Christmas is over, dragged off somewhere into the past and yet, somehow, I still had a small piece of Stilton in the fridge like the remains of christmas past. This time of year I believe stilton to be seasonal - xmas just isn't xmas without a chunk of colsten basset from Neals Yard. There was also though a large hunk of pecorino from Gastronomica and a brique du juissac from Comptoir Gascon. Along with the mass of other food we had I guess it's not entirely surprising there is a little left a couple of weeks afer the event.
I cannot throw it away - no! no! it says to me in it's little stilton voice - even past its best it is far too fabulous for that.
We had dinner with Jaey and Marie recently and we ended with another big block of stilton that they paired with home made chocolate truffles - the match of rich dairy salted and rich dairy sweet was just brilliant. So I wondered about pairing the cheese with the sweetness of winter leeks, which really are in season! - all bound together with eggs and cream in a pastry case to make quiche. Because I am very fond of quiche.
It was a quite splendid result.
Leek & Stilton Quiche
Prepared shortcrust pastry (I had some in the freezer from my last quiche)
About 100g stilton, grated
500g leeks, cut in to 1cm slices
1 large onion, finely diced
Clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Leaves picked from a bushy sprig of thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
284ml tub of double cream
Salt and pepper
In a large pan melt the butter into the olive oil then add the leeks and onions and thyme and garlic. Stir to coat thoroughly with the buttery oil and cook gently for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, till all is softly fragrant and melded. Season.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Meanwhile, butter and flour a (loose bottomed if you have one) pie dish about 18cm across. Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thickness and line the pie dish. Cover with greaseproof and fill with baking beans and cook for about 12 minutes. This is baking blind.
Take the case from the oven, remove the paper and beans and allow the shell to cool.
When the leeks are soft turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit till they are warm.
In a bowl beat the eggs and cream and season. Add to the leeks.
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the pastry base then top with the eggs/leeks mixture.
Cook in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes till the custard is set and the top is richly golden.
Definite result. Nice warm, possibly even better cold next day.
Also very cheap - had the cheese and pastry already so the cost was about £4. To buy the cheese would add about £1.80. Easily serves 6 with bread and salad - or in our case, a coupel of dinners and a couple of lunches, all of them a pleasure.