Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spinach Quiche

Given my hatred for all things eggy, you'd think quiche would be an obvious No. But something about the flaky, crunchy crust and all the just works. I have a feeling the same could be said for someone who hates spinach. Serve them a slice of this pie and really, who could resist? I actually think what absolutely makes this is the smoked gouda. The smokiness isn't overwhelming, it just adds a little more depth to the whole thing. This is also my go-to pie crust for everything, sweet or savory. It's really easy to make and always comes out buttery and flaky. If you don't have a food processor, don't panic! You can cut in the butter for the crust by hand using a pastry cutter or a fork. Then just add the water little by little, kneading as you go. And as for the filling, just mix it up by hand.

This is what's considered a two-step pie, meaning the first step is to bake the crust by itself, and the second step is to bake the filling. If you've never blind-baked a pie crust before, it's really simple. Just follow these steps:

Start with a chilled, unbaked pie shell.

Tear off a piece of parchment paper a little larger than the size of your pie dish. Fold it in half and in half again. Identify the corner all the folds center around.

Fold the paper again bringing the corner on the right to meet the corner on the left, forming a triangle. Repeat.

Place that point (the one I've had my finger on) over the middle of your unbaked pie shell.

Cut off any excess paper, with the point in the middle, so the edge of the paper is just about at the edge of the pie shell.

Now unfold our parchment. You should be left with a pleated circle big enough to fit into your pie shell with some excess overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake!

Spinach Quiche
Yield: 12 servings

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold, diced in to small pieces
1/4 cup ice water

For the Filling:
1 cup (8 oz) smoked gouda, cut into pieces
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 eggs
2 yolks
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Grated parmesan cheese

1. First, make the dough for the crust. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Through the feed tube, slowly pour the ice water with the processor running. Pulse intermittently until the dough starts to hold together. If it seems to dry, add additional ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Onto a floured surface, dump the dough and form into a flattened disc. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375. Roll dough to 1/4'' thick and fit into a 9-10'' pie plate. Line pastry with parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 12  minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the bottom is dry and the crust's edge is lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven on.
3. In the food processor, pulse gouda until finely chopped. Add spinach, eggs and yolks, half-and-half, and spices. Process until well combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Pour quiche filling into the prepared crust. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.
5. Bake quiche for 40-45 minutes until custard is golden, puffed, and set. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes
  • I forgot the Parmesan cheese and it was still great.
  • To make this even more hearty, add some cooked, crumbled bacon to the bottom of the pie shell before pouring in the filling.
  • It is very important to let this rest before serving! Cutting it too soon could result in runny slices.
 Crust recipe from Martha Stewart. Quiche recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse 



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