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Quiche Recipe: Create Your Own

Start with a buttery crust and silky custard, then add your favorite vegetables, meats, and cheeses for a customized quiche.

by Joanne Chang

from Fine Cooking
Issue 122

The basics of a quiche are simple and delicious: a pastry crust, a rich egg custard, and add-ins like roasted, sautéed, or steamed vegetables, cooked meat, cheeses, and fresh herbs. Just choose your cheese, herbs, and vegetables or meats.

Yields one 9-inch quiche; serves 6 to 8

Make the dough

I like to start the dough in a stand mixer rather than a food processor because it combines ingredients well while letting me keep an eye on the dough to prevent overmixing, which can toughen the crust.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all purpose flour, 2 tsp. granulated sugar, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Add 4-1/2 oz. (9 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 9 pieces and mix on low speed until the flour is no longer bright white, the dough holds together when you press a clump with your fingers, and there are still flakes of butter the size of pecan halves throughout, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until there are pea-size pieces of butter throughout.)

In a small bowl, whisk 1 large egg yolk and 2 Tbs. cold whole or 2% milk, then add it all at once to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed (or with a fork) until the dough barely comes together, 15 to 30 seconds in the mixer, longer by hand. The dough will look shaggy at this point.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and gather it into a mound. Starting at the top of the mound and using the heel of your hand, smear a section of the dough away from you, sliding it down the side and along the work surface until most of the butter pieces are smeared into the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough in sections.

With a bench knife, gather the dough together, flatten it into a disk about 1 inch thick, and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough may be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If storing for more than 1 day, wrap it in another layer of plastic. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

Shape and blind bake the crust

With this buttery dough comes a trade off: It tastes amazing and flakes beautifully, but it can shrink. To limit shrinkage, shape the dough so the edge extends above the dish, and fill it high with beans before blind baking. Because the crust is not docked, the beans need to stay in place throughout blind baking to keep it from puffing up.

On a well-floured work surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 12-inch-wide, 1/8-inch-thick circle. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over a 9- to 10-inch quiche dish, or a 9- to 9-1/2-inch pie plate. Without stretching it, press the dough gently into the bottom and sides of the dish. Use scissors or a paring knife to trim the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang.

If using a quiche dish, fold the overhang into the dish and press the sides up to create an edge that’s about 1/4 inch above the rim of the dish. If using a pie plate, fold the overhang under itself and flatten it slightly to completely cover the rim of the pie plate. Crimp decoratively.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the dough to relax before baking. (The unbaked crust can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, let the crust stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven, put a large rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 350°F.

Crumple a 12-inch square of parchment, flatten it, then line the crust with it. Fill the crust to the top with dried beans, gently pressing them against the sides. Bake on the hot baking sheet until the edge is a deep golden-brown and the bottom no longer looks raw (carefully pull back the parchment to check; if using a glass pie plate, you can see if the underside is golden), 40 to 45 minutes; protect the edge with a pie shield or ring of foil if it’s getting too dark. Remove the parchment and beans (and pie shield if necessary) and cool on a rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Make the custard

This custard is made with milk, cream, and egg yolks (not whole eggs), so even after baking, it’s soft and supple.

In a medium bowl or large liquid measure, whisk together 8 large egg yolks, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup whole milk, 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and up to 1/4 cup total of your choice of herbs (see options below).

Choose up to 2 fresh herbs for 1/4 cup total (optional)

  • basil
    Thinly sliced basil
  • thyme
    Chopped thyme (max 1 tsp.)
  • rosemary
    Chopped rosemary (max 1 tsp.)
  • chives
    Thinly sliced chives
  • scallions
    Thinly sliced scallions
  • parsley
    Chopped parsley
  • cilantro
    Chopped cilantro
  • tarragon
    Chopped tarragon (max 1 Tbs.)
  • dill
    Chopped dill
  • chervil
    Chopped chervil
Fill the quiche

You can flavor a quiche in myriad ways. Most meats and vegetables need to be cooked before going into the quiche. For the best flavor, be sure to season the vegetables as they cook.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

Put the blind-baked crust on the rimmed baking sheet and scatter the meat, fish, vegetable, and cheese add-ins of your choice (see options below) over the bottom, being sure they are evenly distributed. Whisk the custard and slowly pour it into the crust, taking care not to shuffle the add-ins around too much.

Choose two to four add-ins, 1-1/2 to 2 cups total (measure after cooking)

  • bacon
    Chopped, cooked bacon or pancetta (1/2 cup max)
  • prosciutto
    Diced ham or prosciutto
  • smoked chicken
    Smoked diced chicken or turkey
  • hot Italian sausage
    Sweet or hot Italian sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • smoked salmon
    Smoked salmon or trout, flaked (1/2 cup max)
  • crab
    Cooked, diced lobster or crab
  • Cheddar
    Grated or diced cheddar (1 cup max)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
    Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup max)
  • goat cheese
    Crumbled fresh goat cheese (1 cup max)
  • cream cheese
    Diced cream cheese (1 cup max)
  • brie
    Diced Brie (rind removed; 1 cup max)
  • manchego
    Grated Manchego (1 cup max)
  • gruyere
    Grated Swiss or Gruyere (1 cup max)
  • feta
    Crumbled feta (1 cup max)
  • comte
    Grated Comte (1 cup max)
  • sun-dried tomatoes
    Chopped sun-dried tomatoes (1/4 cup max)
  • asparagus
    Steamed sliced asparagus
  • mushrooms
    Sliced sauteed mushrooms
  • leeks
    Thinly sliced sauteed leeks (white & light-green parts only)
  • onions
    Caramelized yellow onions
  • diced tomatoes
    Chopped, seeded & drained tomatoes
  • red onion
    Diced red onion (1/4 cup max)
  • broccoli
    Steamed broccoli florets
  • green cabbage
    Shredded sauteed cabbage
  • bell peppers
    Roasted, chopped peppers (bell or poblano)
  • olives
    Pitted, slivered black olives
  • zucchini
    Diced, sauteed zucchini
  • corn kernels
    Fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • potatoes
    Diced, cooked potatoes
  • spinach
    Sauteed, chopped spinach
Bake the quiche

This quiche has a very soft and creamy texture, but that’s not the same as being underbaked. Be sure it has set by checking it both visually and by touch.

Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield or a ring of foil to keep it from browning too much. Carefully transfer the quiche on the baking sheet to the oven and bake at 325°F until the custard feels set to the touch in the center, 45 to 55 minutes. It should be golden-brown and slightly puffed and should not slosh when you jiggle it.

Let cool on a rack for at least 45 minutes, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature. Or, for the best-looking slices, cool the quiche completely, then refrigerate, slice when cold, and reheat. (The quiche can be made up to 2 days ahead. Once cooled, tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat in a 350°F oven, edge covered with a pie shield, until warmed through, 20 to 25 minutes.)

Quiche Dos and Dont’s

• Blind bake your shell thoroughly so you don’t end up with a soggy crust.
• Use leftover cooked vegetables and meats; their seasonings will boost flavor.
• Let the quiche cool for at least 45 minutes so the custard can firm up for nice-looking slices. At the bakery, we thoroughly chill it in the fridge before cutting it, and then reheat slices to order.

• Overdo the add-ins; you want to enjoy the silky texture and rich flavor of the custard, too.
• Add very watery ingredients; the excess water will make the custard soupy. Squeeze cooked spinach dry and drain raw tomatoes before adding.
• Slice quiche while hot. It will taste good, but the custard may not hold its shape and the back crust may fall away from the custard.

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