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I cannot tell you how long I have craved a Vegan Mature ‘Cheese’ Quiche. Oddly enough I didn’t eat much quiche when I could, it’s funny how you’re told you can’t eat something anymore and you almost immediately crave what you can’t have!
There have been a few failed attempts of mine to make an edible vegan quiche in the past. I got stuck in the thought process that the building blocks for the quiche needed to be the same. By this, I mean I couldn’t get away from the thought of making a savoury custard that needed to set in the baking process.
Then I remembered that free from baking and recipes don’t follow the same rules. Take gluten free bread as an example. You have to forget what you know about bread dough and instead make something that resembles a thick cake batter.
The exact reverse rule applies here You don’t need to make a custard that sets, you need to make a solid filling that melts – mind blown right?
What’s the difference between a Quiche and Flan?
Oh my, this took me down a rabbit hole. With lots of my recipes I love to do some research into the origins. Whilst looking for a simple way to answer the question ‘what’s the difference between a quiche and a flan’, I ended up finding out that the quiche didn’t originate in France as I had previously thought. It actually comes from Mediaeval Germany.
The original recipe was made with eggs, cream and bacon, it was the French that added the cheese to become the familiar Quiche Lorraine.
That didn’t answer my question about flan or quiche though.
The jury is out on this one because popular thought is so conflicted. I’ll try to break it down.
Quiche is the term widely used in European countries for the savoury egg custard recipes with cheese in a pastry crust with sides.
Flan can be used in two ways. The word flan seems to get tagged to simple, no fuss recipes with cheaper and fewer ingredients but all the time, to me it’s still a quiche! The other recipes that use flan are sweet and the ‘flan’ element is a sponge cake style base with sweet toppings. The latter is my personal take on what a flan is.
Tarts are the next level, sorry to throw a third option in here to confuse you but you can also get savoury and sweet tarts and if you search cheese quiche in Google you get recipes for cheese quiche, cheese flan and cheese tart! However, technically tarts tend to be more complex recipes. For example, take a posh quiche that has got goats cheese and roasted pepper added to it. That tends to fall into the tart category.
What have we learnt? Absolutely nothing, I think you should just call it what your family have always called it and as long as it tastes great that is all that matters!
How to make a vegan mature ‘cheese’ quiche filling
As I mentioned in the introduction, you need to make a quiche filling that is the opposite of a raw custard that needs to set when baked. To achieve this you use mainly dry ingredients.
You need two types of tofu, silken to create the creamy texture and flavour and firm to imitate the baked egg texture. To imitate the mature ‘cheese’ flavours you need to crazy on flavour and add yeast flakes, mustard, Worchester sauce and heaps of seasoning.
You end up with a bowl of crumbled tofu, flavourings, vegan cheese and caramelised onions that you then press into a blind baked pastry case.
Finally brush this crumble mixture with dairy free milk, enough to fill in the gaps and you’re reading for baking. Now you don’t need to wait for the quiche to set, you wait for the cheese to melt and bind all the ingredients together.
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what is the difference between tofu & silken tofu?
The best way to describe the two tofu’s used in this recipe is that silken tofu often comes in a small carton, a bit like cartons of passata. You can cut the top and the silken tofu will slide out like a creamy blancmange. You can easily break it up with a spoon and the texture is smooth and creamy.
The firm tofu I use in this recipe is the extra firm kind. It’s like crumbly cheese in fact, think more Wensleydale cheese if you’re in the UK. However, the flavour is bland and texture crumbly and dry. Not so crumbly that it can’t be cut into cubes and fried though. This makes it an excellent meat alternative to recipes and it soaks up flavour if you marinade it first.
How to make a vegan ‘cheese’ pastry
I wanted to make a rich flavoursome pastry case for this vegan mature ‘cheese’ quiche so altered my usual vegan pastry by adding 100% ‘butter’ alternative and leaving out the solid vegetable fat (normally I use a 80:20 blend). I also added nutritional yeast flakes to the dough to give that rich umami/cheese flavour.
You need to bake blind with this recipe to ensure the pastry is cooked through and avoid any inedible soggy bottoms. My top tips for baking blind are;
- use baking beans/beads
- prick the bottom of the uncooked pastry case to encourage an even bake
- use grease proof paper that’s been scrunched into a ball first (makes it easier to fit to the case)
- place the flan tin on a baking tray so its easer for you to get in and out of the oven, especially if you’re using a loose bottom tin.
How to make a flax egg
to make 1 flax egg you need the following ingredients:
– 1tbsp ground flax seed
– 3tbsp water
– 1tsp psyllium husk (optional but does add elasticity to baking)
Simply add all ingredients to a glass and stir before measuring out the other recipe ingredients, by the time you come to use your ‘egg’ mixture it will have thickened to a frog-spawn consistency (thicker if you added psyllium husk)
Then just add to your baking as you would an egg. For 2 eggs double the ingredients but note that recipes that require more than two eggs may fail due to lack of support in the structure.
Can I make this Vegan Mature ‘Cheese’ Quiche in advance?
You 100% can make this quiche in advance, in fact, I’d go as far to say this just keeps getting better with age. I pretty much have these quiche all to myself when I make them as the family aren’t keen (they haven’t actually tried them!) No problem, more for me! This does mean that I often make and eat over several days or half the ingredients and make individual ones in mini flan tins.
As long as they are kept in a Tupperware container in the fridge, this will happily keep for 5 days. They reheat just fine in the microwave and are equally as delicious cold as a snack.
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Vegan Mature ‘Cheese’ Quiche Recipe
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Vegan Mature ‘Cheese’ Quiche
For the pastry case
- 80 g 'butter' I use Pure plant based blocks of 'butter'
- 150 g gluten free plain flour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 3 tbsp cold water
- salt & pepper to taste
For the quiche filing
- 280 g extra firm tofu
- 300 g block of silken tofu
- 150 g strong vegan cheese I use Ilchester mature 'cheese'
- 2 medium onion(s) finely chopped
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tbsp Colman's Mustard Powder Colman's powder is gluten free, ready made Colman's is NOT gluten free
- 1 tbsp psyllium husk powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp gluten free Worcestershire Sauce make sure you use a gluten free version
- 3 tbsp 'milk' I use soya milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
To make the pastry dough
- In a large bowl measure the flour and 'butter' and using your fingers tips or a pastry blender, work the two together until you have a crumble mixture.
- Stir the nutritional yeast flakes, seasoning and ground flaxseed into the dry crumble then add the tablespoons of water.
- Next, using a rounded knife, cut through the mixture until it starts to clump together. Tip this lumpy/dry mixture onto a clean kitchen surface.TOP TIP: no need to flour the surface, this will help with kneading.
- Bring the crumbly mixture together with your hands and quickly roll into a ball. Pop into the fridge to chill, this will prevent shrinkage when it comes to baking.
Prepare the filling
- In a frying pan, fry the diced onions to the colour you desire, I love to brown mine off to get a lovely caramelised flavour. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl you used for your pastry, crumble up the firm tofu into thumbnail size pieces, then do the same with the 'cheese'.
- Now add the yeast flakes, mustard powder, psyllium husk (this helps to bind the ingredients), Worchester Sauce and salt and pepper. Give the mixture a stir.
- Next drain the silken tofu and add this to the bowl along with the warm fried onions. Give the mixture a good stir to blend all the ingredients. Set aside while you make your pastry case.
To make the pastry case
- Pre heat oven to 200°C | 180°C fan | 400°F | Gas 6
- Remove the dough from the fridge and give it a quick knead. Roll out onto a floured surface to prevent it sticking. You need to roll to 0.5cm thick and wide enough to line a 20cm fluted/round flan tin.
- Gently line the tin. Do not worry if the pastry cracks, it probably will, mine did but you can't tell in the pictures can you!TOP TIP: to mend cracks simply push the pastry together and with a finger dipped in water seal the crack. For larger cracks take some excess pastry and add a 'pastry plaster' to the crack just remember to use a little fingertip dab of water as a glue.
- Once you've lined, trimmed and sorted out any cracks, prick the bottom with a fork to encourage an even bake.
- Now cover the pastry case in baking paper and add the baking beans.TOP TIP: screw a piece of baking paper up into a tight ball and then open back up again, this will make the paper much easier to mould to the shape of your pastry case.
- Place the tin on a baking sheet and bake in the oven blind for 10 mins. Then remove from oven and take out the paper and baking beans.
To fill the quiche and bake
- Begin to spoon the quiche filling into the blind baked pastry case. Using the back of the spoon, gently press the filling into all the edges.
- Lastly, brush the quiche filling and the tops of the pastry crust with the 'milk' alternative of your choice. Use all the milk recommended to fill in the gaps in the quiche filling. Place back on the baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes
- To get the golden caramelised finish I cook for a further 5 mins under a hot grill, being careful not to burn and rotating the tin if necessary.
- Eat immediately or allow to cool and eat cold with a salad or for a picnic.
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