I learned how to cook rather unconventionally. Or rather, I learned the way of cooking that millions in the east of the world learn how to cook. With flavors and ingredients, not recipes in the western sense of the word. While cooking with my mother, I was usually just told what ingredients are required. A little bit of this spice, a little bit of that aromatic and a lot of taste testing. See, most Indians don’t cook with exact measurements. It’s always about a feeling and always easily adjustable to the number of people that are coming to dinner.
Maybe it has to do with the culture, as most Indian mothers I know are forever trying to feed the world and extra people are always added to the table. Or perhaps it’s more because of the sheer number of ingredients that go into any given dish and that no two are ever equal. Chilis grown in the backyard are never the same hotness as those found at the supermarket. I suppose because of all these things, you learn to understand the flavor profile of each ingredient and soon realize how much of each will most probably be required in any dish. Combined with taste testing, this almost always results in a perfectly balanced and fully flavored meal. It also results in one knowing how to mix and match flavors and ingredients for all cuisines. That is, if you properly paid attention when your mother was talking.
My unconventional schooling has helped me develop a guilty pleasure of mine of ordering unique flavor combinations when eating out and trying to figure out what went into them. This Pumpkin Gorgonzola Quiche is one of those orders. It looked good when I picked it out and tasted amazing when I took my first bite. After that the wheels were turning in my head trying to figure out how to replicate it at home. This was an easy one, but undeniably tasty.
I love the creaminess of the pumpkin mixed with the bite from the gorgonzola. All served on a thyme crust. Delicious. And perfect for a light dinner or even as a indulgent brunch over the holidays.
Pumpkin & Gorgonzola Quiche
- 225g plain flour
- 125g butter
- 3-4 Tbsp cold water
- 3 large sage leaves, finely chopped
- 480g roasted pumpkins
- 60ml water
- salt and pepper
- 100g gorgonzola cheese
- 2 eggs
- 150ml milk (I used unsweetened Almond Milk)
- salt and pepper
To make the pastry, add the plain flour and butter to a large mixing bowl. Rub butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the sage leaves and evenly distribute. Then add 3 Tbsp cold water and bring everything together with your hands adding the additional water if necessary. Roll into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll to fit a 9 inch deep tart tin. Prick the base all over with a fork. Place the tin back into the fridge for 15-20 minutes to rest.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F.
Cover the pastry with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and baking beans and put back in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, place the roasted pumpkin and water into a blender and blend until smooth. You can also use a can of pumpkin puree if you are in a hurry- just don’t add any additional water. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place the tart case onto a baking sheet. Pour the pumpkin puree into the tart case and spread evenly. Crumble the gorgonzola over the pumpkin puree evenly.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Season with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the gorgonzola is quite salty too. Pour the mixture over the gorgonzola making sure it doesn’t overflow.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is set and golden brown. Remove and cool on a rack till just warm.
Garnish with fried or fresh sage.