Making quiche brings back some not-so-fond restaurant memories. It was at the end of my tenure at the Central Park Boathouse and I was asked to create a quiche for the brunch menu. I made a few versions, but ultimately we all decided on a traditional quiche Lorraine – smoked bacon, gruyere and leeks. I thought my work was done, but it turned out that I, and my staff of 2 others, were going to be responsible for cooking them each weekend. And if you hadn’t guessed, brunch at the Boathouse is pretty busy. It turned out to be a huge hit and we were making over 100 orders…for each day! I needed to go into work at 4:00 in the morning just to have that and everything else ready for the day. I got just a little frustrated with the workload, so it was at that point I started entertaining ideas of finding a new job. It’s hard to believe that was just over a year ago. Maybe it is because of that quiche that I am where I am today (still working my ass off, but for myself). They still have it on the menu there, but here is the same recipe on a smaller scale and with spinach and cheddar as the filling. But really, you can put any filling you like.
A note about the crust: For this, and probably any pie recipe I have ever posted, I always use a recipe from The Pie And Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Why? She spent years perfecting the recipes, so they are about as perfect as a crust can be. They are pretty easy, the texture is nice, and they taste great. I chose the Flaky Cream Cheese Crust for my quiche this time, as it pairs better with savory fillings.
Spinach Cheddar Quiche (makes 1 9-inch quiche)
For the Crust:
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 Tablespoon cold water
1-1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
For the filling:
4 ounces spinach, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 ounces grated cheddar cheese
First, prepare the crust. Put the butter, flour, salt and baking powder into a food processor and pulse until the butter is mostly incorporated. Add the cream cheese and continue pulsing until that is incorporated as well. Add the cold water and vinegar and mix until a dough forms. Flatten it into a circle and refrigerate for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is big enough to fill a 9-inch pie pan. Lay it into the pie pan, making sure to press it into the corners, and crimp the edges decoratively. Cut a circle of parchment or wax paper large enough to cover the crust, and lay it on the top, then fill it with uncooked beans, rice, or something similar (this is called blind baking). Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the beans or rice, and bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the crust is completely cooked. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.
Prepare the filling while the crust is baking. Melt the butter in a large pan, and saute the spinach for just a few minutes until cooked. Set aside. Pour the milk and cream into a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil. Whisk the eggs, yolks, salt and pepper together in a heatproof bowl, then slowly add the hot milk while continuing to whisk (this is called tempering). Put the cooked spinach and grated cheese into the baked pie shell. Pour the milk and egg mixture over that – it should just fill it all the way up. Return to the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the filling is completely set. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before attempting to slice.