Thursday, May 27, 2010

Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche

I mentioned earlier in the week that I had a little difficulty in making my first quiche... a hole in my pie crust causing the custard to leak out and soak the outside a bit... an error due, I think, from halfway following Michael Ruhlman's quiche advice while trying to make a Cook's Illustrated recipe (sub required). I didn't have a 9" x 2" ring mold like Ruhlman called for, but Anna did have a 9" cake pan that he cites an an alternative, so I just assumed it was high enough (which of course it wasn't).

Then I went about following a recipe meant for a pie plate in a cake pan, since Ruhlman's recipe was for Quiche Lorraine, and thus decidedly non-vegetarian. Since the recipe from Cook's was meant for a pie plate, blind baking the crust is not nearly as risky... and even if there was a hole, the crust wouldn't have separated from the plate because of the sloped sides. Of course, if I sat down to think for a second, I would have realized I could have simply substituted the leeks and goat cheese as my garnish for Ruhlman's recipe... presumably leading to a less leaky pie crust... but oh well, live and learn, right?

So here's a cobbled together version of the Cook's Illustrated recipe I used... meant for a 9" pie plate. The hardest part is really, blind-baking the pie shell... but since store bought pie shells are so uniformly terrible, it might be the most important part of the whole thing.

The Pre-Baked Pie Shell:
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
  • 3–4 tablespoons ice water
  1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with some flour. cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add shortening and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into ball with your hands, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling
  3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  4. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.
The Filling:
  • 2 medium leeks , washed thoroughly and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • pinch fresh grated nutmeg
  • 4 ounces mild goat cheese broken into 1/2-inch pieces
  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Sauté white parts leeks in butter over medium heat until soft, 5–7 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk all remaining ingredients except goat cheese in medium bowl.
  2. Spread goat cheese and leeks evenly over bottom of warm pie shell and 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 center feels set but soft like gelatin, 32 to 35 minutes. Transfer quiche to rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Despite the imperfection of the attempt, I really enjoyed my first quiche... you can't really go wrong with leeks or goat cheese, but the custard was also much lighter than I feared. It was rich without being too heavy, which is difficult line to walk.

Ruhlman's idea of a perfect quiche would be about a 1/2" deeper than the roughly 1 and 1/2" tall piece you see above... which sounds intriguing. As it was, it was hard to tell the difference between the goat cheese and the custard by sight... and I'm kind of curious to see how the texture would work out in such a deep quiche.

I've ordered a 9 and 1/2" by 2 and 3/8" ring mold, so I'd wager you'll be hearing a bit more about quiche attempts in the coming weeks.

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