Quiches and their crusts
The filling: Cowboy Quiche from the Pioneer Woman. Main ingredients: cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, bacon. You may recall that my prior go-to quiche recipe didn’t have a crust at all, which made it a lot faster and easier (unless you’re the type to have a bunch of pre-made pastry dough in your freezer, which I am not. Well, I’m the ‘my tiny freezer barely holds the ice cream and ice cubes and four pumpkins worth of puree’ type). And honestly, I kinda like the simplicity of the quiche mixture by itself. I do love pastry crust, but sometimes it’s unnecessary.
The crust: Perfect Pie Crust, also from the Pioneer Woman, although not the one called for in the quiche recipe. It is a really great crust, the first time I’ve ever made pastry dough with an egg in it. I still have half the recipe in the fridge, so I’m going to try it in a sweet recipe like apple pie or something.
The dish: my new quiche pan, which doesn’t have a handy removable bottom or anything. But it IS in my china pattern, and is a discontinued piece, which pretty much guaranteed that I would buy it on eBay the first time I saw it… I have mentioned that eBay is addictive, right? It’s like a garage sale or thrift store: there’s no guarantee that anything you see will be available ever again! So you have to buy it right now! I should probably either 1) get help, or 2) win the lottery.
- If the crust gets too soggy from the filling, either 1) prebake the crust for a few minutes before adding the filling, or 2) instead of mixing the cheese in with the filling, sprinkle it evenly over the crust, then pour the filling on top. The melted cheese layer will protect the crust from soaking up too much liquid.
- Don’t overfill the crust! Quiche expands a lot while cooking, so follow the recipe carefully and don’t be worried if the raw filling only comes up halfway. It will rise!
- To tell if a quiche is done, insert a knife about an inch from the edge. If it comes out clean, it’s done. It’s okay if the filling is still somewhat jiggly. If the crust or the filling seems to be getting too brown, lay a loose piece of foil over it while it cooks.
- Once the quiche is done, let it rest for a while to finish cooking and to set. It’s a lot like a pumpkin pie or something: the custardy filling needs to cool some in order to solidify. If you cut it too hot, it could run all over instead of coming out in nice wedges.
- If someone you know won’t eat something called ‘quiche,’ call it something else: egg pie, bacon and onion pie, breakfast pie, etc. That’s really all it is. 😉
Pastry crust tips:
- Basically, pastry crusts are made of flour, salt, fat and water. The primary fats used are butter, vegetable shortening, or (if you’re going old school) lard. Butter makes a crust taste wonderful, but also makes it flat and crispy, like a cracker. Shortening or lard makes crust wonderfully fluffy and flaky, but doesn’t add much in the way of taste. The best thing to do is to combine the two so that you get the best of both worlds. The crust I used for this quiche had half shortening and half butter. I grew up on shortening, so I don’t mind the taste, but if you’re sensitive to it, you could go with lard.
- If you’re adding butter, keep it as cold as possible. Use a pastry cutter (or a fork, or two knives, or a blending fork, or a food processor) to cut the butter into the flour until it’s good and crumbly. It’s hard to overmix at this point, unless your butter starts melting.
- Once you add the liquid (water, or in this case water and egg), don’t overmix. Blend the dough thoroughly, but don’t keep mixing it just for the sake of mixing it. You’re better off sticking it in a zip baggie, shaping it into a flat sphere, and either chilling or freezing it. Most dough keeps well for a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.
- When rolling, use enough flour to keep it from sticking, and roll gently. Put your rolling pin in the center, and roll out almost to the edge, then turn the dough slightly and repeat. Last night I used a new method which worked out really well: place the dough between two floured pieces of parchment paper and roll right over the paper. It keeps your surface and pin from getting too messy, and it’s easy to peel off one sheet and lift the dough onto the pan, then peel off the other.