Friday, March 16, 2012
free-form, from scratch quiche
I used to be very intimidated by attempting pastry of any kind. I think I may have been told once and perhaps read somewhere twice, that it was a difficult task, best left to expert bakers (of which I most certainly am not). And in those days, I actually believed it! What lies! Do you know how I know they were lies? Because of the shocking fact that this was my first ever, all the way from scratch quiche, and it came.out.perfectly. And I don't even have a proper quiche pan, mind you! Flaky, buttery, crispy on the outside, but still with a bit of a bite pastry crust. Oh yes, it is possible to achieve, even for a novice like me.
~makes enough for one regular-sized quiche pan, or 2 oddly-shaped, small rectangular, non-quiche pans. Based on a similar pie crust recipe in Family Meals.
1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour, organic and unbleached
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons (which is 5 ounces) chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
4 or more Tablespoons ice water
1. In a wide or large bowl, mix together the flour and salt, then scatter the butter cubes over the top.
2. Cut in the butter with a pastry scraper or a couple knives, until the butter pieces look like small pebbles.
3. Add the vinegar, then gradually add the ice water while stirring with a fork. Add enough water so that the dough begins to form, but is still pretty crumbly, but moist. It should be just moist enough so that it stays together when you press it together with your hands.
note: For this particular batch, I'm certain I added well over 4 Tablespoons, but yours will depend on your environment, so just keep adding water, a little at a time, until you can hold the dough lighty together.
4. Transfer the dough to a floured board and press it together with your hands to form a thick disk. Feel free to add a tad more water if the dough is still too crumbly. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
5. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to form a 12 inch circle, or to the shape of your pan. For mine, I cut the disk in half and rolled each half out into roughly the shape of a rectangle.
6. Dust the rolling pin with flour, and roll the pastry around the pin. Then unroll it onto your pan. Gently, but firmly, press it to form around the shape of your pan. I just made sure to leave enough over the edge of my dish to allow for a little shrinkage while cooking. You can feel free to trim your edges if desired.
7. Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with uncooked rice to act as a weight.
8. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, remove the aluminum foil weight, and continue baking for another 5 minutes. What you're doing here is pre-baking the crust.
(Optional step #9. Place the dish with your pastry crust in the refrigerator while you nurse your baby to sleep for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and pull pastry crust out of the refrigerator while you prepare the filling. Hear baby fussing, and go to check on her, convincing her with a little more nursing that she really ought to have a nap today. Worry about leaving the oven on and quiche crust sitting out on the counter for a now indefinite amount of time. Sneak away after 10 minutes from the once again sleeping baby, and finish up. Why am I telling you this? So you can see that even with all this mucking about, it still turned out beautifully. See, not so hard. But you may skip all this nonsense and proceed to step 10).
10. Now, onto the filling, which can really be whatever you want it to be! For this particular quiche, I sautéed the following in a bit of butter:
-A large handful of spinach, roughly chopped
-1/2 of a medium-sized onion, finely chopped
-8 or so mushrooms, sliced
-A very small jar of pimentos I found at the back of the refrigerator, drained
11. Spread your filling evenly over the bottom of your pre-baked crust.
12. Whisk together 3-4 eggs, 1 1/2 Cups milk or cream, a little salt and pepper, and a little freshly grated nutmeg, and pour this over the filling, until it almost reaches the top of your pan.
13. Top with a generous amount of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
14. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Now, who would like to please come by and help us eat all this quiche? ;)