Cookin' With s.e.: Quiche

Sometimes I have dreams about it. What I’m saying here is that I really love quiche.

Mar 2, 2012 at 2:00pm | Leave a comment

Quiche is one of my all-time number one favorite foods on Earth. I have been known to eat half a quiche at one sitting in a sort of desperate frenzy of quiche consumption. It’s a regular entry in my food rotation. Sometimes I have dreams about it. What I’m saying here is that I really love quiche.

image

It’s also a really handy dish to have in your cooking repertoire, if you don’t already, because of its incredible flexibility. It can be eaten hot or cold (and warmed up, as the case may be). You can use a huge variety of things as filler; maybe you want to have goat cheese and roasted bell peppers, or spinach and mushroom, or ham and potato! Don’t let anyone tell you what to do!

You can have quiche as a main course with salad and perhaps a veggie side on a summer day, or include it at breakfast, or, basically, the possibilities are endless. Timewise, it takes me about 2/3 of an episode of “Buffy1” to do all the prep for me (it may take you a little longer if you don't have a quiche routine down), plus another 45 minutes or so of baking. So you definitely need to set aside some time, but once you get your quiche in the oven, you don’t need to do anything other than taking it out of the oven at some point. Preferably before it becomes an ex-quiche.

Let’s Quiche It Up

I use the same pie dough recipe for pretty much everything requiring pie dough; if you want a recipe (or a refresher), you can hit up my lemon meringue pie post. I will note that for quiche and other savory dishes, I back off the sugar in the crust a tad. You also don’t need to prebake crust for quiche, which eliminates a fiddly step!

Once you’ve stashed your dough in the fridge to relax, you can get on to the next stage.

Or you can skip all this fancy-schmancy “making crust at home” nonsense and pick some up at the store. Or make someone else make it for you! This is what my father does whenever he wants pie and pie-like items, is call me and demand that I make him some pie dough.

For the Filling

Quiche filling is a happy marriage of an egg custardy sort of thing plus vegetables, possibly meats, and whatever else you can imagine. Shall we call them “inclusions”? I think we shall. You can use anything in there from leftover roasted beets to crab meat to fava greens to apples; seriously, an apple/spicy sausage quiche can be a pretty fantastic thing. Just think about things that you think might be tasty with eggs, and go from there.

You will need to precook your filling inclusions, so make sure to budget time for that in your quiche making.

image
 
Tools and Supplies

  • A large mixing bowl
  • A whisk
  • Mixing spoon or spatula
  • Cup measures
  • A frying pan
  • A grater
  • Possibly a chopping knife and cutting board for filling


Ingredients

  • Five eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs (totally optional, many people don’t use them (and in fact even faint in horror at the thought of bread crumbs in a quiche), but they can add body)
  • Pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice
  • Whatever things you plan to stick in your quiche


Start by cooking your filling ingredients so they get a chance to start cooling before you add them to the egg mixture. In this particular quiche, I used leeks, spinach, and kale:

image
 
This looks like a LOT of filling, but it’s important to remember that leafy greens cook down in the pan. If you’re using more solid ingredients like meats, potatoes, mushrooms, and so on, be careful about overloading your quiche so you don’t end up with a rocky moonscape of filling with occasional egg deposits.


image
 

In this case I tossed a little olive oil in the pan, swirled the leeks (white parts only) around until they started to turn translucent, added some red pepper flakes, and then introduced the chopped greens. I cooked until they all wilted down, and set the pan aside so it could ponder the meaning of life while I worked on the egg mix.

image
 

Whisk the eggs together with the milk, and then add the bread crumbs if you are using them, along with the spices. I like to use a little bit of nutmeg because I think it makes things more interesting and I have kind of a nutmeg obsession. You may feel differently. You might even ignore me altogether and add dill or something. Next, add the cheese, which I usually just grate right over the mixing bowl and eyeball2.

image
 

Note that this is scaleable. You can make a bigger quiche by maintaining a one egg to ¼ cup milk ratio, and bumping up the cheese and breadcrumbs (if used) slightly. You can also scale down if you have a pretty small pie plate.

With the two parts of the filling ready, you can start your oven preheating to 350° and prep your crust. I butter and flour the pie plate and then tap the flour out on the counter where I’m rolling, because it makes a handy pie-plate sized guiding line to use while I’m rolling. Make sure to periodically flip the dough as you roll, and work from the center out at a number of angles to keep it evenly increasing all the way around.

Stick your dough in your pie plate, combine the two halves of the filling, pour them in, and plop that quiche in the oven. Check about 45 minutes in – the quiche should be nice and golden, and when you stick a knife or toothpick in, it should be relatively clean. Take your quiche out, allow it to cool briefly, and then have at it. (Warning: Eating half a quiche at one sitting can result in abdominal distension. I speak from experience, kids!)

Sometimes I like to have quiche with lemon juice, hot sauce, and other random dressings. You can also do a version with bread crumbs as a crust. Petite or mini quiches are also totally acceptable, and you can use puff pastry as a crust as well, should you feel so inclined.

I use the same base recipe for frittata, which I insistently maintain is just quiche without a crust (and, handily, gluten-free as long as you don’t use bread crumbs in it), along with a version of timbale.

For timbale, pour the mix into a greased round mold and set the mold into a large oven-proof pan. Add boiling water to the pan (about enough to go halfway up the mold, if possible) once it’s in place inside the oven. This helps stabilize the proteins in the eggs during baking so the end result is very creamy and almost custardy, instead of more coarse, like quiche and frittata.

Be careful taking the whole affair out of the oven, because it can be tricky what with the weight and the really hot water and everything. As the mold starts to cool, invert it onto a plate for a pretty little timbale. Which you can then devour with animal-like noises. If you are me.


 

1. In this particular instance, ‘Changes,’ if anyone was interested. Return

2. Fun fact: I usually freehand my quiches, and I had to actually measure things this time so I could write up a coherent recipe. It was unexpectedly challenging! Return

Posted in DIY, baking, cooking, eggs, food, quiche