Todd and Sara Fergusson's chickens live in caravans on one big paddock just out of Dunedoo in western NSW. They are protected by Maremma sheep dogs, graze native pastures all day, lay beautiful eggs and are part of a clever rotational farming system that you can read about over here on One Farm Day.
But in the meantime, having just returned from a visit to Todd's farm with two cartons of said eggs, we are making things like quiche and cakes this week. And it was the former for lunch today, which, despite my wonky pastry, turned out to be pretty darn eggselent.
With key ingredients like lots of eggs, cream. bacon and butter, I'm not saying this is the healthiest thing you'll eat all year but it will be one of the best. The peas and mustard cress add both colour and lift in terms of flavour but you could leave them out or swap with some caramelised onion and/or thyme leaves. The below pastry recipe will make enough for two tarts so perhaps you might divide it into two discs, wrap both in plastic and stash one in the freezer. Let it defrost overnight in the fridge before using. Or you could roll it out and line the pastry tin and freeze that, then you can blind bake from frozen.
For the pastry400g plain flour
1 tsp salt
200g butter, diced
1/3 cup iced water 1 tsp salt
Measure out the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the diced butter and place in the freezer for half an hour. Then tip the lot into the bowl of a food processor, add the iced water and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Turn this out to a lightly floured bench and bring together with the heel of both hands until you have a smooth dough. Shape into a large, flat disc, wrap with plastic and place in the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove pastry from the fridge, re-dust your work surface with flour and roll out the pastry until you have a nice thin round. Grab a loose-bottomed tart tin (mine is 24cm in diameter) and gently drape this over your rolling pin and then unroll into the tin. Press into the fluted corners and gently roll the pin over the top of the tin to trim the pastry edges nice and neatly. return to the fridge for another half an hour.
To blind bake the pastry shell, line it with baking paper and then tip in lots of rice, dried pulses or any spare change you have lying around the house. You want the pastry weights to almost fill the tin so the sides are supported while cooking. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until the base and sides are just beginning to turn golden. Remove the coins and baking paper and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the base is just beginning to turn golden. Set aside while making the filling.
For the filling5 rashers bacon (we use Trunkey Creek)
1 1/2 cups cream
3 eggs and 4 yolks
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh peas, blanched
1/2 cup red mustard cress (ours came from Darling Mills)
Cook the bacon in full rashers until golden on each side, remove from heat and cut into small pieces. Whisk together the cream and eggs and season to taste. Scatter the base of the pastry shell with the bacon, pour over the cream mixture and then dot this with the peas. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the quiche is golden brown on top and feels just firm on top. Remove from heat, scatter with the cress and serve.
Todd's Farmer Brown's eggs can be found in Sydney via Accoutrement, Feather and Bone and The Village Grocer in Balgowlah. They can be found in select grocery stores across the Blue Mountains, at the Mudgee Farmers Markets, S&S Meats Mudgee the Mudgee Corner Store and their home town butcher shop; S&S Meats Dunedoo. For any other information about sourcing Farmer Brown's eggs, drop Todd a line via the website.