Smoked Mackerel Quiche

A summer holiday in South Devon spent on boats and beaches has become a ritual with our family and so too have the daily picnics we take with us on our expeditions. Each morning like brushing my teeth I make the days quiche, prick sausages ready for the beach fire and slice up Devonshire hog’s pudding while the children shout and fight round me in an infuriating, restless way. But the effort is worth it for the pleasure it gives everyone to eat those delicious hot picnics in the brisk sea air. There is nothing more removed from packets of dreary sandwiches than a warm and crumbling quiche and smoky tasting sausages cooked on a driftwood fire and then wrapped in a hunk of fresh bread. Those summer holidays are one time when there is no moment to dream up food because there are too many nice outdoor things going on and hungry children running in and out of the kitchen. I rely on my standard holiday dishes which I can make without thinking. Quiches are so good for picnics and they keep really warm wrapped up in greaseproof paper and thick newspaper, even on a windy boat journey. This quiche is less usual and very delicious. If you are in a hurry don’t bother to bake the pastry blind first, simply spoon in the filling and bake and it will taste very good. But if you have time the pastry is of course crisper and better if it has been baked blind.

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Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 10 oz plain flour (275 g)
  • A good pinch salt
  • 5 oz butter (150 g)
  • 2 oz lard (50 g)
  • 2 oz grated cheese (50 g)
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Filling

  • 1 smoked mackerel¾ lb in weight (350 g)
  • 2 large onions
  • about ¾ pint milk (425 ml)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1–2 teaspoons French mustard
  • salt, black pepper
  • 1 oz butter (25 g)

Method

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter and lard into the flour and rub with your fingertips until it is like breadcrumbs. Stir in the grated cheese with a knife and then the egg yolk and a little very cold water until the mixture just sticks together. Gather into a ball and cool in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then roll the pastry out on a floured board, and line a 9 in (23 cm) flan dish with it. If time, put the uncooked case back in the fridge for half an hour. This will help it not to shrink during the cooking. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and bake blind, that is unfilled in the centre of a pre-heated oven at Gas 6 (400°F/200°C) for 15 minutes.

Mix the eggs lightly with the milk, salt, pepper and mustard in a large mixing bowl. Peel and chop the onions into small pieces and fry gently in butter until soft and transparent. Stir into the mixing bowl. Take the flesh from the mackerel, discarding the skin, and flake it into the bowl. Put this mixture into the baked pastry case and bake in a pre-heated oven at Gas 5 (375°F/190°C) for 30–40 minutes until just firm in the centre. If the flan case is uncooked it may take a little longer. You can serve the quiche hot or cold but I think the pastry is so much more delicious warm. If you are making a more luxurious quiche for a party substitute cream for ½ pint (275 ml) of the milk

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