Autumn quiche with ceps and onion

When I was at university, there was a popular book with the title “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”. But I do, and consider myself a real man, nevertheless. I even make tarts, no pun intended.
However, a basic quiche uses cream, eggs and bacon and can be rather on the fatty side, especially when you use puff pastry instead of a shortcrust pastry.

I went to our outdoor market on Sunday with an idea for a quiche but could not find the exact ingredients I had planned. No problem, cooking with the seasons and with available supplies means being flexible.
So I bought ceps. Their price has come down a bit but this year they do not look as good as in previous years. I took some small and sturdy ones, with nice evenly white flesh and no – or hardly – any greenish foam under the caps. These are the spores that attract insects and turn bad first. During my 12 years in France, I have only had to strike three green grocer’s from my list of suppliers because of insects, like small worms, inside the ceps. One replaced them without asking any questions. That did not make it okay though.
This Sunday, I went to one of my preferred greengrocer’s on the village market, run by an older man and woman. They are not the cheapest of the market, just a bit less pricey than the biologically grown vegetable stall that had ‘Kiwai’ fruit, but they have good stuff. I also bought parsley and sweet white onions.

At the wineshop, I found Banyuls vinegar made from the wine of the Banyuls area close to the Spanish border and the Mediterranean, for the sake of sweet memories of a short stay in Port Vendres. You can use any other white wine vinegar, such as the Reims one which is made from the same grapes as Champagne.
No cream. While this may join the other ingredients in a quiche and give the filling a fluffy consistency and a brown coating, cream is also a key provider of unnecessary fat.

That is also the reason I bake the crust with baking paper instead of in a tin coated with butter. I also used olive oil instead of butter for the ceps and onions.
But this is my style here, it is not a dogma. Do use butter if you like.

Ingredients

  • 400 grammes of ceps
  • Two white onions (doux/sweet)
  • One tablespoon of Banyuls vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Several twists of white pepper, some salt
  • A handful of chopped flat parsley
  • Short crust dough (230 grammes, pâte brisée)
  • Two eggs

Steps

  1. Preheat an oven to 200 °C.
  2. Put the prepared dough in a round tart pan with baking paper at the underside. Push aside the rims and cut off any extraneous paper.
  3. Lay a layer of baking paper inside the tart pan on top of the dough and fill these with ceramic beads or dried beans. Use a fork to make some small pricks in the dough bottom (to prevent it from swelling while baking).
  4. Put in the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Clean the ceps by peeling off a tiny layer. If possible, slice a few nice cep midsections. Chop the rest in small bits.
  6. Slice the onions in small rings. Wash, dry and chop the parsley. Set aside.
  7. Put olive oil in a skillet, when hot add the onion rings and stir for a while, taking care not to brown the onions too much. When they are translucent, add the vinegar and continue stirring for several minutes until most of the moist has evaporated. Press the garlic and add to the onions, stir and set aside.
  8. In a skillet (another one or the previous one cleaned with a paper towel), add olive oil and heat up. Add the chopped-up ceps, but not the slices, stir and let it brown for several minutes until the ceps start to ‘render’ liquid. (They tend first to soak up oil and other liquid before giving it back. With good ceps and hot oil the effect is minimal, but with soggy mushrooms and cooler oil or butter you can end up with a pan full of liquid). Set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, take the dough in the pan from the oven, let it cool down a bit before removing the beads or beans and the top layer of baking paper from the inside of the tart pan.
  10. Break two eggs in a bowl, add some salt and pepper, beat the eggs softly as if you were to make an omelette.
  11. Put a layer of the onions inside the half-baked quiche and spread it out evenly.
  12. Add the beaten eggs and shake the pan a bit to get an even coating.
  13. Add the baked ceps, sprinkle with parsley and put the cep slices on top.
  14. Put back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, keeping an eye on the colouring of the crust and filling towards the end.

You can serve it hot or cold.

We had it hot with some Burgundy red wine from the Côte de Nuits.


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