The coronation quiche has been causing quite the stir.
The Charles-and-Camilla-approved dish, which features spinach, tarragon and broad beans, will be served at hundreds of community lunches around the UK on May 6 to mark King Charles III’s Coronation – which you can stream via BritBox with a 7-day free trial by subscribing right here.
But ever since the palace revealed its carefully selected quiche, people have been taking to the internet to share their disgust at the choice.
From the Sydney Morning Herald’s “Unfit For A King: Sorry Charles, Coronation Quiche Is Gross” headline to the many memes about the dish not being an impressive enough meal to celebrate a coronation with, it’s obvious that people aren’t happy about the coronation quiche.
But is it really so bad? I decided to find out.
My first problem with the quiche arose before I’d even made it to the kitchen: where was I supposed to buy lard?
The official recipe, which is posted on the Royal Family website, requires 25 grams of the animal fat to make the shortcut pastry.
After an unsuccessful search for lard (and half of the other ingredients) in my tiny Woolworths metro and the more expensive grocer up the road, I decided to resort to ready-made pastry—which luckily, the official recipe still allowed for.
I was also pleased to find that most of the ingredients were pretty affordable. I grabbed a packet of frozen broad beans for just $3.00, some fresh tarragon for $3.50 and a huge bag of spinach for $5.00.
The rest of the quiche relies on items that are usually already found in your fridge (milk, eggs, cheese and cream) but as they weren’t in mine, I bought them for a few dollars each.
To preface—I’m no quiche expert. My previous attempts have tasted a lot more like scrambled eggs than the French delicacy I’m so often expecting.
But after an instructive phone call from my mum (and a boyfriend who used to be a chef, on stand-by) I was feeling more prepared than ever.
While it began smoothly (simply mixing cheese, eggs, milk, herbs and cream together), I made the mistake of gathering my ingredients and jumping straight into the recipe.
This meant that when I thought it was time to add the broad beans to the mixture, I still had to cook and shell them—two important steps the official recipe neglected to include.
After a quick ‘do you have to peel broad beans’ Google search and turning my (very tiny) kitchen upside down in search of the right sized pot, the quiche mixture finally seemed to be coming together.
According to the recipe, the quiche takes between 20 and 25 minutes to cook in the oven but for me (and my older oven) it took about 40.
As someone who relies on a lot of spices while cooking, I assumed the quiche (which only requires salt and pepper as flavouring) would taste a little plain.
I was wrong: the quiche actually tasted really good. It was creamy (not surprising considering the amount of cream required), the broad beans were deliciously moreish and the tarragon added a lovely depth of flavour.
In fact, the dish is classically French. Considering Queen Elizabeth’s coronation chicken highlighted Britain’s ties to India in a post-Gandhi era, it might not be too optimistic to imagine the quiche as a nod to Europe in post-Brexit one.
And sure, a quiche is not exactly the most exciting dish in the world but I think that might be the point. The coronation meal is designed to be cooked and eaten at homes all across the UK. This means that a huge amount of tastes, dietary choices and budgets need to be considered when selecting the meal.
A quiche, which doesn’t require meat and mainly relies on pantry staples, seems like the more humble choice to make during a cost of living crisis. Plus, if you leave out the lard, it’s also vegetarian.
Of course, the royals probably should have considered the country-wide egg shortages before getting everyone to make a quiche—but in comparison to other possible dishes, it’s still a fairly affordable (and sustainable) choice.
While I don’t think the quiche will be making it onto my weekly meal plan any time soon, I’m also not opposed to making it again—and not just because the royals told me to.
Coronation Quiche Recipe
- 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
- 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 or soya beans
- To make the pastry…
- Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl; add the fats and rub the mixture together using your finger tips until you get a sandy, breadcrumb like texture.
- Add the milk a little at a time and bring the ingredients together into a dough.
- Cover and allow to rest in the fridge for 30-45 minutes
- Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the pastry to a circle a little larger than the top of the tin and approximately 5mm thick.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, add baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes, before removing the greaseproof paper and baking beans.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.
- Beat together the milk, cream, eggs, herbs and seasoning.
- Scatter 1/2 of the grated cheese in the blind-baked base, top with the chopped spinach and beans and herbs, then pour over the liquid mixture.
- If required gently give the mixture a delicate stir to ensure the filling is evenly dispersed but be careful not to damage the pastry case.
- Sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly golden.