Quiche is one of those dishes that transitions so smoothly from breakfast, through brunch and lunch to dinner, that it’s hard to imagine why anyone would not like it. And, it’s as adaptable as it is easy. There’s something in it’s history that says quiche was originally ‘invented’ as a vehicle for the leftovers from last evening’s dinner. Culinary resourcefulness; and given the options for filling it’s easy to see why.
Like so many things I like to cook, my preference is to start with a basic recipe, then branch out and experiment as tastes change, or as what you have available to work with dictates where to go. This recipe is strictly for the custardy part of the quiche; the additions are left to your own imagination (though I’ve made some tried and true suggestions, below).
1 pie crust (see notes)
5 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk or half & half (approx)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fillings of choice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Blind bake the pie crust by lining it with parchment or foil, filling it with pie weights (or dried beans) – be sure to get some pressure up against the sides – then into the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for another 10 minutes; then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Put all 5 eggs in a large measuring cup; then add the heavy cream. At this point you want to add the milk or half & half so that the total volume is 2-1/2 cups.
Season with salt and pepper.
Mix with a hand mixer until completely blended. You can do this in the measuring cup (if large enough) or in a mixing bowl.
Spread your fillings on the bottom of the pie crust, and pour the egg mixture over it.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes (the quiche will be only slightly wobbly in the center.
Allow to cool; quiche is best served warm or at room temperature.
Except in cooking classes, I’ve not tackled pie crust from scratch. If you search pie crust recipes you’ll quickly see that there are almost more “perfect pie crust” recipes than you can count. I do know that most chefs I’ve seen prefer to use a food processor to blend the very cold butter and flour. As soon as I’ve made a few and they come out OK, I’ll update.
Prepared pie crusts come either refrigerated in a roll so that you unroll and use; or they come already in an aluminum pan and frozen. I’ve tried both, and my vote goes for the frozen in the pan. Too, the pastry experts at Serious Eats (seriouseats.com) concluded you have better success with pie crusts in those disposable aluminum pans. Please recycle.
Most traditional is ham and cheese. Dice the ham about 1/4″ for best coverage. Swiss or cheddar for the cheese, grated and put over the ham before the egg mixture.
Take ham and cheese up a notch by adding a drained, small can of diced Hatch chilies. Or maybe even broccoli.
If you choose to add tomatoes, I’d suggest you take the time to remove the soft, gelatinous part with the seeds in it before dicing and adding. Otherwise you may find it not setting up as well.
Diced zucchini and yellow squash, with asparagus, makes a vegetarian option; use Gruyere for the cheese. Yum!
For presentation purposes you can remove the quiche from the oven after about 30 minutes and place additional ingredients in a decorative pattern. Then return the quiche to the oven to finish baking. The illustrated quiche used sliced squash and whole asparagus.
There are commercially available rings that can be used to cover the crust of any pie to prevent overcooking/browning of the crust. If you don’t have one, you can use strips of foil. Just leave the middle of the quiche uncovered to bake.