Spring quiche with asparagus and ricotta

 Hello guys! I need to confess, I’m loving quiches and can eat it anytime: for lunch, dinner and simply whenever I’m hungry. I was browsing the net the other day, looking at various beautiful green salads with lots of leaves and spring vegetables, when I realised that I haven’t prepared or even tried somewhere a quiche with asparagus. In cafes  asparagus is most of the time served as a side dish or part of a salad. So, I was feeling very excited to make a quiche with beautiful asparagus! While soft and buttery crust was chilling in a fridge, I was wondering about the filling: to use asparagus alone or add something else, use only double cream, or probably add  some nice cheese in it.. So many ideas, so little time. Finally, I used double cream along with ricotta, that by a lucky chance was in the fridge, plus I threw a handful of frozen peas in.Milkandbun
 Can’t describe how good it was! Flaky, buttery, aromatic crust holds beautifully yellow custard-ish filling. Delicious!
Milkandbun
I was enjoying it with a cup of milky tea. You can serve it with some lettuce-cucumbers salad on side. Milkandbun

Spring quiche with asparagus and ricotta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: moderate
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What You’ll Need
Crust
200g plain flour
100g cold butter, cubed
1 medium egg, cold from the fridge
1/3 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp ice-cold water, if needed
Filling
250g ricotta
2 large eggs
100g 35% whipped cream (or double cream)
baby/young asparagus 
a handful of peas (frozen)
S&P to taste
How to Make It
Crust. Put flour, salt and butter in a big bowl. Quickly rub ingredients together until coarse breadcrumbs (or use food processor). Add egg and mix until the dough is formed. Pour in water if needed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. You can keep the pastry in a fridge up to 3 days.
Roll out 3-4mm thick dough to fit your baking tin. Bake blind in preheated 200C oven for 20 minutes, then without weights for 10 minutes.
Filling/Assembling. Whisk ricotta with eggs, add cream and season to taste. Arrange vegetables, pour the egg mixture over veggies. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Bake in 180C preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the filling is set. 
Let the quiche slightly cool in the tin, then carefully transfer to the serving plate to wooden board, slice and serve.
 
Enjoy! 

Russian pirogki

 Small, large, festive, with cabbage and eggs, potatoes, with wild mushrooms or rice&fish, with jam.. It’s all about pirogi (pies in Russian) and pirogki (small pies). Pies have been always prepared and enjoyed in Russia. The word “pirog” came from a word “pir” that means feast and therefore in old Russia every festival and banquet could be hardly imagine without a large, beautiful and delicious pie.
 In old times pies were generally made with rye, wholegrain or any similar flour (which is considered very healthy nowadays), such flour were available among poor people and thus pies could be eaten very often. While the white wheat flour was an expensive thing and using it was an luxury, affordable only among novelty, bourgeoisie and other high classes.
 The dough could be prepared with yeast or simple unleavened, based on a soured milk or cream, also made with oil or butter (shortbread pastry). Pies fillings were diverse as well, it could be meat of wild birds like pheasant and black grouse, vegetarian – with fresh forest mushrooms during summer and autumn, with soured cabbage, eggs or dried mushrooms on a winter time, sweet – with wild berries, dried fruits or homemade preserve.
 Without a doubt, serving a large pie or even several pies on a festive table was an indication of the host’s wealth and prosperity.
Russian pirogki
 The dough for these pies was made with yeast and soured liquid yogurt (I used local soured drink-laban, which is very similar to Russian kefir). The dough is very tender and fluffy, and of course very easy to prepare. Pies made from this dough stay soft even on the next day!
 I’m loving mashed potatoes filling since childhood, I haven’t made it pretty long time.. Second favourite filling is a mixture of chopped hard-boiled eggs&spring onions, that reminds me spring! I posted the recipe that you can find here, moreover the dough I made that time is unleavened (no any yeast) and even more quickly to prepare, but not thick and fluffy as this one. The choice is up to you, I love both. 🙂
Russian pirogki with potato filling

Russian pirogki with potato filling /sour milk&yeast dough/

  • Time: 1hr+
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Instead of kefir you can use laban, buttermilk or any soured milk.
Ingredients
Dough
180g plain flour
6g instant yeast
250ml kefir, warm/at room temperature
50ml sunflower oil
a good pinch of fine salt (about 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp white sugar
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk, for glazing
Potato filling
400g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bay leave
1 tbsp oil (olive or sunflower)
a small knob of butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves)
15g butter
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional
salt, black paper to taste
some finely chopped parsley (2-3 tbsp)
Method
 
Dough
  • Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, combine with yeast.
  • In a cup/bowl stir kefir with oil, salt and sugar.
  • Pour kefir mixture into flour. Mix to combine a dough. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and leave to prove for 45-60 minutes.
  • While the dough is proving, prepare the potato filling (recipe below).
  • When it’s risen, divide the dough into several equal balls. The size depends on your taste: if you wish to make small pirogki – you need small dough balls. Roll each ball slightly into round shape. The dough is soft and tender, that sometimes I don’t use rolling-pin and carefully stretch the dough with hands.
  • Put a tablespoon or two of potato filing into each round, close and arrange onto lined with baking paper baking tray.
  • Leave to rise for 10-15 minutes. Brush with egg wash.
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 20 minutes.
  • Optionally, you can brush pirogki with butter. Cover with kitchen towel: it helps the dough to stay softer.
  • Serve warm with milk or tea.
Potato filling
  • In a large pan, bring water to boil. Add potatoes and bay leave, bring to boil again, reduce the heat and simmer on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft and ready.
  • Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat oil and butter, fry onions on a medium heat until soft and lightly brown. Stir in thyme and saute for a minute more.
  • Drain potatoes (leave 2 tbsp of water in a pan). Add butter, nutmeg and season to taste. Mash it. Stir in fried onion and fresh parsley.
Enjoy Russian pies!

Small quiches: 4 fillings

I Love Pies! Small and large, closed and opened, with fish and hm less meat, whether it’s cabbage pie or raspberry tartlet. So, it was that day when I couldn’t decide what filling to choose and made 4 different savory quiches! Beautiful and delicious! 🙂 It’s a quick (especially if you prepared the pastry ahead as I did), easy and tasty way of using up all those small cheese pieces and veggies leftovers.Small quiches: 4 fillings

Small quiches: 4 fillings

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Pastry
160g/5.6oz all-purpose/plain flour
120g/4.2oz butter, cold and cut into cubes
a good pinch of ground sea salt
40-50ml iced-cold water
Put flour, salt and butter in a big bowl. Quickly rub ingredients together until coarse breadcrumbs (or use food processor). Add water and mix until the dough is formed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. You can keep the pastry in a fridge up to 3 days.
Roll out 3-4mm thick dough to fit your baking tins. Bake blind in 180C preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
Filling
2 large eggs
100-150ml 30% cream (or double cream)
freshly ground sea salt and black-white pepper, to taste
  • Broccoli+Gruyère cheese
  • Leek (slightly sautéed in butter)+Cheddar
  • Zucchini (raw, sliced or grated)+Thyme(fresh or dried)+Parmesan
  • Sun dried tomato (chopped)+Olives+Basil (fresh or dried)+Pecorino Romano cheese
Whisk eggs with cream and season to taste. Arrange vegetables, grated cheese and herbs in pastry cases. Pour the egg mixture over veggies. Bake in 180C preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is set.
Enjoy! 

Small quichesBeautiful and Tasty: small quiches

Tsvetaeva Apple Pie

On this day, 8 of October, 123 years ago one of the greatest poetess in Russian literature – Marina Tsvetaeva drew the first breath.

She was born in the intelligent family: her father Ivan was a famous philologist, art critic and a professor of Fine Art in Moscow University and mother Maria was a pianist. Marina Tsvetaeva begun to wrote here first poetry being a 6 years old child, her poetry was written not only in Russian, but also in French and German languages. Her mother was terminally ill with tuberculosis and that time was believed that a change in climate could help to cure the disease, so young Marina spend quite a long time in Italy, Switzerland and Germany; lately she studied French literature in famous Sorbonne University.
 Tsvetaeva published the very first poetry collection in 1910 on her own money..
 Russian Civil war (1917-1922) was severe time for the poetess and here own family. She rejected Russian Revolution and wrote the cycle of poems about the war, glorifying those who fought against the communists. While here husband joined the White Army (anti-communist), she had no support and lived in starvation with her daughters.
 In 1922 Marina Tsvetaeva left the Soviet Union and moved to Berlin, lately her family lived in Prague and finally settled in Paris. Unfortunately, living abroad didn’t made here life easier, they lived in poverty and were homesick for Russia. Tsvetaeva did whatever she could: began to write more prose because it made more money than poetry. Meanwhile, her husband and daughter were involved in NKVD (predecessor of KGB), and when French police interrogated Marina Tsvetaeva, she was shocked about news that her husband was a spy. Furthermore, police implicated here son in the murder of former Soviet defector.
 Finally, in 1939 she returned to Russia..
Tsvetaeva apple pie/ Slice
 Returning to the apple pie recipe and its name. It’s being said that such apple pie was served in the house of Marina Tsvetaeva and her sister Anastasia. Young Marina spent a lot of time with famous poets and writers on the literary evenings, and it’s been known that she served an apple pie to her visitors. I really want to believe that she really had an opportunity to participate and enjoy such evenings, where this tender and delicious apple pie was served. At least there was something striking and good in her life.Tsvetaeva apple pie (after the name of Russian poetess)

Tsvetaeva Apple Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 2hr
  • Difficulty: moderate
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You can make the dough one day ahead and keep it in the fridge.
Ingredients
Dough
150g butter, at room temperature
250g plain flour
4 tbsp sour cream, 30%
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple vinegar or lemon juice
Filling
3 sour medium apples
1/2 lemon, juice
250g sour cream, 30%
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
100g white sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
Method
  1. For the dough, in a large bowl, add butter, sift  the flour and mix until mixture resembles crumbs. Add sour cream. Dissolve soda in vinegar or lemon juice and pour in the dough mixture. Mix to combine. Knead a dough a bit, shape into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Take the baking tin, grease it and line with baking paper. Roll the dough into the circle to fit the baking tin. Put the tin into the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  4. Peel (optional), core  and thinly slice apples, sprinkle with lemon juice.
  5. In a bowl, with electric or hand whisker beat sour cream with egg and sugar. Add vanilla, if using. Sift the flour. Whisk to combine.
  6. Take the baking tin with dough from the fridge. Arrange apple slices. Pour over the sour cream mixture.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 180C and bake for 25 minutes more. If the top begins browning too much, cover it with a foil.
  8. Allow the pie to cool completely in the baking tin. Then carefully transfer the pie onto the serving plate. Slice and serve with cup of hot tea.
The remaining pie cover with a foil and keep in the fridge up to 2 days. The pie will be even better on the next day, as the cream becomes thicker.

Knyshy

 One day I was watching numerous foody videos.. among those millions just one stuck in my head. Russian cook (don’t know his name) made small pies with potato filling, which he called knyshy. Pirogki with potato mash are one of my favourite, they always bring back memories about parents’ home ..kitchen, my mother is making pies, me and my sister are impatiently sitting and waiting while pirogki are baking in the oven.. Sweet time!

 The difference between these pies and regular Russian pirogki is in the dough and shape, first ones are round, second are oval and usually made from yeast dough. I browse the Internet, and found not much information about these little pies. According to different sources, knyshy belong whether to old-Russian or Belarusian cuisine. In 19th century knyshy were widely-eaten pies among middle-class people, and the most popular filling was buckwheat kasha with fried onion and bacon.Knyshy

 It took me some time to shape them and make look like small barrels filled with tasty potato mash instead of rum (or whatever you imagine when hear barrel), but knyshy turned out beautifully and puffy, so they definitely worth all the hard work.

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Knyshy - little pies with potato filling

  • Servings: 16 pies
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients
Dough:
1 egg
120ml sunflower oil
120ml warm water
1 tsp vinegar
400g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Filling:
600-700g potatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil+ 1 tsp butter for frying
1 tbsp butter
some chopped dill, optional
salt, pepper to taste
Egg wash
1 egg, beaten
Method
  1. In a bowl whisk egg with oil, water and vinegar.
  2. Sift flour with salt and baking powder into another large bowl.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with flour. Mix all ingredients together, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a frying pan heat oil with butter, add onion and fry until lightly golden. Clean and peel potatoes, cut into medium chunks and boil until ready, drain. Using a potato masher blend butter into potatoes until soft. Mix in fried onion and dill, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Divide the dough into two parts. On a lightly floured surface roll out one part into 30x40cm rectangle. Spread half of the filling near the edge of the longest rectangle side. Make the roll. Cut the roll into 8 pieces: 5cm width each.* Carefully seal the ‘hole’ on one side, shaping into a roundish form (like a small barrel), place pie sealed side down on a lined and greased baking sheet. Repeat with all pies.
  6. Brush all pies with egg wash. Bake in preheated 190C oven for 40 minutes.
*You may cut the roll into smaller pieces to get more but small-sized pies.
 
Enjoy!
Knyshy - pies with potato filling