Weekend dinners often take the form of what my family calls a “pick”. A selection of cooked meats, cheeses, pickles galore, fresh fruit, salad, slaw, hummus, salad and bread of some form. All of it plonked on the table (if we are lucky, outside on a warm balmy sunny evening at my parents’ house) and everyone digs in, picking exactly what they fancy to eat.
Despite being designed, most often, by the need to clean out the fridge and use up leftovers from the weekend, these “picks” are often proclaimed the best dinners ever. This recipe was inspired by these summery, family meals. My Ham, Cheese & Pickle Quiche is a perfect dinner as it is but of course, you can add whatever sides you fancy when you serve.
My standard way with quiche is to make a pizza dough base which is super easy to make, especially if you are scared of pastry making. Shortcrust pastry is just far too rich in my opinion for quiches and the crisp pizza dough base I use is a far better vehicle to convey all the cheesy, egg enriched loveliness of the filling.
A base of mascapone and eggs with chunks of Red Leicester cheese and rags of prosciutto ham make for yet another Anglo-Italian hybrid recipe which really works. The pièce de la résistance however, is the scraping of Branston pickle over the pizza base. If you haven’t come across Branston before, it’s a chutney made of root veg, date purée, gherkins and various spices.
It may be a love-hate kinda thang but Hungry Hubby and I love it – in fact, a shared love of cheese and pickle sandwiches were one of the things we bonded over many moons ago when we were hungry impoverished students. It’s rich and very full on (which I love – you may have guessed I’m a fan of big flavours from the rest of my savoury recipes) so use sparingly. If you fancy a different take on the pickle layer, some chelly – chilli jam would be a great alternative, or just use your favourite chutney, as you would with a cheeseboard or ploughman’s lunch.
- 160 g strong white bread flour
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp dried yeast
- 110 g water approx
- 150 g mascarpone cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 100 g Red Leicester cheese chopped into small cubes
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning *
- 1/2 small red onion finely, finely chopped
- 4 slices of prosciutto torn into 2 inch rags
- 1 heaped tbsp Branston pickle**
- 23 cm loose bottomed tart tin
- Baking tray or pizza stone
Mix the dough ingredients together and beat with a dough hook in a stand mixer for 5-10 minutes until you have a soft and slightly tacky dough.
Bring together into a ball, grease the bowl and cover, leaving to prove for at least one hour but you can leave it 24 hours in the fridge.
When the dough is proved, punch dough and pat out to a round slightly smaller than your tart tin - lightly flour it and transfer the dough into it, patting out until it comes up the sides of the tin and is even thickness throughout. This will be quite thin, about 2mm.
Preheat oven to 200˚C and place the baking tray or pizza stone in to get hot.
Beat the mascarpone to slacken it off then beat in the eggs.
Mix in the Red Leicester, Italian seasoning, red onion and 2 slices worth of the prosciutto.
Spread the Branston pickle in a layer over the base of the pizza dough (it's very full flavoured so you don't need much).
Scrape the cheesy filling into the tart case and spread to level it off - it will look shallow, don't worry. Top with the remaining little rags of prosciutto and sprinkle with black pepper.
Bake for 25 minutes on the preheated tray/stone (to crispen up the bottom) until puffed, browned and the crust is dry to the touch around the edges.
Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before serving.
*= this can be substituted for 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped, if you prefer
**= or pickle/chutney of your preference
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