Looking at this quiche I expect you’re thinking – ‘mmm looks tasty but I think she overcooked the pastry, it looks a little dark.’ Well hold your horses – it’s not over baked, it started out that colour! You see this isn’t any ordinary pastry it’s a gluten free pastry, made from brown rice flour and brown teff flour – result – brown pastry!
I have generally been getting on quite well with gluten free baking – the sweet stuff anyway. It seems if you add enough raising agents, eggs, butter and sugar than pretty much everything tastes good. It’s the savoury side, namely bread and pastry that has been my downfall. I attempted a gluten free loaf a few weeks ago, I even used a pre mixed gluten free bread mix to ensure I got a decent loaf. Unfortunately things didn’t turn out that way. In its defence the crust was good, thick and crusty, but it was flat, misshapen and the inside was like gumming wallpaper paste. It stuck to the knife in horrible globs as I tried to slice it. The following day it had solidified into a dense dry lump, and you know what? I was so determined that it wasn’t going to be a failure that I still ate it – toasted and covered in jam or peanut butter. However, the experience made me nervous and I haven’t attempted one since.
Yesterday I woke up after having dreamed a really odd dream that I was having a picnic on the moon, but had forgotten to bring any food. However, it turned out the moon was made of quiche (who knew?) so I sat there with a fork eating it. I woke up craving quiche and newly determined that savoury baking wasn’t going to get the better of me.
I browsed a few sites to get some ideas and it seemed that a combination of different flours and starches was the way to go. I decided to try out a new flour that I have recently discovered but until then had not used – brown teff flour. I had to order it as I couldn’t find any shops that sold it. It arrived looking suitably space age in a shiny silver pouch, the sort of thing astronauts probably eat their meals out of. I combined this with some brown rice flour for bulk and tapioca starch as a sort of binder, as this one goes more gummy when wet.
I was surprised on opening the pouch that the brown teff flour had such a dark cocoa brown appearance. You may think being labelled as ‘brown’ this might have been pretty obvious, but brown rice flour is surprisingly light in colour. This is the reason behind my dark brown pastry – it’s not over baked, it’s whole grain!
I also added an egg and some xanthan gum which is a special powder that helps replace some of the action from gluten, making things a little more elastic so they don’t crumble so easily. Kneading the dough I was actually really impressed how much it resembled ‘real’ pastry. It was smooth and pliable and didn’t crack on rolling out. An additional bonus is that you can knead or reroll it as often as you like as there is no gluten in the dough to overwork, plus it doesn’t shrink on baking.
I filled the quiche with some roasted veggies and after a short bake in the oven I was able to tuck into a slice for lunch. Oh it was delicious. The pastry was light and crisp but didn’t crumble; nor was it tough or chewy. It had a slightly gritty texture from the rice flour, but I liked this, similar to a shortbread biscuit. The roasted veggies added a wonderful flavour and sweetness. So all in all a great success – yay!
Teff is a teeny tiny grain that is approximately 150 times smaller than a grain of wheat. It is actually the smallest grain in the world! However, for such a tiny grain is also highly nutritious, especially when left wholesome brown (white teff flour is also available). Teff contains 40% more calcium than milk, has twice as much iron as wheat and contains all 8 essential amino acids making it a complete protein. It’s also high in fiber, potassium and zinc. That’s one super grain. (click here for more info) To me, it has a wholesome toasted flavour similar to rye flour, although stronger. I can see it becoming one of my new favourite flours.
Pastry done, bread to go – oh err, wish me luck!
Roasted Vegetable Quiche with Gluten Free Pastry
Gluten Free Pastry
100g brown rice flour
60g brown teff flour
40g tapioca starch
1½ tsp xanthan gum
80g cold butter
2-3 tbsp cold water
Roasted Veg Filling
1 tsp dried thyme
1 small red onion
1 small brown onion
½ red pepper
½ yellow pepper
½ large courgette
3 springs fresh rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Method – Pastry
Weigh the flours, tapioca starch and xanthan gum into a bowl. Cut the cold butter into little cubes and rub it through the flour using the tips of your fingers, lifting them above the rim of the bowl and letting the flour fall back into it as you rub. Continue until all the butter has broken down and the mix contains some small clumps.
Lightly beat the egg, add to the flour mix and work in using a round bladed bread knife. Add two tablespoons of cold water and mix gently.
Tip the mix out onto a clean work surface (t may still look too dry at this stage) and switch to your hands and try to bring the mix together into a dough. If it still seems too dry add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time, until you are able to form a dough.
Knead the dough gently until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for 30 – 60 minutes.
Roasted Veg Filling
Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the onions and peppers into small-ish chunks, about 1inch/2.5cm. Slice the courgette into 1-2cm slices.
Place the veg onto a baking tray and drizzle over the oil. Tuck the springs of rosemary in-between the veg and place in the oven to roast for 50minutes (after 30minutes, give the veg a mix and return to the oven for the remaining 20minutes).
Once roasted, remove the from the oven and leave to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C and place a large baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll it out between two big sheets of clingfilm until 3-4mm thick (this does away with the need for flouring a work surface). Use to line a 6-7inch round tin or a long rectangular tart tin.
Arrange the roasted veg inside the tart.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, dried thyme and some seasoning until well combined. Pour over the roasted veg and carefully transfer the quiche onto the preheated baking tray.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until the egg mixture it set and the pastry crisp.
Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and serving.