I had barely finished last week’s strawberry, blueberry, rhubarb pie article, when I got a request for this week’s article. I was helping a friend hang some sheetrock in his house and he asked what I was going to write about. I asked for suggestions and he said he would love a recipe for quiche.
Now, most of us, at least those older than 20, have all heard the saying: “real men don’t eat quiche,” but here was Wink, schlepping full sheets of the sheetrock, pencil up behind his ear, tool belt with hammer tied around his waist looking every bit the total construction guy, asking for a quiche recipe. After teasing him for a while about what a nice skirt he wore while building his house and asking him just how often he had to shave his legs, I told him I’d honor her … I mean his … request. Yes, I might have been a little hard on him, he did fight back most of the tears, but hey, that’s what friends are for, right?
Anyway, I thought about and it is great timing. You already know how to make the crust from last week’s article and no matter what anyone says, quiche is an awesome dish.
I have to break to last week’s dough and make a suggestion after getting asked by a couple people how they can get the dough to roll out easier without cracking so much. I am so used to rolling it into a ball before wrapping it in plastic to refrigerate that it is habit, but if you make that ball into a disk shape before refrigeration, it will be easier to roll when it has been chilled.
You can make this fairly traditional quiche Lorraine with bacon, leeks and cheese, or you can put just about any combination of meat, veggies and cheese in it. You really don’t even need the pie shell, but to me, anything is better in flakey dough. You will need to pre-cook the dough to keep it from becoming too soggy, so you will need some navy or other hard beans to put on top of the crust while it’s cooking to keep the shell’s shape.
One last thing, when using sliced leeks, cut the white section in half lengthwise first, slice and then swish hard in a bowl of water deep enough so the leeks are floating at least 2 inches above the bottom of the bowl to rinse dirt out. Leeks can hold quite a bit of dirt between the leaves and the dirt will sink as the leeks float to make it easy to separate them.
1 lb. flour (about 2¾ C)
3 sticks butter, chilled & cut into small pieces
1 t salt
¾ C ice water
Start with the crust. Blend flour and salt. Use a fork, fingers or paddle, if using a machine, and cut in the chilled butter pieces until the mixture appears like a course crumb mix. Add the ice water a little at a time, switching to the hook, if you are using a mixer. Add just enough ice water so the dough will hold together when pinched. You may not need all the water. Do not overwork the dough.
Roll into a ball or disk shape, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour. After you roll the dough and place it in the pan, stick it all around with a fork and then cover with foil pushing the foil down on the dough covering all the way up the sides. Fill the pie three-quarters full with beans and cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and cook another 3 minutes or so to slightly brown it and then let cool.
10 slices thick cut bacon
4 large eggs
1 C milk
½ C heavy cream
1 C sliced leeks, rinsed & dried
1 C gruyere or Swiss cheese
½ T nutmeg
½ T black pepper
½ t salt
Layout the bacon on a sheet pan with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked. You can cook it in a skillet, but this way is much easier to cook bacon consistent. Drain off the grease into a throw away jar keeping 1 T. Sauté the leeks in the bacon grease until they soften.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle three-quarters of the bacon, three-quarters of the leeks and three-quarters of the cheese on the bottom of the crust. Pour the egg mixture in and sprinkle the remaining bacon, leeks and cheese on it.
Place the quiche on a sheet pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and the custard just barely still shakes in the middle when the pan is wiggled. Let cool at least a half hour before serving. Reheat leftovers slowly at 200 degrees or serve cold.
Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. For more information and archived copies of Stir it Up, visit chefsmitty.com. Smitty welcomes your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 412-3598.