Herculean Strength

quiche

The Versatile Quiche to Fuel Your Muscles After Training

A quiche is one of my favorite ways to use up a collection of vegetables, and is wonderfully adaptable to any tastes (or whatever is lying in the refrigerator.) Quiches also keep very well for days, making them a fantastic make-ahead meal for breakfasts or lunches for those who work outside the home.

The principle of the quiche is simple — a crust, a custard made of eggs, and fillings. With a beautiful simplicity comes a few subtle points to ensure a flaky crust and evenly distributed filling.

Crusts

There are two types of quiche crusts I’ll give here: a foolproof pie crust that uses vodka, and a sour cream one for a deep-dish quiche.

Foolproof Single Crust Pie Dough

This crust is for use in a typical glass pie pan.

Ingredients

  • 1.25 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (This is necessary. The crust’s texture and taste are diminished without it.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces and chilled
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable shortening, cut into two pieces. I use Spectrum Culinary organic shortening, made from expeller-pressed palm oil. See note.
  • 2 tbsp. vodka, chilled
  • 2 tbsp ice water

Equipment

  • food processor (not optional). I recommend at least a 6 c. processor.

Instructions

  1. Process 3/4 c. flour, sugar, and salt until combined (about 5 seconds).
  2. Scatter butter and shortening over the top and process until the mixture is incorporated and no flour bits remain.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and redistribute the dough evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 c. flour over the top and pulse until the mixture has broken up into pieces and is evenly distributed in the processor bowl.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and sprinkle vodka and ice water over the mixture.
  5. Stir and press dough together with a stiff rubber spatula until the dough sticks together. If the dough is extremely sticky/shaggy, which can happen if your kitchen is humid, add 1/8 – 1/4c. additional flour.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a 4″ disk, then wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Do not skip this step prior to using the crust for the quiche. When ready to use, set the dough on the counter for about ten minutes.

Notes

  • I expect my call for the palm oil based shortening to cause some consternation. Expeller-pressed palm oil is not heavily processed the way many other vegetable oils are. You can also substitute cold-pressed palm oil or other vegetable shortening made this way if you like. The reason I submit this crust recipe is because it is fool-proof. All-butter pie crusts are notoriously difficult to work with, and can be easily overworked. The results will not be as consistent in the hands of a less-experienced cook. Do not substitute butter for the shortening in this recipe. You may look for a separate all-butter crust recipe if you like.
  • The vodka is also essential. It has a lower water content than, well, water, which inhibits excessive gluten formation and yields a more tender crust. You don’t have to use an expensive vodka, but I don’t recommend the really cheap stuff either. The alcohol will cook off and impart no flavor.
  • This crust freezes well for up to a month, so feel free to make several ahead and freeze them. Just set the crusts out on the counter about 2 hours before use (or more if it’s cold out).

Deep-dish Quiche Crust

This crust is for use in a cake pan with vertical walls.

Ingredients

  • 1.75 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces and chilled
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 4-6 tbsp ice water

Equipment

  • food processor (not optional). I recommend at least a 6 c. processor.

Instructions

  1. Process flour and salt until combined (about 5 seconds).
  2. Scatter butter over the top and pulse until the butter is the size of peas.
  3. Combine sour cream and 1/4 c. ice water in small bowl. Add half the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and pulse 3 times. Repeat with the remaining sour cream mixture.
  4. Pinch the dough with your fingers. If the dough is dry and won’t hold together, add 1-2 more tbsp ice water and pulse until the dough forms large clumps.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a 6″ disk, then wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Do not skip this step prior to using the crust for the quiche. When ready to use, set the dough on the counter for about 15 minutes.

Notes

  • This crust is not meant for use in a pie pan, and will require pie weights for its use. See the deep-dish quiche recipe for details.

Easy Quiche

Here I’ll give a simple bacon, onion, and Swiss chard quiche.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 eggs (it depends on how much filling you want)
  • 6-8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced. I like sweet yellow onions here.
  • 1.5 c. Swiss chard, stems chopped and leaves shredded
  • 1 recipe fool-proof pie crust
  • 1/2 c. whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 c. shredded Asiago cheese (optional)

Equipment

  • glass pie plate, 8-9″ (If using 8″ plate, use only 10 eggs)
  • rimless baking sheet (to set the pie pan on in case of leaks)
  • rolling pin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and set the rimless baking sheet on the middle rack
  2. Prepare the fool-proof pie crust recipe at least 1 hour in advance of its use.
  3. Cook the bacon and then set aside. Pour off all but 1 tbsp grease and save for another use.
  4. In the remaining bacon grease, add onion and cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the chopped Swiss chard stems and cook another 3 minutes.
  5. Beat eggs, cream, and salt to taste in a large bowl.
  6. Flour a clean counter generously, then roll the pie crust to a diameter 1″ larger than that of the pie plate you are using. To prevent sticking, dust the rolling pin and the top of the crust with flour.
  7. When rolled out to the desired diameter, carefully wrap the crust around the rolling pin (like rolling up toilet paper) and move to the edge of the pie plate. Allow the crust to unroll over the pie plate and let it sink into form around the pie plate.
  8. Roll excess into a nice crust around the edges, and press lightly to ensure a seal.
  9. Toss the bacon and onion mixture in 1/2 tbsp cornstarch each to prevent sinking.
  10. Scatter bacon, onion mixture, and shredded Swiss chard leaves in the crust.
  11. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the filling. If it doesn’t come all the way up to the top of the pan, that’s ok. The quiche will rise some when baking.
  12. Sprinkle cheese over top, if using
  13. Bake 1-1.5 hours, until set. If you open the oven door and give the quiche a little shake, the middle shouldn’t jiggle at all.
  14. Let rest about 10 minutes, then slice and serve with a salad if desired.

Notes

  • You can vary the vegetables and meat used. Always cook the meat prior to adding. Sausage crumbles work well as another meat option. Other good vegetables to add are leek, broccoli (chop finely and cook lightly before adding), broccoli raabe, spinach, kale (shred finely), root vegetables (turnip, rutabaga, parsnip), and kohlrabi.
  • Cheeses can vary too. Blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbles work well with leeks. Gruyere makes a beautiful melty topping. Cheddar and broccoli pair well.
  • Feel free to vary the salt used too. Truffle salt is my favorite variation.

Deep-dish Quiche Lorraine

This one is a bit more difficult, and requires enough pie weights to fill the bottom of a 9″ cake pan. It also requires several stages of refrigerating and freezing the crust, then baking it separately with pie weights prior to filling and baking.

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs plus one yolk
  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 onions, diced. I like sweet yellow onions here.
  • 1.5 c. whole milk
  • 1 recipe deep dish quiche crust
  • 1.5 c. heavy cream
  • 1.5 c. shredded Gruyere cheese (optional)
  • 0.5 tsp. salt
  • 0.5 tsp. pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp. cornstarch

Equipment

  • 9″ round cake pan
  • rimless baking sheet (to set the pie pan on in case of leaks)
  • rolling pin
  • pie weights to fill the bottom of the pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and set the rimless baking sheet on the middle rack
  2. Prepare the deep dish pie crust recipe at least 1 hour in advance of its use.
  3. Cut 2 16″ lengths of aluminum foil. Arrange the foil pieces perpendicular to each other in the cake pan, pushing them into the edges and up the sides. Press overhang outside of the pan. Spray the foil lightly with a cooking spray.
  4. Flour a clean counter generously, then roll the pie crust to a circle of diameter 15″. To prevent sticking, dust the rolling pin and the top of the crust with flour.
  5. When rolled out to the desired diameter, carefully wrap the crust around the rolling pin (like rolling up toilet paper) and move to the edge of the pie plate. Unroll into the cake pan, and ease the dough into the pan by lifting the dough gently with one hand and pressing into the pan bottom with the other.
  6. Trim any dough that extends more than 1″ over the pan. Patch any holes with dough scraps.
  7. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan 30 minutes, then freeze 20 minutes.
  8. Line the dough with foil or parchment paper and completely fill with pie weights.
  9. Bake about 30-40 minutes, then carefully remove pie weights and foil/parchment covering dough.
  10. Return to oven and bake 15 more minutes.
  11. Reduce oven temperature to 350F while preparing filling.
  12. Cook bacon. Pour off all but 1 tbsp grease and save for another use.
  13. In the remaining bacon grease, add onion and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until softened.
  14. Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tbsp milk in a large bowl. Whisk in remaining milk, eggs, yolk, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne until smooth.
  15. Scatter onions, bacon, and cheese (if using) evenly over the crust. Gently pour the custard mixture over the filling.
  16. Bake until center registers 170F, about 1.25-1.5 hours. Transfer to wire rack and let cool about 1 hour.
  17. When serving, use a sharp knife to remove any crust that extends beyond the edge of the pan. Lift the foil overhang from the side of the pan and remove quiche. Gently slide a thin-bladed spatula between quiche and foil to loosen, then slide quiche onto a serving platter.

Notes

  • This one is quite a bit more difficult and requires more prep time, but the results are sublime. I’d recommend the Easy Quiche if pressed for time or prepping for meals in advance.

References

  • America’s Test Kitchen. Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book(2013). ISBN: 978-1-936493-58-6

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