A bright spot of spring is starting to arrive in the grocery store. Take advantage of the season's best and make a Spring Vegetable Quiche!
A brunch staple
At one of my restaurant jobs, I was responsible for making quiche. Some weeks it was maybe 4 quiche. Other weeks, I would crank out a dozen. Demand created my schedule. Other than having to make so many vegetarian only and so many with meat, the fillings were up to me. I enjoyed seeing what was in the cooler and creating combinations that always contained some type of cheese. I think I became pretty good at quiche-making!
And now, due to a constant supply of fresh eggs (2 chickens as pets), we have quiche regularly. It could be for a brunch with family or for dinner to use up the veggies in the refrigerator.
To me, the first sign of spring is the arrival of certain vegetables at the grocery store. Like the appearance of robins, asparagus on sale is a definite harbinger of spring. When I was shopping today, it was 99 cents a pound. The spears were plentiful, upright in stick, straight bunches. White spring onions, tender and delicate, are always a welcome sign. Occasionally I find red spring onions with a sweet and mellow flavor. I just rejoice in the signs of the changing of seasons, especially from winter to spring.
A study in contrasts
The filling of the quiche definitely needs to be a silky, smooth vehicle for the vegetables. But the crust is the contrast. Buttery, flaky pie dough adds the crunch that you can hear. The shards of crust fall on your plate as you take a bite. That's what I'm talking about.
The dough is not difficult to make, especially in a food processor. However, you can make it by hand. Combine the flour and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes, and use your fingers to squish the butter and flour together. You are looking for pea-sizes pieces of butter at the end with a yellow tinge to the flour. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing it into the flour. When the dough will stay together if squeezed in your hand, stop adding water. The amount of water will change each time you make the crust, depending on the humidity in the air. Just don't overwork the dough. When water is added to flour, the gluten is activated. If you work the dough too much, it will be tough. Let it rest and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.
It is important to blind bake the crust after it has been rolled and placed in the pie pan. Blind baking is pre-baking the crust so that the bottom does not get soggy when the filling is added. If you are making the quiche for a breakfast or brunch the next morning, you can make the dough, roll it, and blind bake it the day before.
Pulling it all together
Once the crust is blind baked, it is time for the filling. This simply means prepping the vegetables, herbs, and cheese. I like to partially saute the vegetables so they are a little roasty but not overcooked. This also removes some of the water from the vegetables so that the filling doesn't get too loose. Once the vegetables are par-cooked, I let them cool and start getting the custard mixed. Whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are completely incorporated. If you raise the whisk from the eggs, you shouldn't see streaks of whites separating from the mix. Then add the heavy cream and whole milk. Whole milk is important - no sense in skimping at this point. I like to use fresh herbs, particularly dill in this recipe. It adds a distinct brightness to the filling.
I separate the cheese into bite-sized pieces and scatter half around the bottom of the blind bake crust. The next addition is the cooled vegetables, followed by carefully pouring in the egg/dairy mix. Lastly, I scatter the remaining half of the cheese around the top of the filling. These pieces of cheese brown nicely as the quiche bakes. Make sure the pie plate is on a sheet pan before you add the dairy. It is so much easier to carry to the oven.
Spring vegetable quiche for get-togethers
When my family gets together for brunch, whether it is a holiday or not, I generally have quiche as part of the menu. It is a little bit expected, which I'm ok with. I know there was a time when quiche was considered a bit out of style. Not in my house. If you show up, you will probably see one sitting on the stovetop cooling off. The only surprise is what filling is inside. This is a combination that I think is a classic. Try this Spring Vegetable Quiche to enjoy all the freshness of the season!
Buttery Flaky Pie Dough - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/buttery-flaky-pie-dough/
Spring Vegetable Quiche
- 9" pie pan
- pie weights or dried beans (enough of either to fill the pie pan)
- 1 cup spring onions about 4-5, thinly sliced
- 1 cup asparagus 6-7 stalks cut into 1"-2" pieces
- 1 ½ cups assorted mushrooms about 4 ounces thickly sliced
- 1 cup corn kernels about one ear cut off the cob if using fresh
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 7 ounces brie cheese
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Preparing quiche crust
- Preheat oven to 350°. Take the prepared quiche crust out of the freezer. Press a piece of aluminum foil into the dough, making sure to get into the edge and along the sides. Add the pie weights or dried beans.
- Put the prepared dish on a sheet pan and in the oven. Bake until the fluted edge of the crust is starting to brown, approximately 25 minutes. Take the pie pan out of the oven and remove the foil and the pie weights/dried beans. Place the pie pan bake in the oven for 5 minutes so that the bottom of the crust dries slightly. Take out of the oven and set aside to cool while preparing the filling
Prepare the quiche filling
- In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms stirring occasionally. After 2 minutes and the mushrooms are browning, add the asparagus. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the corn. Continue to stir occasionally. After another 2 minutes, add the onion. Season with salt and pepper. After a total of 10 minutes, all vegetables should be slightly browned. Set to the side.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the whole eggs and the yolks. Mix with a whisk until the yolks and whites are completely incorporated.
- Add the heavy cream, milk, dill, salt, and pepper to the eggs. Whisk until all ingredients are mixed together well.
- Place the Break the brie into small chunks. Place half of the brie on the bottom of the pie crust. Add the sauteed vegetables on top of the cheese. Lastly, carefully pour the egg mixture on top of the veggies. Place the remaining brie cheese pieces around the top of the egg mixture.
- Place in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. The center of the quiche may still wiggle but the sides should be set. The top of the quiche will be nicely browned. Let cool for 20-30 minutes for the quiche to continue to set.