QUICHE: The Next Big Thing… Again?
Sometimes it is called an Egg Tart, or a Galette by the fancier folk, but anytime an eggy, creamy custard filling is poured into a pastry crust and baked will always be quiche to me. Quiche was big in the ‘70s. My mother served it to her girlfriends at her monthly ladies brunches, quiche was on the lunch menu at some of your more chichi restaurants, and it evidently was the dish that defined who real men were.
Though I have always loved quiche, galettes and tartlettes (or whatever they’re calling them these days) and never felt they fell out of fashion, it did take a bad rap for a while when all the “farm to table” excitement started stirring.
Well quiche is back and bigger (and better) than ever. It is once again making its way onto the menus at our local restaurants, and it has shown up on the cover of some of our top food magazines looking all updated and dapper.
And, boy, am I happy about it.
When I opened the bakery, one of our wholesale accounts requested “Little savory hand pies” for one of their lunch items and I was delighted to oblige. We have them in the case at Bake Sale where they sell well in the morning for a quick breakfast on the run and they are equally popular at lunch where we pair them with a little green salad.
I was recently asked for the recipe by David Nelson from San Diego Home & Garden magazine so he could print it for a New Year’s brunch piece he was writing. I scaled down the recipe for home use to share it with you here:
This little savory hand pie is favorite down at Bake Sale Bakery as we have many who stop in to have one for breakfast each morning on their way to work. I like to serve this in the evening alongside a salad for a nice light supper and it works beautifully on a buffet table for entertaining.
This would be a great New Year’s Eve dish as it pairs well with champagne and it would be equally delicious on the New Year’s Day breakfast table along with some fruit.
Here is the recipe for our Easy As “Pie Dough.” This is enough dough to make 5-6 small cupcake pan-sized hand pies.
Black Forest Ham, Leek and Gruyere Mini Quiche
*cut butter and shortening into small cubes and put in freezer
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor
2. Sprinkle butter and shortening over the dry ingredients and toss to coat
Pulse until the fat is pea sized, but not smaller.
3. Dump the dry/fat mixture into a bowl and add water a few TBSPs at a time. Use a fork to toss the mixture and evenly distribute the liquid. Continue to add water until the dough, while still shaggy but holds together when pressed against the side of the bowl.
4. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly. Let disk cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours but up to two days.
5. When ready, roll the dough out to fit the size of your pie tin, making sure it is large enough to come up an inch to an inch and a half on the sides. WORK QUICKLY IN A COOL ROOM SO THE DOUGH DOES NOT BECOME WARM.
6. Line with foil. Fill the tin with dried beans or pie weights and blind bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown.* Remove the foil and weights and bake a few minutes longer to assure the bottom bakes. Be sure and blind bake the little shells long enough to get them baked through but not browned before adding the fillings and custard.
2 TBS Butter
2 Leeks White and Green Part (only tender part) chopped.
2 Cups Heavy Cream
2/3 tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp Nutmeg
1 Cup Grated Gruyere Cheese (or Swiss if preferred)
1 Cup Diced Black Forest Ham
4 Large Eggs
Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and cook leeks until they soften. Remove from the heat and let cool.
TO MAKE THE CUSTARD
Whisk the cream and milk, eggs, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
Divide the leeks and ham evenly in each in mini quiche and top with cheese. Pour the custard over the top of each filling at least a quarter of an inch lower than your crust.
Place in a 400-degree oven and bake for approx. 25-30 minutes until center is set. You can test this by wiggling the quiche, or doing the toothpick test you do for cakes.
Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving. These are delicious at room temperature and even chilled.