Quiche – April 5th

Part of what I love about making quiche is its versatility – you can really fill it with anything you choose, decide how creamy you want the custard, what ratio it will be in with the other additions, etc., etc.  So, please view this recipe as a guideline only.  I really only adhere to the basic crust formula and the number of eggs, and do the rest by eye.  I know that’s frustrating to be told by someone proposing to give you a “recipe,” but I really can’t provide you with accurate quantities for some of these ingredients.  This makes one tart, which produces 8 comfortably-sized slices.

Crust

1 1/4 cup flour

6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter

a few grinds/pinches of sea salt

1 egg

Combine the flour, salt and butter with your fingers, working the butter into the flour until you have a bowl full of crumbles, with mostly-pea sized pieces of butter and plenty of loose flour.  Beat the egg a little, then stir it in with a fork until a rough dough forms (this may take some kneading).  Turn the ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll, rotating and flouring as necessary, into a round a little more than a foot in diameter.  Fold this in half, transfer to a pie dish (I prefer to use tin ones), and unfold again.  Using a knife or scissors, trim the dough so that there are a few centimetres of overhang, and tuck them under the dough so that there is a fat lip.  Crimp this lip by placing two knuckles, side by side, on the outside of the lip and pressing a finger from the opposite hand into the dough, forcing it into a point between them.  Refrigerate the pie pan.

Filling

(You should probably start your vegetables cooking before the crust, depending on how many pans you want to get dirty – I used one, cooking the onions, then the spinach, then the mushrooms)

several handfulls of Brown or Button, or any other tasty variety, of mushrooms, chopped into pieces no bigger than the top joint of your thumb

several handfulls of fresh spinach, chopped if the leaves are large, or approximately one of those square packages, defrosted and squeezed out, if using frozen

1/2 a medium yellow onion

a few leeks, scallions, or similar onion-esque but green/leafy vegetables (optional)

olive oil

butter

vermouth or sherry

salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop the onion (and scallions, if using) and cook over medium heat in several tablespoons each of olive oil and butter and salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until sweet, browned and aromatic.  You’re looking for really, really caramelized stuff here, you don’t want it to taste too sharp.  When this is done, transfer onions to a bowl, and wilt the spinach in the hot pan.  Transfer the leaves to another bowl (or the same one, if you don’t care about layering later) and add a few more tablespoons of butter, olive oil, salt and pepper to the pan and combine over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and begin to cook them, stirring frequently.  After a few minutes, add a few tablespoons (or more) of vermouth, and continue cooking until most of the liquid has boiled off and the mushrooms are almost tender.

Custard

3 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream (approx)

Some milk, cream, half-and-half or combination of these – 1/2 cup (approx)

1/4 – 1/3 cup cream cheese

approx. 1 cup of grated cheddar, Jarlsberg, gruyere or other aged, nutty cheese, or a combination

In a mixing bowl, preferably with an electric mixer, combine the milk products until they are smooth – you’re really trying to get the lumps out of the cream cheese, since it’s much thicker than everything else involved.  Add the eggs and mix these in, and then mix in all but a few tablespoons of the grated cheese.

Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator.  Spread the onions on the bottom, followed by layers – or just a tumble – of mushrooms and spinach.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and drown the whole thing in the egg custard, poking a little if necessary to get all the vegetables more or less submerged (you may have a little too much custard.  Don’t try to fit it all in if that’s the case, burned egg on the bottom of an oven is no fun to clean up).

Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, though I’d start checking at 15.  You want the top to be white-gold, with a few spots burnished and brown, and the edges of the crust to be golden brown.  The hot filling should wobble a little.  I bake these on top of a cookie sheet, just in case they overflow.  They’ll slice better once they’re completely cool, but warm quiche from the oven is delightful, too, so go for it as soon as it’s cool enough to touch, if you feel like it.

Variations

Just a few suggestions for what else you could do with this very sketchy excuse for a recipe:

Add ham.  A ham-and-cheese quiche, a quiche lorraine, is very classic and popular.

Use whole wheat flour in the crust.  This actually offsets the creaminess very nicely, and tends to be crunchier.

Lobster.  I haven’t tried this, but I’m desperate to, just with a little mild cheese mixed into the egg.

You know what you like to eat, and, if it’s savoury, chances are it goes all right with egg.  Go crazy.



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2 Responses to Quiche – April 5th

  1. maoismdoesntwork says:

    (I have been thus far unable to make words and pictures alternate. This is because wordpress does not like me. We are going to have a talk, though, and if all goes well will begin coöperating very soon, at which point I will rectify this situation.)

  2. bethanyhartley says:

    Oh my, I quite want to try this with lobster like you suggested. Oh, and I really like the ham suggestion too.

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