Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ham Asparagus Quiche and Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Spring time always makes me think of brunch.  I love brunch any time of year, but the association of brunch and Mother's Day makes me think of it as springtime activity.

Some of my family members were in town for the weekend recently.  Saturday night we picked out our dinner at The West Side Market, then cooked it together at home.  Before they left on Sunday, we brunched.  I made food I could prep before everyone arrived.  The spread included quiche (two flavors), a potato bacon casserole, fruit with yogurt, and coffee cake.

Quiche is perfect for making ahead, it can be kept in the fridge or frozen if you're making it more than a few days in advance.  This recipe was great, the quiche was soft and moist and there was a good ratio of egg to mix-ins.  Quiche is great brunch option, but pair it with a salad and you've got yourself a nice lunch.

Cook's Notes:
  1. The partially baked crust is an extra step that you can skip if you want, but I think it's worth doing.  For one thing, it keeps the bottom crust from getting soggy.  Another reason is that the unbaked pie dough can shrink, and the egg mixture might overflow behind the crust.
  2. Don't overfill the crust (make sure to keep it 1/2 inch below the top).  
  3. I ended up with a little egg mixture leftover so I made mini quiches.  Line a few cups in a muffin tin, sprinkle with a little cheese or other mix-ins, then fill cup 2/3 full with egg mixture.  Bake until egg is set.

Ham and Asparagus Quiche
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
Yield:  1 quiche, 8 servings

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
A pinch fresh grated nutmeg
4 oz (1/2 cup) Gruyere cheese, grated (shredded Swiss can be substituted)
4 oz baked ham, diced small (thick cut deli ham works well)
8 asparagus spears, cut on the bias into 1/2 inch pieces (~1 cup)
9-inch partially baked pie shell (warm), baked until light golden brown, about 10 minutes  (pre-made pie shells can be used)

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Blanch asparagus in 1 quart salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly. 

Whisk all remaining ingredients except cheese, asparagus and ham in medium bowl.  Spread cheese, asparagus and ham evenly over bottom of warm pie shell (if the pie shell has been previously baked and cooled, place it in the preheating oven for about five minutes to warm it, taking care that it does not burn).

Set shell on oven rack. Pour in custard mixture to 1/2-inch below crust rim. Bake until lightly golden brown and a knife blade inserted about one inch from the edge comes out clean, and the center feels set but soft like gelatin, 45 to 50 minutes (the center of the quiche will be surprisingly soft when it comes out of the oven, but the filling will continue to set--and sink somewhat--as it cools). Transfer quiche to rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Variation for Mushroom and Spinach Quiche:
Replace the Gruyere, ham and asparagus with mushrooms, spinach and cheddar cheese.

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
8 cups baby spinach, wilted and squeezed dried (see Baked Spinach for instructions) or 1 box frozen
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Heat a pan to med high heat, add olive oil.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, season with salt. Spoon half of the spinach mixture into the crust, add the cheese, then top with the remaining spinach mixture.

Make Ahead and Reheat
Quiche can be kept in the fridge for a few days, otherwise wrap it in plastic wrap and foil and put it in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
While oven is preheating, remove quiche from fridge to let it warm up a bit (10-15 min).
Bake quiche for 10 min (covered with foil to keep moisture in and prevent browning)

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  1. Yum! You've inspired me to make a quiche this weekend.

    1. I never think to make quiche, but a few months ago a coworker mentioned she was making one. I happened to have dough for a single crust in the freezer, so I was inspired to make my first quiche. When I decided on brunch with my family, I knew I had to make it again.

  2. I love quiche because it's pretty, you can make it ahead of time, and it's good at any temperature!