My Almost Mile High Quiche

April 14th, 2011

Well, I did it.  It took a while and there are things I will do differently the next time, but I learned a lot and the mile high quiche was deemed a success.  The custard was creamy.  The asparagus, Swiss cheese and bacon worked well together and the buttery pastry crust was one of the best I have ever made.  Let’s start by discussing the crust.

The original recipe for this quiche came from Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Bouchon fame.  He dubbed it an “over the top” quiche.  The buttery pastry crust is made in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  The two sticks of cubed butter are added in increments to the slowly running mixer into half of the flour until they are incorporated.  Then the second cup of flour is added and mixed on low until it is all combined.  Ice water is added and the dough is formed.  That is the easiest pastry I have ever made.  After resting in the refrigerator, it is rolled out to fit the spring form pan.  It rolled out like a dream and was easy to handle as I fitted it into the pan.

I did not follow Keller’s recipe exactly.  There was some discussion about leaving the bottom out of the springform pan and using the sheet pan surface for the bottom.  That made no sense to me.  I have found since that Deb of Smitten Kitchen attempted this with less than stellar results.  Just use the springform pan as intended and you will be fine.

Next add a circle of parchment paper and fill with dried beans.  I have a big bag of dried beans that I use over and over again to blind bake pie crusts.  It is baked for a long time.  I thought it would be too long but it worked out fine.  You are now finished with this step, which can be done way ahead of time.

Now for the filling:  The original recipe which you can view here, called for lots of mushrooms.  I chose to use asparagus, bacon and Swiss cheese.  The reason I am calling my quiche an almost mile high quiche is because the volume of the filling turned out to be less without all of those mushrooms. When done, the filling did not quite come to the top of the fluted crust.

But to me it was a thing of beauty.  Next time I will separate three of the eggs and whip the egg whites to fold into the filling to give it more volume.  I think that will do the trick.

Good eats!


Buttery Pastry Shell:
2 cups unbleached flour, sifted.  Plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup ice water
canola oil for brushing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix 1 cup of the flour with the salt.  At low speed, add the butter pieces a handful at a time.  When all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat until all of the butter is incorporated.  Reduce the speed to low and add the last 1 cup of flour just until blended.  Mix in the water just until throughly incorporated.  Flatten the pastry on a floured board into an 8 inch disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled at least 1 hour or overnight.

Place the unwrapped pastry on a floured board and roll in out to a 14″ to 16″ round, dusting with flour as needed.  Carefully fit it into an oiled 9″ springform pan.  Pat it into the pan and trim the excess pastry from the top, leaving enough pastry to flute the top.  Flute and gently press the top against the edge.  Chill the pastry shell for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line the pastry shell with a 14″ round of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or rice.  Place the springform pan on a sheet pan and bake the pastry shell for about 40 minutes or until the fluted edges are lightly browned.  Carefully remove the parchment paper with the dried beans.  I used a scoop to remove most of the beans before lifting the parchment paper out.  Return the shell to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool.  The baked pastry shell can be covered with plastic and left at room temperature overnight if needed.

Quiche Filling:
8 slices of bacon, cubed and fried until crisp and then drained
1 pound of asparagus, trimmed and sliced and blanched in boiling water until crisp tender.  Transfer to ice water to retain color.  Dry thoroughly before adding to quiche
3/4 cup Swiss cheese
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups of milk
6 eggs
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Scatter 1/4 cup of the Swiss cheese and 1/2 of the bacon and asparagus over the bottom of the pastry shell.  In a blender or the bowl of a stand mixer blend together 1 cup of the cream, 1 cup of the milk and three of the eggs with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and a pinch of nutmeg until frothy, about 1 minute.  Pour over the asparagus mixture.  Add 1/4 cup of the Swiss cheese and the remaining bacon and asparagus.  Blend the remaining cream, milk and eggs until frothy and pour over the top.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese to the top.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and bake the quiche for about 1 1/2 hours or until the top is nicely browned and the custard is barely set in the center.  Let cool in the pan until very warm.  Remove springform ring, slice and serve.

Printable recipe

A Mile High Quiche and Lunch with a Friend

April 5th, 2011

Monday was a beautiful Spring day with temperatures in the low 80’s; a perfect day to spend with a friend shopping and having a leisurely lunch at a new restaurant.  The friend is also my blogging buddy, the other Penny of The Comforts of Home.  We had not seen each other since I went to Florida last Winter so we had a lot of catching up to do.  The perfect place to do that was a new restaurant in Asheville called Books & Breadboard; a novel idea. 

The ambience is warm and friendly with tables scattered amongst the bookshelves.  The menu is thoughtfully organic and the owners and chef support local farmers.  But what attracted me was the mile high quiche.  I had stopped in the week before to peruse the books and heard comments about the quiche; words like custardy and light.  Besides who wouldn’t want something called “mile high” anything.  It is a thing of beauty.

All of the food is served on breadboards.  The quiche I ordered was the bacon, asparagus and Swiss cheese version.  It was indeed light with just the right custard crumble to it.  I did ask if the chef would part with the recipe, but as I expected, that was not going to happen.  I blogged about a similar quiche here.  It is made in a 9″ springform pan and uses more eggs and cream than quiches made in a pie tin or tart pan.  Checking the internet, I found another recipe from Thomas Keller here.  It was on a blog called AMZing Eats.  That is the recipe I am going to try, substituting the mushrooms with bacon, asparagus and Swiss.  I will let you know the results.

Penny ordered the soup of the day which was a white bean, tomato and basil with a half sandwich of turkey with cranberry mayonnaise.  You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.  It was a wonderful lunch and the shopping wasn’t bad either.  Blogging friends are special. 

Savory Rainbow Chard Tart

August 9th, 2010

Sunday afternoons will usually find me in the kitchen trying new recipes and taking my time with my cooking.  This puts me in mind of the Slow Food Movement.  Part of their philosophy is to take your time and savor your food, know where it comes from, and keep it as authentic as possible.

This Sunday I made this beautiful Swiss chard tart from a recipe from Laura Calder, the host of French Food at Home on the new Cooking Channel. I love her show. I love her quiet and serene approach to everything she cooks. The episode in which she made the tart had to do with Grandmothers’ recipes; those tried and true recipes that are handed down through the generations on yellowed and dog-eared pages in old notebooks.

The tart was made in a springform pan instead of a pie pan so it had a very rustic appearance with high crusty sides and a deep filling.  It appealed to me on so many levels.  I loved the vibrant color of the rainbow chard stems and leaves, the custardy filling and the sprinkling of dried cranberries and almonds.

The one thing Laura Calder did not give on the program was a recipe for a pie crust, so I had to come up with that on my own.  I made an all butter pastry and increased the preportions by one half to fill the springform pan.  It would have been easier to mix the pastry in the food processor but I don’t always like the results.  I think the blade action heats the butter too much and the whole point to making good pastry is to keep the butter cold.  So I slowly worked my butter into my flour by cutting it in with a knife.  This was a satisfying task for a lazy Sunday afternoon.  According to the Slow Food Manifesto,  “A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life”.  I choose to slow down and enjoy what I am doing, especially when the end results are so satisfying.


For the Pastry:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup ice water  (a little more if needed)

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into small cubes.  Add to the flour mixture and with a pastry blender or knife, cut the butter into the flour until it is in small crumbs.  Add the ice water and stir in with a fork until pastry comes together.  If dry, add a little more water.  Bring pastry together with your hands and form into a flattened disc.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Flour a work surface, and remove pastry from the plastic and roll it out into a 14″ circle.  Put pastry into a 9″ springform pan.  Return to refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour to firm up butter.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line pastry with parchment paper and fill the springform pan with dried beans.  Put springform pan on a sheet pan and blind bake the pastry for approximately 15 minutes. The butter in the pastry will leak from the springform pan a little so it is a good idea to have it on a sheet pan so as not to drip in your oven.  Carefully remove beans and parchment paper and continue to bake pastry shell for 10 more minutes or until lightly browned.  Set aside while you make the filling.

1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 slices thick bacon, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds Swiss Chard, preferably Rainbow Chard
3 eggs
1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream and sour cream combined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
Handful of dried cranberries
Handful of toasted almonds or pine nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a saute pan and fry the shallots until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Remove to a plate.  In the same pan, fry the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp.  Remove to the plate with the shallots.  Divide the chard leaves from the ribs; chop the ribs quite small and shred the leaves.  First, fry the ribs in the bacon fat until tender. (Cook’s Note:  You may want to cover the pan for a few minutes to speed up the process.)  Add the chard leaves to the pan, cover and wilt, about 3 minutes.

Beat the eggs together with the creme fraiche, and season with salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the shallots, bacon, chard stems and leaves, cheese, cranberries, and nuts, to combine evenly.  Fill the tart shell with the vegetable mixture with a slotted spoon so that any liquid will be left behind.  Pour over the cream mixture.  Bake tart on a sheet pan until the tart has set, about 30 minutes.

I am linking this post to the Two for Tuesdays blog hop.  You will find many blogs there with recipes and thoughts on cooking with authentic ingredients.

A Classic Quiche Lorraine and the Demise of Gourmet

October 5th, 2009

Rainy days and Mondays rarely get me down. I love cool gentle rain and staying inside with the lamps lit and nothing much to do on a lazy Monday. Afterall, I have the rest of the week to do important things like organize and prepare for a “Meet and Greet” that we are hosting for some local politicians running for office, clean my house for said meeting, and gather some pumpkins and mums for the yard.
We went out to eat last night for my Birthday – it is humbling to know that I now qualify for Medicare. Where oh, where have the years gone? But back to the point of this post. After splurging last night and enjoying a quiet day today, I felt like making a humble dish for supper and to me that means quiche. I have cooked many quiches in the past, some complicated and some unusual, but I decided to go back to a classic and the best classic that I know of is Julia Child’s quiche Lorraine. Some quiche Lorraines add sauteed leeks or Swiss cheese, but Julia’s contains only heavy cream, eggs, and bacon flavored with salt, pepper and nutmeg. An optional step is to blanch the bacon in simmering water to remove its smoky, salty taste. I happen to like the smoky taste of the bacon so I have never done this. It is up to you.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 8 inch partially cooked pastry shell placed on a baking sheet
3 to 4 ounces lean bacon (6 to 8 slices, medium thickness)
3 eggs or 2 eggs and 2 yolks
1 1/2 to 2 cups whipping cream or half cream and half milk
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 to 2 Tbls butter cut into pea-sized dots (I skipped this)
Cut bacon into pieces about an inch long and 1/4 inch wide. Simmer for 5 minutes in water. Rinse in cold water. Dry on paper towels. Brown lightly in a skillet. Press bacon pieces into bottom of pastry shell.
Beat the eggs, cream or cream and milk, and seasonings in a mixing bowl until blended. Check seasonings. Pour into pastry shell and distribute the butter pieces on top.
Set in upper third of preheated oven and bake fro 25 to 30 minutes, or until quiche has puffed and browned. Slide quiche onto a hot platter and serve.

On another subject that does get me down, I have just heard that Conde Nast has decided to stop publishing Gourmet magazine. In our tight economy, sales are down and for some reason it makes sense to them that this magazine is expendable. Gourmet has been published since the 1940’s. It is an institution in the food world and for some of us a tradition that is as important as Mom and apple pie. This rash action on their part is unbelieveable. Sometimes there are more important things in life than the bottom line. The economy will turn around someday and then where will we be? Left with populist magazines like Paula Deen’s and Rachel Ray’s I’m afraid. I have nothing against either of them, but there is a place in the publishing world for well written food articles and insightful prose.

Wild Mushroom Mini Quiches

March 14th, 2009

I am always on a quest for new ideas for pastry crust. Pies, both savory and sweet are a permanent part of my memory bank and producing a perfectly flaky crust is to me the equivalent of nirvana. I am also drawn to all things French and when I found this cookbook at a bargain price, I knew that I would be sampling many of the recipes within.

I have posted one recipe from this book already. It was Salame di Cioccolata. Many of the recipes are sweet confections, but there is also a section on quiches. I was intrigued by the savory shortcrust pastry which has a ratio of butter to flour of 1/2 and also includes an egg. Also the pastry was done completely in a food processor. The quiche filling is similar to ones I have used before and I loved the idea of using mushrooms to enhance the flavor. The pastry was easy to handle and considering that I had to use it to line six small quiche pans, it was forgiving of the cutting, lifting, and patting into place. The finished quiches lifted easily from the pans and held their shape when placed on the serving plate. They were good, very good. The filling was savory and with the mushrooms, very earthy. I am still searching for the perfect crust though . . . the flakiness was not quite there.

I served the quiches over a simply dressed green salad. I love individual quiches and there are so many ways you can use them. They would make a perfect first course with dressed baby greens, for brunch with fruit and sweet rolls, for lunch on the run, or packed in a picnic basket with a chilled bottle of pinot grigio and chocolate truffles. Enough already. . . I am making myself hungry.

WILD MUSHROOM QUICHE – From Artisan Patisserie for the Home Baker by Danya Weiner

Savory Shortcrust Pastry:
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 Tbls cold water
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Place the butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process 2 minutes until thoroughly combined. Stop the processor and add the egg, water, and half the flour. Continue to process 2 minutes, until the dough is smooth and uniform. Stop the processor again, add the remaining flour, and continue to process 1 minute until a neat ball is formed. Remove the dough from the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour before using.

Basic Quiche Filling:
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the eggs and heavy cream in a bowl and mix gently. Whisk in the salt and nutmeg till smooth. Use immediately or transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Wild Mushroom Quiche:
1 recipe Savory shortcrust Pastry
1 egg. beaten
1/2 cup butter ( I used only 3 Tablespoons)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups assorted wild mushrooms ( I used Shitakes)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
2 Tbls finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 recipe Basic Quiche Filling

1. Roll out the shortcrust pastry 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface.
2. Divide the dough evenly among six 4-inch quiche pans, using your fingers to press the dough into place. Cut off any excess dough around the edges.
3. Place the pans in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. Cut out pieces of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pans. Place the paper over the chilled dough and weigh down with beans or commercial pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the weights and a paper, and brush the bottoms and sides with the egg. Bake for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the pans to a work surface.
6. Heat a heavy frying pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute till softened.
7. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. stirring often, until the mushrooms are softened and aromatic. Add the remaining butter ( 2 tablespoons) and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Now add the parsley and stir.
8. Drain the mushrooms and divide equally among the pans. Sprinkle the cheese and pour the prepared filling on top. Return the pans to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature and reheat before serving. Also good at room temperature.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.