Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quiche, quiche, quiche and more quiche

One of the things I’ve come to look forward to each holiday season is the company potluck. No sign-up sheet. Just a notice telling us to bring whatever we’d like to share with our colleagues. With a good mix of cultures represented, this open invitation leads to an interesting and tasty mix of food. This year there was honey glazed ham, smoked albacore tuna dip, sushi, cold buckwheat noodles, Brazilian black bean and meat stew, teriyaki chicken thighs, pigs in a blanket, Buffalo wings, bean dip, and Shepard’s pie, just to name a few. I brought three different kinds of quiche: spinach and smoked Gouda, caramelized onion and mozzarella, and honey ham and extra sharp cheddar.

Spinach and smoked Gouda. The smokiness of the cheese compliments the spinach very well. Smoked cheeses can be too smoky for some people. You may want to use half smoked cheese and half mild cheese, like mozzarella or havarti.

Quiche is one of those foods I like to fall back on when I need something to bring to a potluck. It can be made a day or two in advance, it can be served hot or cold, and it’s easy to transport. The recipe I use is so easy (found on Food Network years ago) and even if you over-bake it a bit, the result is still smooth and delicious. I’ve tried this with many different fillings and everything has worked, so I encourage you to experiment. And it’s scalable; no need to make each quiche separately.

Caramelized onion and mozzarella quiche. This is my favorite filling. The sweetness of the onions goes so well with creaminess of the eggs.

Basic Quiche
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup half and half (evaporated milk or even whole milk is okay)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • ½ tsp salt (more or less to taste depending on your filling)
  • shredded cheese (as little as 1 large handful to 4 oz)
  • filling of your choice (well-drained cooked spinach, caramelized onions, sautéed leeks, sautéed and drained kale, ham, sautéed mushrooms, etc)
  • 1 unbaked piecrust, recipe below (or store-bought is fine)
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the mayonnaise, half and half, flour and salt until nice and creamy.

In the unbaked piecrust, lay your filling and most of the cheese. Make sure the filling is well drained. Pour the egg mixture over the filling and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in a 350° oven for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until the center is set. I have two pan sizes and the smaller one takes exactly 35 minutes and the larger exactly 45. Don’t worry if the quiche puffs up; it will deflate as it cools. If you see a small crack or two, it’s probably done and will be fine.

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

This basic piecrust is good for sweet or savory pies. This recipe makes enough for two crusts. If you just want to use one, the other can be frozen. If possible, roll out the crust and place in the pie pan to freeze. Then when you need to use it, just fill it and pop it in the oven. If that’s not possible, freeze it as a flatten ball and thaw in the fridge before rolling it out.

Basic Pie Crust
makes 2 crusts
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups cold butter, cut into smallish squares
  • up to 1/3 cup cold water
If you can make this in a food processor, it will come together much faster, but if you don’t have a food processor, good old elbow grease will do. Pulse the flour, salt and butter until you get a course, but uniform mixture. Slowly add the water, one tablespoon at a time while pulsing until the dough comes together. Don’t over process. It should hold together well without being sticky to your hands or the work surface. As soon as it comes together dump it onto a work surface and knead it 3 or 4 times. Divide it in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill the dough. Once it’s chilled, roll it out until it fits your pie pan. Trim the excess or make a decorative border.


Manggy said...

Wow! That looks soo good! I want one (slice, I'm trying to keep my calories down). I think if it's a popular dish of yours it'd be nice to buy a large tart/quiche pan, so your guests can look at the beautiful fluted edges. Also you can make a show out of unmolding it, haha :)

tigerfish said...

I wonder if you mix spinach, caramelized onion , honey ham and cheese into one quiche, how does that taste? Quiche,quiche,quiche, kiss, kiss, kiss....oh, not with onions in the cheese :P
Merry Xmas!

dp said...

Manggy: Thanks! It's hard not to go back for seconds!

Tigerfish: I bet it would taste very good! I was tempted to mix the onions and spinach, but the onions are so good by themselves too. I would just caution not to overload with filling otherwise you miss the taste and texture of the eggs.