I love all kinds of cheese and experimenting with recipes that contain cheese. When I was a child I used to look at Sage Derby in the delicatessen and think because it was so green, it must be really strongly flavoured, or pungent. However, when I actually tasted it, I loved it. Not strong at all, but a lovely fragrant, herby cheese that’s good for eating and cooking with.
I discovered Fowlers Sage Derby cheese recently and it caught my eye as it didn’t have the usual bright green marbling. It was however, full of sage. I tried it and absolutely loved it, so of course I had to try and cook with it.
The autumnal weather we have been having lately has been making me think of the flavours of autumn – kale and butternut squash and of course sage goes so well with it. I decided the best way to showcase the cheese was in a quiche. Roasted butternut squash, wilted kale cooked with a little fresh sage and lots of the Sage Derby cheese. The result was completely decadent and delicious.
300g/10.5oz plain/all-purpose flour
227g/8oz butter cut into cubes and chilled
1 large egg, beaten
1-2tbs iced water
1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeds removed (a small pumpkin would also work well)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch of Cavalo Nero/Tuscan Kale, washed, ribs removed and roughly chopped or torn
5 fresh sage leaves, finely shredded
6 extra large eggs
280g Sage derby cheese – grated
¾ pint double/heavy cream
Salt and pepper
A few scrapes of fresh nutmeg
A little olive oil and butter
Add the flour, salt and butter to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas, or rough breadcrumbs. Add the iced water a little a time until the dough just comes together. You might not need all of the water.
Form the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Leave to chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry and, without stretching, line the base and sides of a 10inch/25cm tin. Return to the fridge and chill for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F
Line the pastry with parchment paper or foil, leaving plenty to come up the sides. Fill with baking beans and place in the oven to blind bake for 15-20 minutes. Take the pastry shell out of the oven, remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for further 5 minutes or until the pastry feels dry. Leave to cool a little before adding the filling.
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/430°F and slice the butternut squash just under 1cm thick and cut the slices in half. Toss in 1tbs olive oil with 1tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast in the oven until the squash is tender and catching on the edges. This will take around 25 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, heat ½tbs of oil and a small knob of butter in a pan and sauté the onion slowly with a pinch of salt and pepper until they are soft and golden. Set aside to cool
Then in the same pan, add a tiny bit more butter if the pan is dry and sauté the kale and shredded sage until wilted, set aside with the other vegetables.
Lower the oven to 180°C/360°F
Roll out the pastry on a floured board and line a 25cm/10inch tin, leaving an excess to trim off later.
Place baking paper in the tin and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and then return to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes.
Whisk the eggs and cream with the nutmeg, another ½tsp salt and a little more black pepper. Stir in the grated cheese.
Layer the onions, squash and kale in the pastry case and cover with the cheesy egg mixture.
Carefully place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until just set in the middle. The quiche will be puffed and golden brown and smelling delicious.
This is lovely eaten warm with a salad, but equally good cold. We had some of this one cold with some pickled shallots which went together perfectly.
Quiches are always good to take on a picnic or put in a lunchbox too. I think this one is good any time of year, but would be perfect for an autumn picnic and could easily hold its own on a festive table at Christmas.
It’s still summer now, but the butternut squash and sage combination is a precursor for all the Autumnal flavours – coming soon!