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How to Make a Really Good Quiche…

I’ve always had a thing for quiche. I’m not sure what I like better: the flaky crust or the souffle-like-cheese-and-egg filling or the endless possibilities for additional goodies. Like spinach and goat cheese. Or bacon, onions, and nutty Gruyere. Or asparagus and ricotta. I could go on and on. For me, a warm slice of quiche, a simple green salad, and a glass of crisp, minerally white wine is just about the perfect meal.

I’m sure living in France had something to do with that. The French make quiche downright sexy, with the creamiest fillings imaginable and crust so buttery it melts in your mouth. Living in Paris, if I wasn’t ordering a salade du chevre chaude (a warm goat cheese salad) or some sort of tartine (their beautiful open-faced sandwiches), I’d usually have a slice of the quiche du jour and a green salad for lunch whenever I went out. I was rarely disappointed.

But despite my obsession with quiche, I historically haven’t made them very often. I think this mostly had to do with the fact that pie crusts have always sort of intimidated me. They always seemed so brittle and dry and would fall apart as I transferred them from counter to the pie dish. That is, until I discovered the most delicious, most forgiving, easy-to-work-with pastry dough I’ve ever used. It’s a whole wheat dough that I adapted last fall (I honestly don’t remember the original source) for a Chicken Pot Pie recipe I was developing. I played around with the proportions and finally got a recipe that works every time. (Yay!!) Seriously, give it a whirl – you will love this dough. No cracking, no breaking, no sticking, and no pre-baking required! A food processor helps for blending, but you can also use a pastry cutter or an old fashioned fork and knife. The most important part is letting it chill before rolling it out.

But what really inspired me to get in the kitchen and make a quiche already, was reading Joy the Baker’s recent post about making gluten-free quiche with the pastry chef at The French Laundry. What a dream!! (Check out the video, here.) Her quiche looked so fluffy and delicious that I decided to use her egg-milk-cream ratio in the recipes below. Which worked beautifully. Thanks, Joy!

A few tips for making a beautiful crust:
  • CHILL IT: After processing your dough (see recipe below for details), knead it a few times to make a smooth ball and, using the heel of your hand, flatten it into a 6-inch dish. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  • WHACK IT: Unwrap the dough and place it on a floured surface. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so then give it several good whacks with a rolling pin. This will help loosen it up and spread it out a bit before you start rolling.
  • ROLL IT: Sprinkle the dough disk with flour and start rolling. Roll evenly, back and forth, diagonal, etc. all over the dough until you get a large circle, about 2 inches wider on all sides than your pie dish.
  • SHAPE IT: Carefully fold the dough over the rolling pin and lay the crust into the pie dish, then unfold. Gently fit the crust into the dish and using scissors, trim the dough so it comes just above the edge of the pie dish. Using the thumb and index finger of one hand and the index finger of your other hand, flute the edges of the pie dough. (This is super easy and makes you look like a pro!)
  • CHILL IT (AGAIN): I like to pop the shaped crust in the fridge for 20-30 minutes while I’m making the custard and the filling. This helps prevent it from getting soggy while baking.

As for the rest of the quiche, it’s easy. Just cook the filling – whether that’s spinach or onions or bacon – and sprinkle it on the bottom of the chilled crust. Place the quiche on a baking sheet, sprinkle about half the cheese over the filling, then pour the egg custard on top. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and slide the quiche into your oven. After an hour or so, you’ll have puffy, golden beauties like the ones above, and your house will smell heavenly.

The quiche is not only delicious served right away, but they reheat beautifully in the oven for several days after. I made the quiches above for Easter brunch, and they were so easy to prep ahead. I made the pastry dough and custard fillings the night before, as well as the spinach, bacon, and onion. I wrapped everything up separately and on the day of the party, all I had to do was roll out the dough, fill the quiches, and bake. Delicious and, if you break it down into the above steps, easy. What’s not to love?


WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY DOUGH


Makes 1 (9- or 10-inch) pie crust

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 tablespoons ice cold water

For the pastry, combine the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is full of pea-size lumps. With the motor running, add the water slowly, just until the dough begins to come together. Dump it onto a floured surface, knead a few times, and shape into a 6-inch round disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least one hour.

Unwrap the disk, place on a floured surface, and let sit for about 10 minutes. Give it a few good whacks with the rolling pin (to loosen it up and spread it out a bit) and roll the dough into about a 12-inch dish. Place the pie dish above the dough and make sure the crust extends a couple of inches beyond the dish.

Carefully roll the crust onto the rolling pin to transfer it into the dish. Unroll the dough into the dish and gently shape it to fit. Using scissors, trim the edges so they come just above the edge of the dish. Using the index finger and thumb of one hand and the index finger of your other hand, flute the edges of the pie crust.

Chill the crust for 20 or 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.



SPINACH AND GOAT CHEESE QUICHE


Serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups raw spinach, rinsed
Salt and pepper
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (2 % or whole)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Crust (above)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until softened but not brown. Add the spinach and saute for several minutes, stirring constantly, until wilted and bright green. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander to drain. Let cool slightly, then squeeze the liquid out with paper towels.

Whisk the eggs, milk, and cream in a bowl until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper. (I say generously because I always wish I had added more seasoning when I taste the quiche after it’s cooked!)

Place the chilled pie crust on a baking sheet. Layer the spinach on the bottom of the crust, along with the crumbled goat cheese. Pour the custard mixture over the spinach and goat cheese. Sprinkle the Gruyere cheese on top. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes or until filling is puffed up and golden brown.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving (it will be extremely hot!). Serve with a big green salad for lunch or dinner, or some fresh berries for brunch. It can also be served room temperature as part of a buffet.


QUICHE LORRAINE (BACON, ONIONS, & GRUYERE)


Serves 8

8 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, diced
Salt and pepper
1 cup Gruyere cheese, divided
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (2% or whole)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Crust (above)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large saute pan, fry the bacon until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined dish. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease and add the onion. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs, milk, and cream in a bowl until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper. (I say generously because I always wish I had added more seasoning when I taste the quiche after it’s cooked!)

Place the chilled pie crust on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the bacon and onions in the bottom of the chilled pie crust. Sprinkle half the Gruyere cheese over the onions and pour the custard on top. Sprinkle the remaining Gruyere cheese on top. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes or until filling is puffed up and golden brown.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving (it will be extremely hot!). Serve with a big green salad for lunch or dinner, or some fresh berries for brunch. It can also be served room temperature as part of a buffet.


  • http://www.jossieloves.blogspot.com Jos Budge

    Yum – they look so divine and would have to be my favourite meal of all time, apart form risotto!!!! I make a self crusting frittata that I think you’d love…try this for size…

    4 eggs
    1 ¼ c milk – or mix of milk and cream
    ½ c self raising flour
    1 c grated cheese – whatever type or combo you like
    chopped onion and garlic
    tomatoes
    red pepper
    roasted/cooked root vegetables
    spinach
    bacon/chicken/trout – whatever
    herbs

    Add liquid to dry ingredients
    Pop ¼ c butter in dish and melt in oven.

    Pop vegetables in dish add liquid and dry ingredients

    Sprinkle some cheese over the top

    Bake 30 minutes at 180-190 degrees – yumbo scrumbo!!!

  • http://bellesqueaks.wordpress.com Beth

    I don’t need much motivation to make a quiche, and your pictures and recipes have given me ample reason to roll the dough and crack the eggs! The new site design looks great, by the way!

  • http://justalittlecracked.com/ Alicia

    That looks amazing! My friend Megan made one a long time ago, and it was such a hit. This is totally a recipe I would love to try and share with my friends. Maybe I’ll make this for her if I visit her this week :)

  • http://theyellowtable.com Anna

    Thank you all for your comments! Hope you all enjoy making quiche soon! And Jos, thanks for sharing your frittata recipe…I’ll have to give it a try! xo, Anna

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My name is Anna Watson Carl. In a word, I love food, I love France, and I love throwing dinner parties. Over the years, I've worked as a personal chef, taught cooking classes, edited cookbooks, written for magazines, tested and styled recipes, and traveled whenever opportunity has arisen. But at heart, there's nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends around the yellow table.

For me, cooking has always been a way of life. As a (mildly precocious) ten-year old, I planned and prepared a four-course Valentine's dinner for my parents, birthing a lifelong passion for dinner parties. That was just the beginning. I've been cooking ever since, whipping up souffles at a chateau in Burgundy, searing filet mignon for a wealthy client's dog (bizarre, but true), butchering ducks for confit de canard in Paris, baking the night shift in Nashville, and bathing the floor of my NYC apartment in turkey brine...the story continues.

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