Bramley-based You-Tuber cook and food lover Keef Williamson cooks up his own variation of the Coronation Quiche. Here’s how it came out…
When Queen Elizabeth was crowned 70 years ago, a special dish was created for the occasion. The mildly curry-flavoured Coronation Chicken salad has endured as a light lunch or sandwich filler ever since.
With the coronation of King Charles III only a few days away, Buckingham Palace posted a recipe for Coronation Quiche – a vegetarian flan that has stirred up controversy for a number of reasons. This quiche not a new invention – it’s a dish that is enjoyed by the royal couple and it is hoped people will make it for themselves to celebrate the crowning.
The spinach, broad bean and tarragon recipe is not without problems, however. The posted recipe is for quite a small quiche – 20 centimetres (just under eight inches) diameter. We have scaled up the recipe for a 23 cm (nine inch) tin.
Oddly for a basically vegetarian recipe, the pastry calls for half butter and half lard. In our recipe we ditch the lard and double up the butter.
The Palace recipe says 2 tablespoons of milk for the pastry. We were somewhat baffled by the milk. Pastry is almost always hydrated with water, so that’s what we used. As for the quantity, 2 tablespoons is nowhere near enough. You would really struggle to get a cohesive dough with so little moisture. In the end we used a whopping 11 tablespoons of water.
Of course, you always have the option of buying ready-made pastry, in which case we highly recommend shortcrust, not flaky or puff.
The final issue with the pastry is ‘blind-baking’. This is a technique for part-baking the pastry in its tin using dried beans or rice to hold its shape. Blind-baking is important when you have a filling that would cook more quickly than the pastry, but in this case the filling takes at least half an hour to cook and blind-baking was just an extra level of faff for inexperienced cooks.
Just to be sure, we made one quiche using blind-baked pastry and a second one without blind-baking. The difference was negligible.
Another trap for newbies is the requirement for 180 grams of cooked spinach. Firstly, that is a lot of spinach even for the larger-sized quiche. Secondly, no instructions are given for how to cook it – spinach is notorious for its ability to transform itself from a wheelbarrow full of dry leaves into a thimbleful of cooked spinach mush.
All ovens are different and commercial ovens are very different from domestic ones. So when the Palace says this will cook in 20-25 minutes, they are probably not lying. But your domestic oven will need 35-40 minutes to get the job done.
And finally, you need fresh tarragon. This is not a mainstream herb that many supermarkets sell and they weren’t given any time to organise supplies. We did manage to track some down at Whiteley’s Farm Shop, Pudsey – call ahead (07981 211 016) if you plan to visit as their opening hours are a bit fluid at the moment. But if you can’t find fresh tarragon, 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon will do just fine.
Is it a keeper? Only time will tell if this has the enduring appeal of Coronation Chicken, but it certainly is tasty and tarragon is our new favourite herb.
Here’s the recipe:
• 200 grams (7 ounce) plain white (all-purpose) flour
• 75 grams (2½ ounce) unsalted butter
• half a tsp salt
• 125 ml cold water
• 175 ml (¾ cup) double (heavy) cream
• 125 ml (half a cup) semi-skimmed milk
• 200 grams (7 ounce) uncooked spinach
• 150 grams (5⅓ ounce) mature cheddar
• 100 grams frozen broad beans or soy beans
• 3 medium eggs
• 1 tbsp fresh tarragon
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground white pepper
Butter for sautéeing. Flour for dusting.
Makes 1 x 23 cm (9 inch) quiche
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Pastry resting time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 40 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes.
The quantities given here are for a 23cm (9 inch) diameter quiche so you’ll need a metal quiche tin that size, preferably with a removable bottom. Ceramic dishes look nicer but they don’t transmit the heat as well as metal.
Spinach releases a lot of water when it’s cooked. I’ve suggested starting with 200 grams uncooked, but really you want to have 130 grams (4½ ounces) cooked weight.
Fresh tarragon might be hard to find. If you can’t get it, use a teaspoon of dried tarragon instead.
If you don’t want to make your own pastry you can use ready-made – just be sure you buy shortcrust, not puff or flaky.
If you are making your own pastry, mix together the flour and salt, cut the butter into small cubes and rub it into the flour with your fingertips – keep going until all of the butter is broken down and the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
If you have a stand mixer, fit the paddle attachment and whizz it for a couple of minutes. Add about half of the water and mix it in with a knife. Keep adding more water until you have a ball of dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean. You might not need to use all of the water. Wrap the dough in plastic film and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
Prep the veggies
Wash your spinach. Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan or wok. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and stir frequently. When the spinach has stopped releasing water, remove it from the pan and squeeze it as dry as you can either with your hands or a potato masher.
Place the frozen broad beans in a bowl and cover with boiling water – they’ll be cooked already and just need to defrost for a few minutes.
Finely chop the fresh tarragon.
Make the pastry case
Butter the inside of your quiche tin. Sprinkle some flour on your worktop and rolling pin and roll out the pastry into a disc that’s 5mm (quarter inch) thick. Drape it over your rolling pin and unroll it over the quiche tin.
Take a blob of spare pastry and use that to press the pastry up against the edge of the tin – the blob of dough stops you from damaging the pastry case. Trim off any excess pastry around the rim.
The palace recipe now tells you to blind-bake the pastry case. I made one quiche where I did that another where I didn’t and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference. So skipping that stage will save you half an hour.
Finish the quiche and bake it
Heat your oven to 170°C (338°F) for a fan/convection oven or airfryer, 190°C (374°F) conventional, gas 5. Grate the cheese and sprinkle half of it in an even layer on the bottom of the pastry case.
Drain the broad beans and space them evenly over the cheese. Chop the spinach and spread it out over the broad beans. Mix together the milk and cream, eggs, tarragon and salt and pepper. Pour this mixture into the pastry case. Don’t overfill the case. Sprinkle the remaining cheese all over and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before removing the quiche from the tin. Place it on a wire rack to cool some more. This quiche is best eaten warm, not hot. You can also eat it cold. The Palace recipe recommends serving it with new potatoes and a green salad.
Keef Williamson is a West Leeds Dispatch community reporter and runs the popular YouTube cooking channel Keef Cooks. He has made a video of how to make this recipe here or watch it below:
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