Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ask Sarah: Nine Grain-Free Quiche Crusts

Ask Sarah is an occasional series answering readers' questions. This time it's actually a question from my sister-in-law! It's a question I have been pondering for some time, so I've shared it here as well.

Anna asked: "Hello lovely! I'm looking at quiche pie crust recipes so that I can make and freeze quiche now for Christmas. I know that you are restricting your wheat-flour intake, and I'm wondering if you've found a savoury pie crust recipe that I might use. ;) Let your Pinterest finger wander!"

Ah, Pinterest! It is so addictive. But actually a great way to save and organise great ideas. "Creative vegetables" is my favourite board to pin. Recently I have started whole separate boards for kitchen design and for home office ideas. Do you use Pinterest?

And quiche! How wonderful that we can look forward to some at Christmas. Since going grain-free I have seen numerous good ideas for quiche that avoid wheat flour crusts. (Some are bizarre.) Which of these would you eat?

1. Use a simple almond flour crust

I am drawn to this quiche crust because it only contains three ingredients. Just almond flour, an egg, and an egg white. (Maybe that could even be counted as two ingredients?) I like this because even though I've gone grain-free, I haven't stocked my pantry with too many speciality items for grain-free baking. They aren't always available here in Singapore. Instead we have adapted our eating style to include fewer baked items.

I also like this simple crust because my sister-in-law wouldn't need to buy a whole bunch of new items that she would use only once. If you want to try out a grain-free quiche even though you're not grain-free, then this is the one for you. Find it at Cupcakes OMG.

2. Make a flaky crust with almond and tapioca flour

This quiche crust adds a few more ingredients to make it more similar in taste to a wheat flour crust. It includes tapioca flour, which becomes really gummy when combined with liquids. (It makes a great thickener for sauces. Use sparingly.) In a crust it would help the pastry stick together. Also included is some palm shortening, which would lighten the gumminess and make the crust flaky. Find it at Everyday Maven.

3. Make a coconut flour crust

Coconut flour is made from dehydrated coconut flesh. It performs very differently to any other flour in that it needs a huge amount of liquid in any recipe in which it is used. For example, in this quiche crust recipe there are three eggs as well as half a cup of other liquids. Coconut flour is a very specialised ingredient and so if it's new to you, try out some already published recipes like this one instead of trying to adapt a recipe.

In sweet recipes coconut flour can taste quite coconutty, but I imagine that in this crust it only tastes vaguely sweet, thanks to the chilli and garlic powders. Find it at Cave Food Kitchen.

4. Make a flaxseed crust

Flaxseed is a great choice for a crust because it has a more full, robust flavour, and it's a great source of healthy fat. It is easy to work with if you buy it as flaxseed meal (that is, already ground up). You can also make the meal for yourself if you have a coffee grinder or a high-powered blender. These mini quiches are made in a muffin tin and the flaxseed crust is not really firm enough to make a full-sized crust. Find it at The Kitchn.

5. Make the crust out of sweet potatoes

This simple idea very much appeals to me because it uses more vegetables. It's actually quite simple and quick because you grate the sweet potato and then steam it in the microwave for five minutes to cook it. Then it gets mashed up with eggs and cheese to make the crust. It sounds delicious! Find it at Life as a Plate.

6. Use spaghetti squash as a crust

I imagine this tastes great as a quiche crust since spaghetti squash is quite mild but has a nice texture. When cooked it has a soft outside but still a bit of crispness inside. In this recipe the spaghetti squash threads are only mixed with butter before being pressed into the pan. Because of this I imagine that it's not a very solid base. You can see in the picture that the crust has disintegrated a bit. But this is such a unique idea that I still think I would like to try it. Find it at The Saffron Girl.

7. Use a sausage meat crust

This quiche just side-steps the whole pastry issue. Instead, one pound (450 g) of sausage meat is pressed into the pan and up the sides. It's parbaked and then the fillings are added and the quiche is returned to the oven.

I imagine that the well seasoned sausage meat means that you could use fairly mildly flavoured fillings and create a tasty quiche. Find it at PaleOMG.

image: PaleoOMG

8. Use bacon strips as a crust

I have tried this before. This one is a little gimmicky, but it was so delicious! I made a crust of sorts by laying back bacon strips down to cover the pan and then baking for ten minutes before adding the filling and returning it to the oven.

I've also seen a blog recipe that uses streaky bacon. Find it at The Not So Desperate Housewife.

9. Make a crustless quiche

A crustless quiche, otherwise known as a frittata, may seem like a cheap answer to this question. But it is so simple yet still delicious. And it means you can enjoy all the warm, smooth, creamy quichey goodness with ease. The two below are the courgette and ricotta frittata that I made earlier this year and a colourful amaranth, chive and goat's cheese frittata from four years ago.

Which of these nine grain-free quiche crusts appeal to you?

Do you have a question you want to ask? The Ask Sarah form is here. See all Ask Sarah posts here.

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