Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Julia Child's quiche

If you've been reading this blog for a little while, you've probably seen mention of the fact that I haven't liked eggs for very long. But it turns out that eggs are actually a good source of protein and something I don't mind eating. While my sister was visiting a little while back she suggested making a quiche. This wasn't something I had necessarily considered because my idea of quiche was something sad-looking and greasy-tasting. Upon further consideration, we decided we could do it "right" and consulted Julia Child.

This was absolutely UNbelievable. The crust was so amazing that I can't wait to use it in more applications. And you know what? It was not difficult to bring together at all. The only time-consuming aspect of this dough is that it does need to be refrigerated. It does not take that long, however, and it is a perfect time to start cooking the vegetables and preparing the rest of the ingredients. We made this on a weeknight and didn't even eat dinner at a ridiculous time.

I cannot say enough good things about this recipe. Put your own spin on it! Use what ingredients you have on hand and make it delicious for yourself. Just use this base - trust me, you won't be disappointed!

Pate Brisee (I don't remember how to put in accents!)
Not really adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) butter, chilled and cut into pieces
4 tbsp. (1 oz.) shortening
scant 1/2 c. iced water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar (optional, for color)

Measure the flour, salt, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to blend the butter and shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the water and use your hands to incorporate it until the mixture forms a mass. The dough should be well-formed but not sticky. Press the dough firmly into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, use the heel of your hand to knead the dough in pieces until the fat is well-blended into the flour. You do not want to overdo this step as it is important that the dough does not become too warm. Incorporate it back into a mass and chill. You can do so in the freezer for about one hour or in the refrigerator for two hours, or overnight.

When ready to use, roll out the dough as quickly as possible so it does not warm up. When the dough is rolled out to the appropriate size, place it in a springform pan. There are probably many great dough rolling and manuevering tutorials than what I can tell you. As I continue to practice and improve I will try to add that.

Spinach and Leek Quiche
Not really adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

3 leeks, washed and sliced up to the green part
3 good handfuls of spinach, washed
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. olive oil

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. whipping cream
1 c. grated cheese, Swiss or Gruyere (spring for Gruyere!)
pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. For parbaking the crust, either use pie weights or dry beans on top of a buttered piece of foil, pressed on top of the dough. Bake the dough for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the foil and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Continue to bake for 2 to 3 more minutes, until the dough is just starting to color. Do not remove the springform pan until you have finished baking the entire quiche.

Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium to large skillet. Add the garlic and saute for one to two minutes. Add the leeks and cook until soft, about 6 or 7 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for just a minute or two, until wilted.

Beat the eggs, cream, seasonings, and 3/4 c. cheese in a mixing bowl. When the leeks and spinach mixture is cool, add it to the eggs and stir until well-combined. Pour into the pastry shell. Top with the remaining cheese and the small pieces of butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed and browned.*

* It took us the full time plus a couple minutes. The quiche did go from not set at all to set very quickly. Look for a minimal amount of wiggling in the center of the pan.

Savor every. single. bite!

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