As fall is settling in and the days are getting shorter, the saison comes along with a number of treats – pumpkin most notably and probably the one I enjoy most as it can be turned into so many different dishes. Here is one variation:
I came across the basic recipe giving inspiration to this dish in a rather unexpected place, namely a fashion magazine. I have since made it multiple times and added a few ingredients while taking out others. It is not only a favorite with me, but has also been very popular with my guests at a number of occasions. It is a perfect dish for parties, not only because it is easy to prepare in advance (and, of course, delicious), but it also caters to the needs of those following a vegetarian diet, thus being a dish that everyone may enjoy. This being said, you may produce a larger portion of this dish on the tray, or – if your requirements are more small-scale – it also keeps very well in the freezer to be enjoyed in individual portions at a time.
For the pastry:
- 200 grams of flour
- 100 grams of cold butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper
- 1 large egg yolk
- a couple of tablespoons of water
For the filling:
- 1 butternut squash (alternatively any other type of edible pumpkin), approx. 800 grams
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- a handful of fresh sage (from approx. 5 to 6 twigs), chopped
- 100 ml of white cooking wine
- approx. 200 ml of vegetable broth
- 3 large eggs
- 150 grams of crème fraîche
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper
- freshly ground nutmeg
- salt, pepper
- 100 grams of grated parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano or Gran Padano)
For the decoration:
- a few leaves of fresh sage
- parmesan shavings
Preparing the pastry:
- Pass the flour through a fine mesh onto the clean kitchen counter or a baking mat. Cut the cold butter into small pieces into the flour. Rub the butter and the flour between your hands until you have a crumble.
- Add the salt and the red pepper. Form a depression in the center of your flour mix and add the egg yolk. Quickly start kneading the ingredients adding tablespoons of water one by one until the dough is smooth, but not sticky. Should the dough become too sticky, add a bit more flour.
- Form a ball, wrap it into cellophane and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for approximately 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan oven).
- Butter a quiche pan and press the dough into the bottom and up the sides. If you do not use pie weights (see next step), prick the bottom with a fork all over.
- Cut out a round piece of parchment paper the size of the bottom of your cake pan. Place over the dough on the bottom of your cake pan. Place pie weights on the top (if you do not have pie weights, you may also use dry foods such as dried chickpeas, dried peas or rice).
- Put the quiche pan into the oven and bake only the crust for 10 minutes (blind baking). Take the crust out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius (fan oven) for baking the quiche with the filling (see step 7 – Preparing the filling below).
Preparing the filling:
- Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into cubes. It is easier to peel the pumpkin if you put it into the oven at approx. 150 degrees Celsius for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Fry the shallot in the olive oil in a big sauce pot at medium temperature until soft. Add the pumpkin cubes, the garlic and the sage, and fry while stirring every now and then for about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cover the pot, continue frying for approximately 10 minutes. Make sure that the pumpkin does not burn, add a bit of cooking wine if it should become too brown.
- Add the broth and continue simmering with the lid on at medium temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes until the pumpkin is well soft.
- Take the pot off the heat and puree the content with a hand blender. The puree should be of a thick, but still viscous consistency. Let cool off.
- Beat the eggs with an electric mixer in a mixing bowl until creamy. Fold in the crème fraîche, and season with red pepper, nutmeg, ground pepper and salt. Finally, fold in the ground parmesan.
- Stir approximately one third of the egg mixture into the pumpkin puree, then add the rest of the egg mixture bit by bit. Mix well.
- Pour the filling onto the half-baked crust and bake in the oven at 160 degrees Celsius for approximately 40 to 45 minutes. The top of the quiche should not turn brown.
- Let cool off a little bit before serving. Decorate with sage leaves turned crispy by shortly frying them in hot oil, and with parmesan shavings.