Yesterday, on May 6, 2023, the coronation of King Charles took place. Although he’s been king since his mother, Queen Elizabeth, died (on September 8, 2022), his reign officially began yesterday with the coronation, where Charles was formally presented with royal ceremonial objects, such as the Crown Jewels, and where the crown was physically placed on his head in front of two thousand guests.
As part of the festivities, today, Sunday, Brits are encouraged to take part in the “Big Lunch.” This is basically a way to celebrate and bring people together communally through street parties, garden parties, and picnics. For those hosting a Big Lunch, the first step was to apply for a free coronation “Big Lunch” pack online. The pack included invitations to spread around the neighborhood, ideas for decorating, games to encourage socialization, and even conversation starters, such as “Have you ever met a member of the Royal family?”, “What’s your favorite way to spend a bank holiday?”, “What’s something nice that’s happened to you this week?”, or “What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?”
There’s even an official menu suggested for these Big Lunches. It can be viewed here: https://news.yahoo.com/royal-family-just-revealed-official-204700858.html
As you can see on that site, King Charles and Queen Camilla have officially chosen a quiche as the main designated dish for the Big Lunch. It was immediately dubbed Quiche Le Reign.
The quiche is made with spinach, fava beans, cheddar cheese and tarragon. It was selected in discussion with the royal chef who devised it, and is felt to be a “good sharing dish” to take to a Coronation Big Lunch as it can be served hot or cold, is easily adapted to suit a wide variety of tastes and dietary requirements, and is not too expensive or complicated to make.
There has been some controversy regarding the quiche. Some critics said it was "old fashioned and a throwback to 1973." Others called it "unimaginative," Yet others complained that it is an egg dish at a time when Britain faces a shortage of eggs because of avian flu. And some also said it was too posh. There were also objections to the lard.
Here's the recipe:
Coronation Quiche Serves 6
Ingredients. Pastry: 125g plain flour Pinch of salt 25g cold butter, diced 25g lard 2 tablespoons milk Or 1 x 250g block of ready-made shortcrust pastry Filling: 125ml milk 175ml double cream 2 medium eggs 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, Salt and pepper 100g grated cheddar cheese, 180g cooked spinach, lightly chopped 60g cooked broad beans (fava beans) or soya beans Method. 1. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the fats and rub the mixture together using your finger tips until you get sandy breadcrumb-like texture. 2. Add the milk a little at a time and bring the ingredients together into a dough. 3. Cover and allow to rest in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. 4. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the pastry to a circle a little larger than the top of tin and approximately 5mm thick. 5. Line the tin with the pastry, taking care not to have any holes or the mixture could leak. Cover and rest for a further 30 minutes in the fridge. 6. Preheat the oven to 190°C. 7. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, add baking beans, and bake blind for 15 minutes, before removing the greaseproof paper and baking beans. 8. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C. 9. Beat together the milk, cream, eggs, herbs and seasoning. 10. Scatter half of the grated cheese in the blind-baked base. Top with spinach, beans, and
herbs, then pour over the liquid mixture. 11. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes until set
and lightly golden. For the most part, I was not enamored with the whole suggested menu. I was, however, intrigued by the quiche. I decided it might be fun to give it a try and host my own “Miniature Big Lunch” here in Staten Island. But, first, I wanted to make a few changes in the recipe in order to make it more to our taste. There was also all that metric stuff to convert and some vagueness in the recipe too. For example, what is a “pie tin”? Are they using a pie plate or a tart pan, and what size? To start, I omitted the lard and the milk and used white whole wheat flour for the crust. As for the filling, I omitted the heavy cream and used 1/2 cup of milk instead. I also added one more egg and increased the cheese by two ounces, because that ratio of ingredients worked well for me when I’ve made quiches before. Here’s the recipe I ended up with:
My Take on the Coronation Quiche
Ingredients Pastry: 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour Pinch of salt 3/4 cup cold butter, diced 3-5 tablespoons ice cold water Filling: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 5 oz. fresh spinach Salt and pepper, to taste 3 eggs 1/2 cup milk 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated *3/4 cup fava beans *I used dried fava beans, which were soaked overnight, peeled, then cooked for two hours. Preparation For the Pastry:
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour and salt.
Add the butter and pulse a few times until pea-sized pieces form.
Slowly add 1 tbsp of water at a time, pulse, and continue adding water until a ball has just formed with the dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
Roll out the pastry to a 12” circle. Place into a 9” pie plate and flute edge with thumb. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Place parchment on top of dough and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake 15 minutes. Remove beans and parchment.
For the Filling:
Wash spinach and do not dry. Warm olive oil in a large skillet. Add spinach to skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes to wilt. Remove from heat. Chop. Add salt and pepper.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and tarragon.
Scatter half the cheese over the partially-baked pie shell. Top with spinach and fava beans.
Pour milk/egg mixture over and top with remaining cheese.
Bake at 375F. for 25-35 minutes until golden and set. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
The verdict: It was nice to experience something similar to what hundreds of thousands of people in England will be enjoying today.
However, I thought I would like it more than I did. I like fava beans, but their taste was lost among the other ingredients. It was okay, but not that special.