As part of my 23 Things I want to Make in 2011 list I put Quiche on it because it's something I enjoy ordering at Mimi's Cafe. The tricky part about this recipe though is that Chris doesn't eat anything that tastes like or resembles eggs in any way (desserts containing eggs, however, are fine...apparently because they're not egg-like or egg-tasting). So, I decided why not invite our family's over and have New Years Brunch and as part of the menu, I served quiche (along with homemade waffles, savory muffins, creme brulee french toast casserole, french toast cups, and fruit salad so that Chris wouldn't starve; Some of those recipes to come in good time, by the way). What's nice about the quiche is that it can be served at room temperature so you can make it ahead of time and then tend to other dishes as it cools.
Having gotten over my fear of leeks after making the Cheddar Cauliflower Soup I decided this would be a piece of cake...err...quiche. But what made it really special was the fact that the leeks were carmelized. Okay. Now we're talking business! Carmelizing anything gives food an extra special flavor.
Seriously, this quiche was FANTASTIC and gave me the chance to use my tart pan that my friend Jackie gave me from Dinner Club Secret Santa. My brother had thirds and probably ate at least a good quarter of the quiche by himself. The filling was silky smooth (I'm guessing from the addition of sour cream in this recipe) and just glides right down your throat. Within each bite hides the rich goodies of caramelized leeks, bits of savory ham, and melty Swiss cheese. The only thing I regret is not making the pie crust from scratch. That truly would have been perfection to have a nice flaky crust holding all of the rest of the goodness. If you recall, that was also on my 23 Things in 2011 List. But, I wasn't ready to tackle that yet and frankly, I want my homemade pie crust to feature something fruity versus savory. I'm including the homemade pie crust recipe in case you want to give it a whirl but if you're lazy like me just use a pre-made pie crust.
I will be making this again...perhaps making it and New Years Brunch at our house a new tradition :).
For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Salt, to taste
- 6 tablespoons butter, diced
- 1 3/4 cups diced leeks, white and light green only (from about 2 large leeks
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 eggs, divided
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 1/2 cups diced ham (1/4 -inch dice; I used about 1/2 pound)
- 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
- Heat a large sauté pan over low heat. Sauté the leeks and onions in the olive oil 30 to 40 minutes until caramelized, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat and cool.
- If you're using a pre-made pie crust, skip Steps 2 and 3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg (a fork works great for this) and mix it until a dough forms. (Dough can also be made in a food processor, or in theory, and as the original recipe suggests, in a stand mixer.)
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate (I used 10-inch tart pan) and press to remove any air bubbles. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While the quiche shell chills, mix the heavy cream and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining three eggs. Add a pinch each nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine to form a batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the leek and onion mixture evenly over the base. Sprinkle the ham and then the cheese over the leeks and onions. Pour in the batter and place the quiche in the oven.
- Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Source: Adapted from Le Pain Quotidien as seen on Smitten Kitchen