I'm a sucker for quiche on any menu. When I'm traveling, I always seek out the best bakery in town to try their quiche. Paired with a green salad tossed with a bright vinaigrette, quiche is the perfect answer to breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's elegant, yet easy to make and since you can do so ahead of time, it's also the solution for brunch gatherings to dinner parties.
A cross between savory pie and frittata, quiche is a custard made with eggs, cream or milk, savory ingredients and poured into a buttery pie crust and baked. We can thank the French who are masters of the quiche for perfecting this dish. In France, the rich, buttery dough is called pâte brisée. These tarts have been around since 1653 when La Varenne’s “Le Patissier François” was published, the first cookbook to codify French pastry arts and much of the country's cuisine.
The French use tarts and quiches as an affordable way to use up leftover meat or vegetables. There are no rules to the filling except that you want the ingredients to be cooked through, fairly dry and cool enough so that they don't cook the eggs when added to the filling. Some of my favorite filling ingredients include salmon, eggplant, spinach, bacon, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. The quiche recipe I'm sharing today is one of my favorites from The Chopping Block and includes leeks, mushrooms and goat cheese.
Cheese makes a luscious custard even more luscious so feel free to experiment here as well. Other ideas for cheese include feta, cheddar, Swiss and Gruyere.
I love the taste and texture of from scratch pie crust, but if you are short on time, a frozen pie crust will work in a pinch. There are other shortcuts you can take as well:
- Skip the crust altogether and make a crust-less quiche like this Everything Bagel Quiche.
- Use this shortcut crust recipe which doesn't require as much chilling time as The Chopping Block's famous pie and tart dough (recipe below).
- Use puff pastry for the crust.
For equipment, all you need is a rolling pin, pie weights or dried beans and a tart pan. The tart pans with removable bottoms are great because you'll be able to remove the quiche from the pan entirely before serving. I like using my Le Creuset tart pan because it's such a pretty color, and there's no need to remove the quiche for serving. The scalloped-edge design also makes it very easy to crimp the edges of the crust.
This pan also can go straight from the freezer to the oven, so I like to stick it in the freezer (instead of the fridge as the recipe below calls for) once you have the dough rolled out to make sure that crust is nice and cold before the blind baking process.
So, what's blind baking? By partially baking the crust before you add the filling, you'll be left with a crust that's crisp and flaky, not soggy on the bottom. After the crust comes out of the freezer, you dock it (i.e. prick it all over with the tines of a fork), add a piece of parchment paper and pie weights (I've been using the same bag of dried beans for years as my weights) and bake it.
Docking allows the steam to escape so that the pie crust doesn't puff up in the oven. Docking and using pie weights during blind baking helps minimize crust shrinkage and also ensures the crust and the custard are perfectly done at the same time.
Once the dough is blind baked and you add the filling, be sure to put the tart pan on a sheet tray before it goes into the oven. This helps distribute the heat, which cooks the quiche evenly, and it eliminates the chance the pan will leak or overflow in your oven.
Once the quiche is done, it will still have a bit of a jiggle as it comes out of the oven. That jiggle means silky, melt-away custard in every bite.
Quiche is one of my favorite dishes since it’s comforting, rich, creamy and easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you already have on hand. It's also the perfect dish to celebrate mom this Mother's Day! Treat your mom to this quiche recipe or let our chef do the work and take her to Mother's Day Spring Brunch Demo on Sunday, May 9 at 11am at Lincoln Square. You'll enjoy a seasonal menu of:
- Arugula, Avocado and Radish Salad with Toasted Pistachios
- Quiche with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Chives
- Asparagus, Pancetta and Fingerling Potato Hash
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
Pie or Tart Dough
Yield: One double-crust pie or two tarts
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 2 hours, 10 minutes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup shortening, chilled
1/3 cup cold water
- Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
- Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to processor. Be sure to keep them as cold as possible.
- Pulse the mixture until crumbly and the fat is in small pieces throughout the flour.
- Working quickly, start the processor and add cold water until the mixture just forms a ball.
- Turn out dough onto a work surface and shape into an oval.
- Cut the dough in half and press the cut side down to form two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days before rolling out.
Watch The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young make pie or tart dough in this video.
Blind-Baking a Pie Crust
Baking a pastry shell without its filling is referred to as blind-baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375º.
- Roll one disk of dough out onto a well-floured surface into a 10- to 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer to a pie or tart pan and crimp the edges. Allow to chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Cover it snugly with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place pie weights or dried beans on top of the paper or foil.
- Bake the crust until the edges are light golden brown and the bottom is no longer glossy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the paper or foil with the weights.
- If a filling will be added and baked in the crust, remove from the oven and cool. If the filling will not be baked in the crust, continue to bake the crust for 5 to 10 additional minutes without the weights, until the middle of the crust is light golden brown.
- Cool before adding filling.
Quiche with Sautéed Mushrooms, Leeks and Goat Cheese
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: One 9-inch quiche; 8 slices
Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour, 20 minutes
1 recipe Pie or Tart Dough (recipe above)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and pale green part only, cut into medium dice and washed well
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
2. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface so it's 1/4-inch thick. Place the dough in a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Remove the excess dough, and crimp the edges. Chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
3. Using a fork, poke the dough in several places and cover with parchment paper. Place dried beans or pie weights on top of the parchment, and bake the crust until it is light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
4. While the dough is blind-baking, prepare the filling.
5. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat, and add the butter. Sauté the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until caramelized around the edges.
6. Add the leeks, and continue to cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
7. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream and mushroom-leek mixture.
8. Pour the filling into the cooled pastry shell. Dot the top of the quiche with goat cheese.
9. Bake on a parchment-lined sheet tray until the eggs are set and slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
10. Carefully remove the outer rim of the tart pan, and cut the quiche into wedges.
If you want to perfect your pie and tart skills, including more savory applications of quiche, join us for Pie and Tart Boot Camp on Sunday, May 30 at 10am at Lincoln Square. There's only three spots left! You'll master:
- Perfect Pie Dough
- Blueberry-Lemon Hand Pies with Cream Cheese Dough
- Sweet Corn Quiche with Arugula, Sun-Dried Tomato and Parmesan Salad
- Individual Chocolate Chess Pies with Whipped Cream and Salted Caramel
- Individual Spiced Cherry Galettes
Quiche is this week's TCB cooking challenge for our private Facebook group members. Join, make a quiche and share your creation to inspire other group members.