My Mom makes lovely quiche; I always looked forward to the nights when dinner was a choice between two or even three kinds of quiche (we were a family of six), often with baked kielbasa as a side dish. The best possible breakfast for dinner. I still love quiche, but don’t make it often because of my ridiculous hang-up with pie crust. I am stubborn enough to insist on making homemade, but reluctant to deal with the (perceived) difficulties of making crust from scratch. This is one case where I think having a mother, aunt and two grandmothers who make/made delicious pies has made me a shy cook rather than giving me confidence: I know that my crust doesn’t turn out like theirs, so I just don’t make it. Now, before this becomes a pity party for one, let me say that I am also spoiled to have a husband who makes the best pies ever, so my thought process is just as often “why bother, when R does it so well?”
But honestly, it’s time for this to change.
It really is a mental block. I have all the kitchen tools I need, several tried-and-true recipes for both crust and filling, and the benefit of more than a few hands-on tutorials with the pie-makers in my life. I just need to stop thinking so much and do.
Why is she talking about this pie crust issue today, you may wonder– it’s months until Thanksgiving, the summer berries aren’t even that close. (Yes they are, yes they are!) Well, here’s why: yesterday, on the Facebook version of cook.can.read, I mentioned that I wanted to incorporate spinach and avocado into my dinner plans but wasn’t sure how, and did anyone have any suggestions? The response was immediate, inspiring and so much fun to read. I took notes and had more than one “a-ha” moments. It was exactly the reason I have a blog, the feedback and idea-sharing that I love. One of the ideas was for quiche, and when I was making my meal plan for the week on Sunday (which is more like a list of ingredients I have on hand and ways to use them, not necessarily specific dishes), one thing I thought of making was a tart with my caramelized onions. Another idea was shaksuka, or eggs in purgatory, something with baked eggs. Well, why not put the all these ideas together and make a nice quiche with onions and spinach? I was sold. But… there was the question of crust.
At first, I got out Joy the Baker’s no-roll crust recipe, which I learned about just a few weeks ago (and can’t wait to try), but I started feeling strangely guilty/ashamed of my Defeatist Pie Crust Attitude. I just needed to work through it already. So, I broke out my favorite Alice Waters pie/tart crust recipe, with approximately a 1:1 flour to butter ratio (seriously), and my gorgeous bread board, and Nana’s rolling pin, and I got to work.
The pie crust was not without flaws, and I still swore a little, but it was more than passable, and it worked just fine for my quiche. Which was good. Very simple, very tasty and one I will make again. Is it just me, or do Spring and quiche go hand-in-hand? It felt like the perfect dinner for late March, with fresh spinach and awesome local eggs. Delicious. The whole experience, from virtual brainstorming with my friends to crust-therapy to finished product, made me smile. I have the *best* readers. Thanks, all! (Wish I could give you all a bite…)
- 1 9″ pie crust, which is 1/2 recipe of Alice Waters crust (or equivalent)
- 1/2 bunch of spinach*
- 1 tsp. grapeseed or canola oil
- 2/3 c. caramelized onions
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 c. cream
- 1/2 c. milk
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 c. shredded Gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your pie crust and have it ready to go. In a skillet on medium heat, add oil (I didn’t actually measure here, just splashed the tiniest amount and swirled it to just cover the pan) and then the spinach; cover and allow to wilt for 3-5 mins., stirring once or twice to ensure even cooking. Remove the spinach to a cutting board and allow it to cool for at least 5 mins. While it cools, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk and pepper and set aside. Now, back to the spinach: using a spoon (or, more effectively, your clean hands), squeeze the excess moisture from the spinach and then roughly chop it.
To build the quiche, spread the onions in the bottom of your pie crust and layer in the spinach; pour the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with the Gruyere. Use a spoon to gently press the cheese down so some of it is submerged in the eggs. Bake for 40 mins., until the cheese is golden brown and a gentle shake of the pan shows that the middle of your quiche is solid, not jiggly. Serve warm, though it is equally good chilled.
*I know this is super-vague, but I don’t measure spinach, I grab handfuls. I used two handfuls, maybe 3 cups? raw and about 1 cup? cooked. You are welcome to use more if you are a spinach fan.