The day I moved out of my parents’ home as an eighteen-year-old is a day that I will always remember. I went out all alone to have lunch at a little cafe, I ordered a wild garlic quiche and a small glass of white wine. It made me feel very sophisticated and grown up at the time, and many years later it still brings a smile to my face.
The piece I had that day was the last of a big quiche that was made from scratch in a very small local cafe. These days I like to make my quiches smaller by using individual tart forms. I feel that it adds the right amount of pastry and filling for everyone as I always seem to have trouble with someone complaining about not having enough crust. Another great reason to use smaller forms is that it makes the quiches much easier to freeze. This wild garlic quiche recipe will yield you 12 individual portions that can be served either hot or cold. Who could possibly refuse being offered a plate like this?
Now, over 10 years later I still think a quiche is a very elegant way to serve even the simplest of ingredients. They can turn slightly wilted vegetables and herbs into delicious little treats and make wonderful additions to lunch boxes. Even though I love the simple and traditional quiche that comes with a pie crust I use puff pastry for these. It allows a thinner and creamier filling without turning the base into a soggy mess. It remains crispy and light in texture. The filling itself is a celebration of the early spring when the wild garlic has come out of its winter sleep and the leeks in the garden are at their best.
I love eating quiches no matter the occasion. Admittedly they are a bit of work but you don’t need to be a trained chef to make them. They do require patience and stirring of the vegetables at a low temperature but they are also easy to make.
Personally, I use store bought puff pastry for these because it is very labour intensive to make your own. There are plenty of manufacturers that have vegan puff pastry, just check the ingredients. I prefer fresh pastry from the chilled section over the frozen versions but choose whatever you feel comfortable with. If you have any pastry left over you can always turn it into lovely croissants. It is one of the added bonuses to making wild garlic quiche – I usually also end up with a couple of lovely home made croissants.
This recipe is designed to fill 12 mini quiches but you can just as well make a large one or whatever you prefer. I just like to have small quiches because I store them in the freezer and take them out whenever I feel like it. Homemade wild garlic quiche at hand whenever you desire it. It is possible.
But isn’t a quiche just eggs and dairy? How can you possibly make that vegan? It is not as hard as you might think. The basic filling is actually the easiest part of the recipe. It requires nothing more than blending a few ingredients and heating them on the stove while stirring.
If you lack mini quiche forms you can also cut out little circles or squares out of your puff pastry and fold the edges up a bit. They might not look as pretty as the original but they will be just as delicious. The best thing about the wild garlic quiche is that it tastes great no matter if it is served warm or cold.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 300g (3 cups) finely chopped leeks
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 100g (2 cups very tightly packed) chopped wild garlic
- generous pinch of salt and pepper
- For the cheesy sauce:
- 625 ml (2½ cups) water
- 150g (1 cup) cashews
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 675g (1½ lb) puff pastry
- generous pinch of salt and pepper
- Add olive oil and leeks to a pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Watch them carefully, they should soften but not get brown. They turn bitter when burned.
- Add garlic and cook gently for another ten minutes.
- Now it is time to add the wild garlic and let it wilt for about 5 minutes. Make sure everything is soft before you turn the heat off and move the pan off the hot plate.
- Make the cheese sauce by blending water, cashews, salt, nutmeg, lemon juice and nutritional yeast in a blender and transfer to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir constantly. It will thicken within 2 - 5 mins.
- Add the xanthan gum and continue stirring for another minute. You can find xanthan gum in the baking aisle of any well-stocked supermarket. It is needed to give the mass a stretchy and cheesy consistency.
- Pour the cheese sauce onto the cooked vegetable mixture and stir until evenly combined. Set it aside and let it cool down.
- Meanwhile, prepare the puff pastry. It can be bought both in a block or already rolled out. If you buy it in a block roll it out very thinly. About 3mm (1/10 inch).
- Take your quiche forms*(see notes) and cut circles out by pressing them into the puff pastry sheet. Line your forms with the puff pastry and gently press it down. The edge does not have to be significantly high since the filling is not runny. One 1 cm (1/2 inch) is more than plenty.
- Fill each quiche with about 1 heaped tbsp of the cheesy vegetable mass and spread it evenly. Make sure to keep it thin. Not more than twice the thickness of the puff pastry. Sprinkle the quiches with a dash of salt and pepper.
- Bake them in a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F for 20 mins until the puff pastry turns golden brown.
- Serve immediately while still warm and sprinkle with some freshly chopped wild garlic if you want.
**If you want to serve them at a dinner party you can store the raw quiches in the the fridge for several hours and bake them just when the guests arrive.
***If you want to freeze them and reheat them for later use then it is enough to bake them for 15 minutes so they get a pale colour. Let them cool fully before freezing or they will turn soggy.
For more recipes using wild garlic or a guide on how to pick it, please click any of the pictures below.