Too many eggs?

22 May 2013
If you're keeping chickens in the backyard, often you'll reach a point when you have too many eggs. Luckily, eggs are always easy to give away but they're also very easy to use up. Two of my favourite egg-based meals are quiche and creme caramel. Both recipes can be made many different ways, this is how I make them.

Don't be put off by making your own pastry. Like everything else, it's a skill that can be learned and when you do, it will open up so many other recipes. I did a tutorial on how to make pastry here, so I hope you are guided by that and make your own pastry case from scratch.

The pastry has to be blind baked first. That's just the cooking term for baking the pastry case without the filling in it. To blind bake, you prepare the pastry in the flan dish, cover it with a sheet of baking paper and pour on some chick peas or beans to weigh the paper down. Bake that in the oven till it's a soft golden colour, then remove it from the oven, take the paper and beans off, add the filling and pop it back into the oven to bake.

Quiche filling
Eggs are always the main ingredient for a quiche filling. I used six eggs in my quiche and a cup of cream. The other ingredients were just what I had in the cupboard. Quiche is a flexible recipe and you can add whatever suits your taste and you have handy in the cupboard or fridge. In addition to the eggs, I added mushrooms, leeks, spring onions, garlic, capsicum/red pepper that had all been pre-cooked and allowed to cool down. When the pastry was blind baked, I poured in the egg mixture and baked the quiche in a moderate oven until it was golden brown.

Quiche is one of those versatile meals that can be served hot or cold. I love it both ways with maybe a slight preference for the cold version. It's a good food to add to lunch boxes and the perfect choice for a light lunch of dinner, with the addition of a salad. Your fillings could also include bacon, ham, celery, eggplant, spinach, kale or potato - all pre-cooked and allowed to cool.

Creme Caramel
I think this might be my favourite dessert although we don't often have it at home, if we dine out and it's on the menu, I usually choose it.

Ingredients ...

...for caramel
¾ cup white sugar
1 cup water

½ cup sugar
1 cup cream
1½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs

This dish must be slow cooked in the oven. Preheat your oven to 165C/330F. 

In a heavy based saucepan, place ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup cold water and turn on to medium heat. Stir the mix to help the sugar dissolve and cook for 5 - 10 minutes, until it turns into a golden caramel. Remove from heat and when it stops bubbling, pour into 6 ramekins, dividing the caramel evenly.  Fill up the saucepan with water straight away to help with washing up later.

...for creamy dessert

Fill the kettle with water and put it on to boil. 

Add cream, milk and vanilla to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until small bubbles start to form. 

Whisk eggs and the remaining sugar in a jug until pale and creamy, then slowly add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, whisking while you pour. Pour that mixture through a fine sieve into the ramekins, dividing it evenly between the six of them.

Place the ramekins a large baking dish and pour boiling water into baking dish until halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in a slow oven for 30 minutes or until just set - you want the centre to be firmish but slightly wobbly. 

When cooked, remove the remekins and allow to cool before storing in the fridge overnight. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the custard, put the plate over the top of the ramekin and turn it out onto the plate.

Tasty and versatile egg recipes are like gold when you have chickens roaming in your backyard. What are your favourite egg recipes?