Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quiche

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
leeks, sauted
plum tomatoes

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!

2 comments:

maamypatom said...

Say! My pie crust method made it into the blog! I wondered when it would.
We certainly ate our share of quiche when you were growing up, and I too haven't made it for quite a while. For me it was because I got more conservative in my use of eggs and whole milk cus of cholesterol concerns that I am now rethinking after reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Guess mine will have to have another traditional ingredient that I eat conservatively: bacon. Just a couple of crisp and crumbled strips will be enough! That makes me think of another dish kids always loved that sort of fits between quiche and mac and cheese: The noodle cheese souffle from Diet for a Small Planet. It uses eggs, butter, honey, cottage cheese, yogurt, noodles, bread crumbs and raisins.

maamypatom said...

I just looked again at the amounts you listed for the crust. Bet with that much pie dough you could make a little crust for that lunch time baby quiche too!