We take part in ‘meat free Monday’ most weeks, but as I’m trying to focus on eating enough protein to keep me satiated (and hopefully build some muscle!) I found myself googling “protein quiche”; wondering if there was a way to beef up (pun intended) the usually starchy fatty part of this dish without resorting to a ‘crustless’ quiche (aka glorified frittata).Unfortunately I have still not learnt my lesson that a ‘protein…’ version of any yummy dish is likely to be a pale and dismal imitation. “You can’t go wrong with … the protein crust that’s the star of this low-carb dish!” promised a recipe on a body building website. You can perhaps see where I went wrong – never take recipe tips from a body building website! The pastry certainly looked the part, but on tasting was somewhat reminiscent of a dry cardboard box that had previously been through a rain shower.
They’d missed the crucial part of any pastry that turns it from a piece of old leather into a decadent crumbly delight – the fat. So yes, my version of protein pastry isn’t quite so virtuous, but it is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein than a standard shortcrust; and grain free too – if that’s your thing. As with lots of gluten free pastry I find it best to forget rolling it out, and just press it into the tin. You get a ‘rustic’ look, but it’s much easier than an argument with a rolling pin. We’ve all been there.
Almond & Pea Protein Pastry
Makes 4 small tartlets (double for a full-sized quiche)
- ½ cup (about 50g) pea protein powder (I used Pulsin’)
- ½ cup (about 50g) ground almonds
- 60g butter or dairy free alternative (I use Tomor, you could probably use chilled coconut oil if you’re that way inclined)
- 2 tbsp egg white (about 1 medium egg white)
- Seasoning/dried herbs to taste
- Preheat your oven to 170°c (fan) and prepare your tin(s). I find you don’t need to grease a non-stick tin as the fat content of the pastry should stop it from sticking.
- Place the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Cut the butter/margarine into small pieces, minimising handling to keep it cold and add to the food processor.
- Pulse the mixture until it looks like wet sand and there are no big lumps of butter left.
- Add in the egg white, and mix with a fork until it starts to come together into a dough. Add a little more egg if the mixture is too dry.
- With cold hands (run them under a cold tap first!), take clumps of the mix and press it lightly into your tin, making sure there are no gaps. You’re aiming for the crust to be about ½cm thick.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (or slightly more for a larger tart) until light brown, then use as you would a normal pastry.