Quiche may be my new favorite thing to make. It starts with a delicious crust made of simple ingredients you always have around. It’s yet anouther device for transporting cheese into my mouth. Eggs! Who doesn’t love eggs? You can eat it for any meal of the day. Much like pizza, it’s a great way to use up leftover odds and ends. Most of all, there are few things more rewarding in the kitchen than pulling a pretty creation out of the oven, be it a quiche, a pie, or even a whole roasted bird. Quiche is worth making for presentation alone.
The recipe for the crust comes from an awesome cookbook I got while I was in Portland a few weeks ago: Savory Baking by Mary Cech. Unlike your standard crust this one incorporates thyme, which gives the quiche a huge flavor boost. Depending on what you’re using for your filling you could swap the thyme for something like dill or oregano. This cookbook has some amazing recipes in it (like White Cheddar-Zucchini Pancakes and Sweet Potato, Golden Raisin and Cranberry Strudel), and I can’t wait to try more of them.
For the filling I just used things I had around: an onion, a little spinach, and Emmentaler.
Caramelized Onion Quiche
Crust recipe from Savory Baking
For the crust:
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 tsps fresh)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3-2/3 cups cold water
For the filling:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of a combination of cream, half & half, or milk
- 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced into strips
- 1 cup or more Emmentaler, grated
- A few handfuls of spinach (optional)
- Salt & pepper
Put the flour, butter, thyme, and salt in a food processor.
Pulse until the largest chunks of butter are pea-sized.
Slowly add water until the mixture forms into a ball.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface.
Knead it a couple times, and then shape it into a disc that’s about an inch thick. Making this dough was insanely easy and took maybe five minutes from the time I started measuring ingredients to the time I formed the dough into a disk. Working with any dough is pretty easy after making homemade pasta
and dealing with very dry, crumbly dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. I let it rest for over an hour while I went to pick up my awesome new toy
When you’re ready to start baking, preheat your oven to 400 with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Dust whatever surface you’re going to roll the dough out on with flour.
Place the dough on the floured surface, and roll it out until it’s 12″ around. My silicone mat has rulers along the edges, which makes this part very easy. I’d say that makes it worth the investment. Depending on the surface you’re using, you may need to keep moving the dough around to ensure that it doesn’t stick to that surface.
Fold the dough in half and transfer it to your pie pan or baking dish. I believe I used an 8″ glass pan, but the actual crust recipe is for a 9″ pie pan.
Unfold the dough and press it firmly into the bottom and edges of the pan. You can chop off the excess dough around the top if there’s a lot. I started to even out the edges, but then changed my mind and started to reattach them. I figured I’d rather bake all of the crust that I made instead of discarding bits of it just to make it look better.
Cover the crust with a layer of aluminum foil, and fill the foil 2/3 full with dried beans or pie weights. I didn’t have enough of a single kind of bean, so I made a foil boat of black beans to fill half of the crust and filled the rest with garbanzos. I saved myself from painstakingly separating bean varieties later on, and I successfully reproduced the title of a Michael Jackson song
in a legume on foil medium.
Place the baking dish or pie pan on a baking sheet, and bake for about 30 minutes. Carefully lift up the foil and check the bottom of the crust; it’s ready when it’s beginning to brown. At that point remove the foil and the beans and continue to bake the crust until it’s golden brown, probably 5-10 more minutes. Remove the baking sheet and the baking dish from the oven, place them on a cooling rack, and reduce the oven temperature to 325.
While the crust is baking, you can get the filling ready. I had a little bit of spinach sitting around that I decided to use, so I started by sautéing that. Then I squeezed out as much moisture as I could before chopping it into smaller pieces.
Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the onions and a little salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and brown. Set aside. I guess mine are more towards the raw end of the caramelization spectrum, but they were done enough for me.
In a large bowl combine the eggs, the milk, and the cream. I am ashamed to admit this, but I used about 1 1/3 cup cream and a tiny bit of skim milk. I thought I had more milk than that and was planning on doing more of a 50/50 mix, but as I poured the milk into the measuring cup I realized I had less than 1/4 cup of it. Sorry, arteries.
Whisk the eggs and cream together as well as a little freshly grated pepper.
Add the onions and spinach to the crust, and spread them around so they’re evenly distributed.
Top the onions with a layer of grated cheese. I used Emmentaler, but you can use anything you have around.
Pour the egg mixture over the onions and cheese. You could also add the other ingredients to the egg mixture and pour the filling in all at once. Layering ensures a little onion, a little cheese, and a little egg with every bite, though.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggs are mostly set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the quiche rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Here’s a nice view of the layers: onion, cheese, and egg. Serve warm or at room temperature.