Picnic season is upon us and outdoor eating on a balmy Summer’s day is one of life’s great pleasures. Instead of the ubiquitous sandwich, quiches and pies that can be eaten cold as well as hot make for tasty picnic fodder. This recipe uses cheddar, feta and Parmesan but you can mix and match whatever cheeses you prefer. Serve with a crisp tomato salad washed down with a big glass of old world red to bring the best out of the cheese.
For the short crust pastry:
200g plain flour
100g cold butter, cut into cubes plus a knob of butter for greasing.
Approx 100mls water
For the Filling:
250g grated/crumbled cheese. I used 100g cheddar, 50g Parmesan and 100g feta but use whatever takes your fancy.
250 mls milk
250 mls single cream
2 large eggs
5-6 large sprigs chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chive flowers to garnish ( if you have access to some and provided they are in bloom!)
1. To make the pastry, place the flour in a large bowl with the salt and rub in the cubed butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add just enough water to bring the pastry together with a cold knife. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Grease a shallow pie plate ( roughly the size of a dinner plate). Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
3. On a flour dusted surface, roll out the pastry until it is large enough to cover the base of the pie dish with a little extra draped over the sides. Prick the pastry in a few places and place a large piece of baking paper with baking beads on top. Bake blind for about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the beads and paper and bake for another 5 minutes before removing from the oven.
4. In a large jug, combine the eggss, milk, and cream and finely chopped chives. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk well to combine. Stir in the cheeses. Add the mixture to the pastry lined pie dish. Bake for about 20 minutes in the middle of the oven (or until the middle of the pie is set and golden).
5. Serve with a leafy green salad, maybe some relish or chutney on the side and some chive flowers scattered over. Enjoy!