Pastry and other disasters


So, I was up early getting the kitchen cleaned up and quiches made for a Fathers’ Day honoring brunch for H. Daughters K & S will be here with their families, and then we’ll head over to K’s this evening for a dinner.

The brunch was a sort of consensus yesterday evening over at K’s (while my son M bounced on the trampoline and the rest of us took turns bouncing with him), and I mentioned that I had way too many eggs in the fridge, and should I make something with them to contribute to the dinner? That was out, but brunch seemed a better option.

So, up early in the pouring rain–put in a call to my own dad back in Vermont, who was fishing with my brother on Bristol Pond, then set to work making the pastry.  I pulled out the whole wheat flour and shortening, and filled a little glass with water and an ice cube.

As I was working the fat and flour together, my immediate brain thought something wasn’t right–there just seemed to be too much fat for the flour, even though I knew I’d measured correctly. So, I added a little more flour, completely ignoring the historical memory brain that was yelling, You Fool! It’s humid as a rainforest! You NEVER add more flour to pastry! Never!

Patted the pastry into a ball, wrapped in wax paper, refrigerated, and set about preparing the fillings: reconstituted dried morels and dried tomatoes, sliced onions, a little bit of lamb sausage, plus the eggs, milk, and herbs.  I was even thinking how I might be able to get three quiches instead of two out of that pastry ball because I’d so cleverly added the extra flour.

Those of you who know pastry are shaking your heads, knowing what came next.  I took the dough-ball out of the fridge, sliced it in half, and it fell completely to pieces.

“Crap!” I shouted.

Told you so, didn’t I? But you didn’t listen…, came the snide reply of my historical brain.

Well, we at Flying Tomato Farms are nothing if not prepared to make do with the results of our screw-ups (yes, that’s the royal “we”).  I patted and cajoled each crumbling half of pastry ball into a pie plate, using a bit of ice water to glue together the bits.  The pastry will be a bit “rustic,” but I think it’ll be edible, if a bit on the tough side.

After patting in the pastry, I laid slices of muenster cheese over the bottom of the shell, to further secure the pastry, and topped them with the aforementioned fillings before pouring in the egg mixture.  The third “quiche” will end up being a (crustless) frittata–I’ll start it on the stovetop, then finish under the broiler once the other two are out of the oven.

Well, the guests have arrived, and the quiches and frittata look fine.  The pastry is a bit thick, but not terribly tough, so I’ll call it a success and dig in!

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