Week 120: Spinach and Gruyere quiche

Quiches are delicious. It’s a melange of cream, cheese and butter. Loads of butter. Which is also why it is not something you can eat regularly.

So I always delight in opportunities to bake up a quiche for dinner parties. I was torn between a broccoli and cheddar quiche or a spinach and Gruyere and finally settled for the later. Apparently spinach sautéed in butter is delicious! So it was a good choice! I resort to my go-to quiche crust, which is so simple it feels like a cheat.

One note – I am very bad at seasoning, which is why I don’t like cooking. But I read somewhere (I don’t remember where) that to make sure you are seasoning the custard properly for your quiche, one thing you can do is to put some of the raw custard at the tip of your tongue to test it as you season. And that has worked quite well for me so far. Happy quiche-ing!

Makes a 7″ deep quiche

For the crust

220g plain flour

1/2 tsp fine salt

113g cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp lemon juice (preferred) / white vinegar

2 to 3 tbsp cold water

1) Place plain flour, salt and cold butter into the bowl of a food processor, and using the metal blade, pulse the mixture until the butter pieces are size of peas.

2) Add the egg yolk and lemon juice and give it a few pulse until it is well incorporated.

3) Finally, add just enough water until mixture looks slightly moist. Do not add more water than that.

4) Pour the dough mixture onto tabletop lined with cling wrap, and pat it into a lump, then roughly shape into a disc.

5) Wrap tightly using the cling wrap and chill it for 1 to 2 hours.

6) Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment to a thickness of about 4mm.

7) Transfer onto a tart mould with removable base and press the dough gently into the mould, removing the excess dough, but leaving some overhang on the brim to prevent shrinkage.

8) Freeze until required.

9) Preheat convection oven to 190C.

10) Remove frozen tart from freezer, poke the bottom of the tart with a fork, line with aluminium foil or parchment, then weigh it down with rice or baking beads.

11) Bake tart dough for around 15 to 20 minutes until set around the edges. Remove aluminium foil / parchment paper and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the tart dough turned a golden colour.

For the filling

2 bunches of round-leafed spinach

1 tbsp unsalted butter

3 shallots

3 strips of back bacon

100g Gruyere, grated

2 eggs (approximately 100g)

200g single cream

salt and pepper for seasoning

grated Parmiggiano Reggiano (optional)

1) Pluck the spinach leaves from the stem and ensure they are properly cleaned.

2) Peel the shallots and chop finely.

3) Preheat convention oven to 175C.

4) Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the shallots and cook on medium heat for a minute. Then add the spinach and pan fry until wilted.

5) Set the spinach mixture aside in a colander and allow it to strain to remove as much liquid as possible.

6) Pan fry the bacon until slightly charred.

7) Arrange half of strained spinach on the base of the baked tart crust. Layer on the bacon, then half the grated Gruyere. Then repeat with the remaining spinach and Gruyere.

8) Prepare the custard by whisking eggs and single cream and seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Pour custard until just below the rim of the tart crust. Then sprinkle with grated Parmiggiano Reggiano if using.

9) Transfer the quiche carefully into the preheated oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until custard has just set. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

I have always hated ending up with extra custard, or not having enough to fill the tart, which sometimes happen because my quiche pan does not always match the size of the recipe I was following. But recently I have found the recipe for quick custard, and it is simply 1 part eggs to 2 parts dairy. While single cream is the usual dairy option, apparently it works just as well with a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. So, all you have to do is calculate the volume of your quiche pan, subtract the estimated volume of your fillings, et voila!

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