It's been years since I made quiche. I can't remember why. I love the simplicity of this one-dish meal, its incredible ability to absorb whatever random leftovers I have around and turn them into a creamy, crunchy warm and comforting slice. But for some reason it fell out of my repertoire. I think what happened is that quiche is really a winter food, because of the baking but also because of the ingredients, and one year I just forgot to return to it at the end of summer. Like a box of winter clothes that got shoved just a tad too far under the eaves, it's been stored away for a few seasons. Oh, but that just makes the return more delightful.
I just use a simple pate brise for the crust:
2 cups flour
1 stick butter
up to 1/4 cup ice water
Chop the butter into the flour, with a pastry cutter, two butter knives, or in a food processor. Then add the water little by little till it just holds into a ball. Be careful not to touch the dough any more than necessary. Pour the dough into a lightly floured kitchen cloth and use the cloth to shape it into a ball. Still in the cloth, flatten it out. Then roll it out using a lightly floured rolling pin. Butter a pie pan and use the cloth to lift and turn the dough into the pan.
For the filling:
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-11/2 cups milk
salt and pepper
1-2 cups grated cheese. Any kind works, and I think the best is a mix. Some of my favorites are cheddar, gruyere, and fontina but jack is great, pepper jack is fun, goat cheese is fantastic, a little feta can be nice...
and then the optional add-ins come. My favorites include:
1/2 lb of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (1 box, but you might have blanched and frozen your own spinach last summer!)
1/2-1 cup chopped ham
1-2 heads of broccoli
1 onion, sliced and sauted or even cooked on a very low heat till carmelized
1/2-1 cup mushrooms, fresh or sauted
Mix all of the ingredients together, pour into the crust, and bake for about 45 minutes at 350. Don't overfill, as drippings make a mess. Instead, pour any extra into a little dish for a crustless quiche for lunch!