This past week, we checked out (from the public library) Pies and Tarts, by Kristina Petersen Migoya, and it inspired us to make either a savory tart or a quiche for dinner. It has some wonderful-sounding dishes, along with photographs that will make you want to whip up some of these recipes right away. Now, we can’t figure out the difference between a tart and a quiche, as often the custard part is made in exactly the same way. If you know, you can let us know; then we’ll both know.
Now, we didn’t really follow any particular recipe for making this quiche; instead, as with many quiches, the recipe built itself from what we had on hand, so feel free to substitute here, there, and even the other place. It’ll still be good.
Try the Pâte Brisée recipe we recommend. It’s easy, foolproof, and the best we’ve ever used. Think about this dish for a minute. This is about eggs, right? Use the best eggs you can. Period. And don’t skimp on the heavy cream and go with half-and-half. The quiche won’t have the same texture. The other ingredients? Feel free to mix them up, but keep in mind that leafy greens are on the dirty dozen list, so you might want to consider getting organic.
Procedure in detail:
Roll out crust. Place the Pâte Brisée dough between two pieces of parchment and roll out to form a circle about 10 inches in diameter. If the edges get ragged, trim and patch as needed. This dough patches well and you won’t even be able to tell later. If the crusts starts to get soft during rolling, pop it back in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes, then go at it again. Once you have the right size, sprinkle with poppy seeds, and roll over lightly to press them in. Finally, fit the crust to your 8-inch cake pan, poppy-seeds side up, prick the bottom with a fork, and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Blind bake. Line the crust with baking parchment, pressing it down into the cake pan, then pour in about a cup of rice to hold down the parchment. If you have pie weights, you can use those instead of rice, or even beans. We used rice, because we can use it for another dish the next day. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove rice. The crust will have set during those 20 minutes of baking, so take it out, remove the rice and parchment, and slide it back into the oven until it’s golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove, let cool, and set aside.
Lower oven to 325°F.
Toast nuts. Toasting nuts brings out their flavor. If possible, always toast; it’s simple. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet, place in the hot oven for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they begin to darken and smell delicious. Remove, let cool, chop coarsely, and set aside.
Cook filling. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add mushrooms, spinach, reserved broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining butter, and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is cooked through, and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes. You want less than 1/4 cup of liquid remaining or you’ll have a soggy crust later.
Make custard. In a small bowl (we use a 2-cup measuring cup so it’s easy to pour), whisk together cream, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Whisk until everything is thoroughly blended, as you don’t want pockets of egg whites.
Fill crust. To fill your quiche, layer the chopped nuts on the bottom, which will help to keep the crust from getting soggy, then spread on the grated cheese, and finish up with the mushroom and spinach mixture. Finally, pour the egg custard mix over the top, filling the quiche to the top.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the egg is set in the middle and the top is lightly browned.
Serve. Slice into wedges and plate.
We really liked adding almonds to the quiche, as they provide a crunchy contrast to the smooth custard filling. Adding the poppy seeds, however, turned out to be not very noticeable; you could leave them out without a loss. The spinach and mushroom combination, however, is almost perfect. Now, you might think that adding a small amount of porcini mushrooms wouldn’t make a big difference, but it does. Dried porcinis are very flavorful, and a small amount goes a long way. We had this as our main dish for dinner, then we reheated it (325°F oven for 30 minutes) the next day for lunch, and just loved it both times. Fives!