiche. "What, no quiche,", we wailed. "Ahh," Dominique said slowly, stroking his long, thick moustache, his English rolling with the lilt of southwest France, "the quiche … it is verry, verry rich you know ... I must stop the quiche. It will kill people."

He was quite possibly right, but what a way to die.

Here, then, are three versions of quiche to enjoy. None can lay claim to the resplendent virtues of Dominique's exquisite quiche, but each is nonetheless delicious in its own right.

This is an easy one – and great for those that are new to pastry making. If you’re feeling flush, use gruyere cheese and hot smoked salmon instead of canned salmon and cheddar.

Ready in 1 hour + prep

Serves 6


3 cups high-grade flour

1 tsp salt

200g cold butter, coarsely grated (cut into cubes if using food processor)

½ cup cold water


2 Tbsp butter

1 large leek (white and ½ green part), washed and thinly sliced

2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped, or 1 tsp dried thyme

4 eggs

300 ml cream

½ cup milk

½ tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper

210g can salmon, drained (or 180-200g hot-smoked salmon)

¾ cup grated tasty cheese

To make the pastry, place the flour, salt, and butter in a mixer and mix on a low speed until the mixture is sandy in texture with the butter flattened in flakes through the flour. With the machine running, add the egg and cold water, mixing until the dough starts to come together. If mixture is still crumbly add a little more water.

Stop the mixer and combine the dough into a disc, wrap it in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Don't over-handle the pastry or add too much water, as this will make it tough. Preheat oven to 180C fan bake and grease a 27-28cm loose-bottom flan tin.

Roll out pastry thinly to a circle about 35cm in diameter and press into the base and 4cm up the sides of the prepared tin. Chill until needed.

Cover pastry with baking paper and weigh down with baking beans or dry rice.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake another 12-15 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 160C fan bake.

Heat butter in a medium-large pot and cook leeks and thyme over medium heat until fully wilted and tender (12 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl whisk together eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in leeks and salmon. Pour into the prepared pastry shell and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until filling is set and pastry is golden (30 minutes).

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature. The quiche will keep well in the fridge for several days and can be reheated to serve.

Mini quiches are great to serve at drinks parties, or make bigger ones for lunch. Press the pastry into greased muffin pans and bake blind as for salmon and leek quiche before filling. To make a family-sized quiche - prepare the same mixture and fill into a 23-25cm shallow savoury pastry shell. Bake as for mini quiches, allowing an extra 10-12 minutes cooking time for the filling to set.

Ready in 1 hour

Makes 24 mini quiches or 12 lunch-sized ones

2 dozen x 6cm cooked pastry shells or 12 x 10cm cooked pastry shells

100g ham, finely diced

100g gruyere cheese, grated


3 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

250ml cream

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt & grinds of pepper

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 175C. Place cooked pastry shells on a baking tray. Divide ham and cheese between shells.

Whisk eggs with cream, seasonings and lemon juice. Pour into shells allowing about 1 Tbsp per mini tart.

Bake until filling is set, about 13 minutes for small tarts and 16 minutes for larger ones.

Storage: cooked quiches will keep in the fridge in a covered container for a couple of days or can be frozen. Thaw before reheating. Reheat in a 160C oven for 10 minutes.

My friend Lizzie often whips up a batch of these and pops them in the freezer ready to pull out and heat up for lunch. Unlike other versions of crustless quiche, this recipe contains no added oil, so it's much lighter on the palate. The mixture can also be cooked as a loaf and sliced.

Ready in 30-45 minutes

Makes 6 large, or 12 regular muffin quiches

4 eggs

3 packed cups grated zucchini ( about 375g), or corn kernels, thawed if frozen

1 large onion, coarsely grated or finely diced

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped (optional)

2-4 rashers streaky bacon, diced

1½ cups grated cheese

¾ cup self-raising flour

2 Tbsp green herb stock powder

Pepper to taste (you shouldn't need any salt, the stock powder suffices)

Preheat oven to 170C fan bake.

In a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add all other ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

Divide between 6 greased Texas muffin pans, 12 regular muffins pans or a greased loaf pan. Bake until golden and spring back to the touch, about 35 minutes for Texas muffins, 20 minutes for regular muffins and 40-45 minutes for a whole loaf.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before tipping out on to a baking rack. If not serving at once, cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze. Thaw and reheat to serve.

by Yvonne Lorkin

(Salmon and leek quiche)

Vavasour Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2022 ($17-$20)

Oh man, I love me a good leek. I’ll eat leeks any way, any how. When I’m faffing around the leeks growing in my garden I’m like Bubba in Forrest Gump. "Leek soup, leek risotto, leek tarts, leek souffle, smoked leeks …" so it deserves a cracker of a sauvignon like this one. Prepare for floral intensity, punchy passionfruit and heaving herbaceousness to lurch like a lahar of lusciousness across your tongue and gums. Crunchy-fresh and fanging with flavour, it roars with these quiches.

Available in supermarkets.

(Mini ham quiches)

Akarua Central Otago Chardonnay 2022 ($30)

I didn't get the body I have today without accepting the assistance of many kilos of ham, pastry and chardonnay. I’ll tell you that for $1. With aristocracy in mind, this wine happens to be freshly adorned with a label featuring the five-arrow family crest of Akarua's new owners, Edmond de Rothschild Heritage, each arrow representing a son of dynasty founder, Mayer Amshel Rothschild. With creamy, cashew and juicy citrus complexity, layers of toasty oak work perfectly with the saltiness of the ham and the buttery pastry. Dammit.

(Lizzie's Crustless Zucchini and Bacon Quiches)

AF Sparkling Rosé 250ml ($45 x 12)

These little protein-packed niblets are so healthy and vege-packed and flavour-stacked that they deserve an equally clean and healthy beverage to go with them, right? But it also something celebratory (because it is King's Birthday Weekend) The shiny new zero-alcohol rosé from no-booze wunderkind's AF Drinks, has "perfect picnic drink" written all over it. Subtly sweet from a splash of cranberry and black carrot concentrate blended with carbonated water and spiked with Afterglow (a botanical extract that mimics the warmth of alcohol), it's a perfectly passable, no-booze treat.

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