My Kind of Quiche



Baking is a symphony of chemical reactions nothing short of magical. It is both precise and improvisational. There are rules to follow and variations to be made. Every person has their own way of doing things and yet, there is an indisputable set of laws that all must follow. For me, baking is a perfect balance of cooking. I marvel at the simple logic of ratios, the balance of acids and bases, sweet and salty; it’s edible alchemy.

In high school, I made “ghee”, clarified butter, explaining the chemical reactions to my class. My teacher was impressed at how easily I could describe the separation of the particles of butter, yet struggled at similar curriculum in his class. To this day I believe that if my variables had been switched to butter, bacon, and chocolate, I could have been the next Curie.

My house always had something in the oven. I distinctly remember when I was 13 and my mom and I had “The Summer of the Cream Puff” in which we perfected our recipe of pate a choux and used our upstairs neighbors as very willing guinea pigs. I learned after baking so many different dishes what rules could be bent, broken or had to be followed explicitly. With years of experience, I now can confidently take on new recipes while still being able to put my own flair in each dish.

I have maybe two cookbooks in which every instruction is true. Oven temperature variations and ingredient diversity are two of many reasons as to why your dish may or may not look anything like the picture. I always try to be aware of this when I am trying a new recipe. I’m not afraid to make notes in the margins or cross out something altogether.

Recently, I was asked to make a quiche and I was more than happy to take on the task. I sifted through my cookbooks and got lost in a tunnel of youTube videos. I finally settled on a fusion of a Gourmet cooking tip and the recipe from a funky British webshow called “Sorted”. My Gourmet cookbook is my main reference, over 900 pages of recipes and food tips that has yet to let me down. I realized that when the quiche only called for cheese, the ratio of egg yolks to white changed. Eight yolks for every six whites. But when meat was added, the ratio became equal.

In my opinion, ham is the key ingredient to quiche. The rest of the stuff is there to keep the meat in place. That being said, once I knew how to make the meat work, it was easy for me to figure out the other flavors.
I settled on prosciutto for several reasons. Bacon and spiral ham, though delicious, can get chewy once cooked again in the quiche, I find them greasy and more prone to split apart the filling. Prosciutto is thinly sliced and packed with flavor. A little goes a long way and it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

Leeks provide a softer flavor very similar to an onion, but without the added, almost sugary sweetness. Blended with white and black pepper, the leek becomes much more complex. I also enjoy chives for similar reasons, but the flavor is definitely more intense because I do not cook chives before adding them to quiche.

I am very sensitive to food texture and try to avoid quiches that are too firm. Cheese deepens the hold of the quiche and the better the variety, the silkier the filling. The added milk fats from the cheese also keeps everything from drying out while baking. I chose two types of cheddar and goat cheese. This gave me both the salty flavor and sharpness of cheddar paired with the smooth texture and mellow flavor of the goat cheese. While shopping I found a raw goats milk cheddar flavored with garlic and chives, it was kismet.

Feeling satisfied with my filling, I didn’t want to leave my crust wanting. I am always afraid to vary a crust because to this day I still think it’s a miracle when it bakes evenly. I had seen several suggestions of a poppyseed crust and thought it could add a very appealing texture to the quiche. I used a recipe from a website, but the video and recipe had conflicting instructions. Luckily I have the tools to make any shaky recipe bake.
The most important rule I’ve found with crusts is ingredient temperature. The butter has to be very cold, but not so much so that the effort of making it blend melts it. Just as crucial is the ice water. The cold water helps to suspend the gluten from acting too soon and gives you the ability to blend the wet with the dry. I have lost many a pie simply because I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the dough to rest.

My Kind of Quiche

For the Crust
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted (about 125g)
1 cup pastry flour, sifted (about 125g)
2 tbsp poppyseeds
1 stick butter- unsalted and very cold cut into tbsp pieces
1 pinch kosher salt
4-6 tbsp ice water

Dough for crust

For the Filling
6 eggs
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/2 cup goats milk cheddar with garlic and chives.
6-8 slices prosciutto
1 leek
4 oz goat cheese
Fresh ground white and black pepper to taste

-5

Baking Supplies:
*Mixing bowls – You can use a food processor for the crust but I find that it can become hot enough to make the butter too soft.
*Measuring spoons and cups
*Plastic wrap or parchment paper
*Butter or oil to coat wrapping material
*Rolling pin
*Tart pan- This pan has a removable bottom making it much easier to serve
*Baking beans, rice or ceramic bead
*Whisk
*Scale- This isn’t required, but the weight of the flour is more accurate than a cup measure. If you don’t have a scale, simply fluff the flour with a fork to help make a more even and true scoop.

Crust:
1) Preheat oven to 375F
2) Blend dry ingredients together, then add cold butter one pat at a time. Mix together until consistency of breadcrumbs
3) Add ice water one tbsp at a time, mixing constantly with your hands
4) Once dough is just formed, wrap in plastic or parchment and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
5) Once rested, roll out onto flour dusted surface until dough is just a little thicker than a nickel.
6) Gently roll the dough back onto the rolling pin, place pie pan under pin and gently roll back out over the pan
7) Use your fingers to press the dough into the form of the pan, then fill with parchment paper and baking beans or rice. Push the paper and filler all the way to the sides to keep the crust level while baking.
8) Place pie crust in fridge to rest for another 10 minutes. This once again gives the gluten a chance to rest and stiffens any butter that softened while rolling out the dough
9) Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, remove parchment and filler, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
10) Remove from oven and drop temperature down to 325F
11) Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving

-2

-6

Filling:
1) Chop leeks finely and sauté in ghee until soft. Add desired amount of peppers. Set aside
2) Prep prosciutto by chipping finely. Spread out onto parchment to avoid large clumps of meat that will cook unevenly.
3) Grate cheese; if you have any herbs or spices you would like to add, I recommend blending it now with the cheese.
4) Place all of the above into the base of the pie crust adding the grated cheese last.
5) Gently beat the eggs until yolks and whites are just blended. Slowly pour the cream while stirring. Do not whip; this can add too much air too early in baking and cause the quiche to fall and harden at the top.
6) Gently pour or ladle the mixture into the pie crust. Crumble the goat cheese onto the top of the quiche.
7) Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

GOOD SIGNS:
– Small bubbles will appear after 5-10 minutes.
– The batter will tighten at about 20 minutes along the edges
– The quiche will rise, starting at the edges, after about 30 minutes. It will continue to rise to the center, but not as high.
– 5-10 minutes before you remove the quiche, it will start to slowly turn golden brown.

-7

If the aforementioned is not occurring, those are not so good signs but I think saying “bad” causes unnecessary panic. Unfortunately at this point all you can control is the temperature. Be sure that you give you oven time to go from 375F to 325F before putting the filled pie back in. If it still seems to be cooking too fast, drop the temperature more but try not to open the door. About 20% of the total heat is lost every time the door opens and it takes at least 1-2 minutes to regain the heat. In baking, that is crucial time. Convection ovens are best and fastest to recover lost heat, but conventional ovens work just as well as long as you keep the door closed. I love the window to my oven. I have been known to pull up a chair and enjoy the show.

8) Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
9) Place the tart pan on top of a small bowl so that the rim of the pan can easily be slipped out from underneath.

-8

-9

I’m happy to say that I bought all but one ingredient from Rebeccas. Here is a list of brand names I thought were key to the recipe:

Trickling Springs Heavy Whipping Cream
Organic Valley Sweet Cream Butter
Applegate Prosciutto
Shiloh Farms Organic Goat Cheese
Trickling Springs Raw Goat’s Milk Cheddar with Garlic and Chive
Mainland Premium New Zealand Organic Cheddar

Denice Miller
Grocery Floor Supervisor




denice