Cooking for my mother is sometimes a bit of a challenge.
But there are two things that will always put a smile on her face and they are Prawn Cocktail and Quiche.
A prawn cocktail is her default starter at restaurants or at home. And a quiche is always her food of choice at a garden centre or the like.
So for her 89th birthday, what better meal to make for her than a Prawn Cocktail Quiche? A combination of two of her favourite things.
Luckily for me, I found the perfect recipe in a book I had just purchased by seafood chef Nathan Outlaw called Everyday Seafood.
It looked like a quiche but tasted like a prawn cocktail, minus the lettuce of course, but you can have that on the side if you wish.
The shortcrust pastry had a hint of rosemary through it, and melted in the mouth, although this wasn't a deal breaker as my mother still has most of her own teeth.
The filling was traditional prawn cocktail flavours with prawns, tomato ketchup and Tabasco, along with some spring onions and sweet cherry tomatoes, bound together with the classic quiche filling of eggs, cream and cheese (Parmesan).
The only thing I changed from the book’s recipe was the use of good quality cooked and peeled Atlantic Prawns as opposed to the raw Tiger Prawns in the original recipe.
The raw prawns didn't pass my risk assessment evaluation for cooking for an 89 year old.
I’m sure they would be fine for everyone else, being fully cooked in the oven with the quiche, but as she’s managed to reach the ripe old age of 89, I didn't want to be the one to finish my mother off!
And anyway, the cooked Atlantic Prawns tasted just great, but try and source the nice big ones that always have more taste and have a meatier texture. The cheap small supermarket prawns just won’t work here. They can be very soft and watery, and in my opinion don’t have the same depth of flavour, or any flavour at all!
It’s important to make sure the prawns you use are nice and dry before mixing them with the other ingredients.
Your quiche can be long, round, or small tartlets, the choice is yours.
I used a 25cm x 10cm x 3cm deep flan tin with a loose base (as photographed) but if you’re opting for a round quiche, you’ll need an 18cm round flan tin with loose base, same depth.
INGREDIENTS serves 6
250g plain flour
150g unsalted butter, diced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 medium egg, beaten
3 tbsp milk
Egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tbsp milk)
250g cooked and peeled large Atlantic Prawns (dried off with kitchen roll)
3 medium eggs
300ml double cream
50ml tomato ketchup, any good quality one
A few shakes of Tabasco
5 spring onions, sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
50g finely grated Parmesan
Salt and black pepper
For the pastry, put the flour, salt, butter and chopped rosemary into a food processor and whizz until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and pulse a few times until the breadcrumb mixture just comes together to form a dough. Remove, flatten a little into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least an hour to relax.
The pastry needs to be baked blind - no soggy bottom here - so take out of the fridge (before rolling, leave for about 15 minutes) and roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick, about the thickness of a £1 coin (old or new).
Line your flan tin with the pastry then line this with some baking parchment, and add a layer of baking beans or rice. Rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to190℃/175℃ fan with a baking sheet on the oven shelf.
Place the tin on the baking sheet and blind bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, before removing and lifting out the baking parchment with the beans. Brush the hot pastry with the egg wash and return to the oven for 3-5 minutes until nicely coloured and fully cooked. Leave to one side to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature down to 160℃/145℃ fan.
For the filling, beat the eggs, cream, tomato ketchup and Tabasco together then season with salt and pepper. Distribute the cherry tomato halves and spring onions over the pastry case, followed by the prawns, making sure they are spread around evenly.
Pour over the egg and cream mixture, as close to the top as you can. I sometimes pull out the oven shelf and place the pastry case on it before filling to help prevent spillage en route to the oven.
Sprinkle over the Parmesan and carefully (good luck) slide the shelf back in. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until lovely and golden and set.
Leave in the tin and cool on a wire rack, until it can be sliced.
Great with a dressed side salad or on a picnic, and you don't need to be 89 years old to enjoy this fantastic quiche.