By Stacey Wharam
Few things are better than a beautiful weekend brunch featuring delicious quiche. Quiche is perfect for any brunch buffet. It slices easily and, because of the rich custard center, a small portion is very satisfying. The best quiche has a tender, flaky crust; a silky, creamy custard; and can be customized to no end. In these challenging times, it is great to have a base recipe that can be changed up easily with what you have on hand.
Making a buttery, flaky quiche crust from scratch is easy. It takes only 10 minutes to make the dough and roll it out, then 30 minutes to get it cold and ready to bake. I use a food processor for this quiche crust recipe, but you can also use either a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon and a pastry blender.
If the idea of making your own pie crust will stop you from trying this recipe, you can always use ready-made pie crust from the grocery refrigerated or frozen section. I’ll never tell, and your guests will never notice. When they say, “Wow, this crust is so buttery and flaky!” just smile and say, “Thank you.”
Now, about the custard. Equal amounts of heavy cream and whole milk yield the smoothest, tastiest results. A ratio of two cups of liquid to six eggs and one yolk creates a rich, eggy flavor. And to avoid curdling – the most common pitfall when it comes to quiche – we bake at a low-and-slow temperature.
When it comes to mix-ins, try roasted or sautéed vegetables (tomatoes, caramelized onion, spinach, sautéed leeks, roasted bell pepper, asparagus), pan-fried breakfast meat (bacon, sausage, ham, pancetta) or even raw greens (Tuscan kale, baby arugula, spinach). All should be chopped into bite-size pieces or smaller.
The number of mix-ins will affect the amount of custard. If your mix-ins are very compact, say, caramelized onions or bacon, use a smaller volume. If they’re chunkier, like broccoli florets or squash pieces, use a larger volume. Fill the pie all the way – this creates the most stable crust – and, if you have any leftover, bake or microwave it in a ramekin for a snack. Some of the combinations that we use at Fontaine are:
• Tomatoes and goat cheese
• Bacon and caramelized onions
• Spinach and feta cheese
• Sautéed leeks and goat cheese
• Smoked salmon and sautéed leeks
• Roasted red bell peppers and goat cheese
• Tomatoes and swiss cheese
• Asparagus and feta cheese
• Spinach and bacon
• Roasted red bell peppers and feta cheese
• Tomatoes and spinach
For the cheese, you’ll want something that melts well with a confident flavor, like goat cheese, gruyere, swiss or feta. Or, try a mix. There are no rules.
At Fontaine, we serve our quiche with a simple side salad. You can eat quiche warm, at room temperature or even cold. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. I like to eat it cold, but you could gently reheat it, bundled in foil, in a low-temperature oven.
The writer has been involved with Fontaine in Old Town since 2018 and has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years.
- 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 stick of ice cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- Salt to taste
- 6 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Toppings of choice
- Make crust: Pulse flour and salt in food processor, about four pulses. Add butter and pulse until flour feels almost like sand. Start the processor and slowly add water until mixture comes together. Dough will feel like clay. Knead dough two or three times on a lightly floured surface. Form a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes before using. Press crust into a pie dish and bake.
- Combine base ingredients.
- Fill crust with base. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.