I love making quiches. I love how versatile they are, making for a hearty breakfast or a light lunch or dinner. In fact, I frequently make quiches and think about blogging my efforts. Problem is, as practiced of a pie baker I may be, I suck at blind baked crusts. I think it’s because I never use enough pie weights, so the crust always falls down from the sides and I end up with a flat disk at the bottom of my pie plate. I suppose I could just make a crustless quiche, but it’s the buttery, flaky crust I love most about quiches. Hell, I’ve even served my quiches upside down before, topping the baked quiche custard with the crust disk just to keep that flaky goodness in the picture. Besides, a crustless quiche would feel like giving in and not challenging myself.
Inspired by spring, I decided to make a quiche with light and bright flavors. With leeks readily available at the local produce stand, I thought how perfect they would be for a spring-inspired quiche: subtle, almost sweet onion flavor and soft, pale greens dotting the bright, yellow custard. For some meaty flavor without actually using meat, I chose crimini mushrooms, figuring they would add firm texture and an earthy flavor.
The mushrooms and leeks got a quick saute in some melted butter along with some minced garlic. To brighten the flavors some more, I added some lemon zest and chopped fresh basil. To round out the flavors of this quiche, I chose Gruyère for its combination of sharpness and nuttiness.
After prepping my filling all that was left was to hold my breath, cross my fingers, open the oven, and check on my blind baked crust. This time, I over compensated by using 1.5 portion of a double crust recipe and added some leftover split peas to my pie weights. Lo and behold– those were the tricks I needed. My crust held its shape, and although it wasn’t prettily fluted at the edges, frankly, that was a marked improvement over a flat disk that I’ll take any day. I say this with the hope that you won’t judge when you see the final plated picture. All that mattered to me, as all that should matter to you, is that here was a brightly flavored quiche with a soft custard and flaky crust, perfect for a spring-time meal.
Note: Save your dough scraps for future pies or quiches or in a handy trick I learned from my mother-in-law, cut them into pieces and sprinkle a mix of cinnamon brown sugar on them then bake off for a sweet snack.
- 1.5 portion of your favorite double crust recipe. I’ve been partial to this one from King Arthur Flour lately.
- Cooking spray
- egg yolk mixed with a large pinch of salt
- 1 large leek, trimmed of dark green part and root end
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms, scrubbed clean
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced (yields about 1 teaspoon)
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1.5 cups half and half
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Roll out pie dough to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Lightly spray the pie plate with cooking spray then place crust in pie plate, trim edges leaving a half-inch over-hang, then roll the crust edges inward. Flute the edges if you want to/can. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Take a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to cover the bottom of your pie crust and hang over the sides and spray the shiny side with a little cooking spray. Place the sprayed side down on the pie crust and fill the pie to the brim and the edges of the crust with pie weights, be they store-bought, uncooked rice, dry beans, or a mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the foil from the pie pan and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, covering the entire bottom of the crust with little holes. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, keeping an eye on it and flattening any bubbles in the crust with a wooden spoon if necessary. Remove from oven again and brush with the egg yolk and salt mixture before baking for 2-5 minutes more.
While preparing the crust, make your quiche filling. Start by cutting the trimmed leek in half, lengthwise then cutting both halves cross-wise so that you have 1/4 inch thick slices. Add the sliced leeks to a bowl of water and swish around to let the dirt settle to the bottom. Use a strainer to remove the leeks from the rinsing water and set aside. Trim stems from mushrooms and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. When the foam subsides, add the leeks, mushrooms, and garlic, then saute until mushrooms begin to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and mix in basil and lemon zest. Let this cool slightly while you mix together the custard.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs and half and half. Season with a/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the nutmeg. Whisk together until combined.
Reduce heat of oven to 375 degrees F. While crust is still hot, add the mushroom-leek mixture to the crust then top with the shredded Gruyère cheese. Pour in the custard mixture then bake for 25-35 minutes or until quiche is golden and custard has set. Slice into wedges and serve while warm.