As you can tell from my recent shortlists, I’ve been making a lot of quiche. Quiche for birthdays, quiche for academics. Cold quiche for lunch, picked at for 5pm snack, warmed quiche for dinner.
Now before you get all quiche is for wussies, hear me out.
I, too, used to be a quiche-hater. When I was a child, my mom used to make it what felt like weekly much to her babes’ disgust. Both she and my dad loved it so much it was worth the inevitable tantrums, hunger strikes and fainting spells. (And just in case you get any ideas, my dad is not one of those guys.) On quiche night she would allow us to subsist on fish fingers with a side of ketchup because one day we, too, would appreciate the finer things in life.
Like the other things I previously disliked and now fawn over: spinach, shrimp, vanilla ice cream, lamb, fruit cooked with meat, wine, zucchini, carbonation. And, obviously, quiche.
My new love for quiche blossomed last time I was in the states and my mother, oblivious to the gagging noises coming from my brother’s direction, made one of her classics with spinach and bacon. Since she’s not exactly a baker or someone with much time on her hands, she always makes it with store-bought puff pastry dough, resulting in the quickest quiche ever. And she usually makes two because there’s nothing – not even pizza – better cold from of the fridge.
My version, one with speck and brie, one with bacon, was a hit both times I served it to guests this week (don’t worry, I made it again, I’m not that into efficiency), and no matter how many times I open the fridge to decide what to lunch on, cold quiche never gets old.
Maybe it’s the absurd amount of cream and cheese, maybe it’s the combination of bacon, caramelized onions and spinach, maybe it’s the fact that it gets better after a few days in the fridge, or maybe it’s growing up. Whatever it is, I love this quiche. And I think you will, too.
QUICK QUICHE (the only one you’ll ever make)
You can use premade puff pastry or shortcrust here, or go ahead and make your own pastry. You can substitute the spinach for cooked broccoli or mushrooms or nothing exclude it. You can leave out the bacon for a vegetarian meal. You can swap out much of the cream for milk, or the sour cream for cream or milk. One quiche serves 5.
1 – 2 sheets store-bought frozen puff pastry or savory shortcrust, defrosted slightly
2 onions, chopped
4 rashers bacon, chopped OR a small chunk of speck, cubed
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
2 cups mixture of sour cream, heavy cream, milk (I like using 1 cup sour cream + 1 cup cream)
1 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup feta, brie or another cheese of your liking (optional)
nutmeg, salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C (if using puff pastry. If using shortcrust, preheat oven to 350°F/180°C).
In a saute pan, fry the onions in a good knob of butter over medium-low heat until very soft, about 30 minutes. You can let the onions do their thing as you prepare the rest of the quiche. Just make sure the heat is low and they don’t burn.
Meanwhile, form defrosted puff pastry sheets to fit a spring form pan or a pie plate with high sides. Do not attempt to form it if it’s still partially frozen. You may need more than one sheet to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. It’s OK if dough hangs over the sides, as you’ll fold it on top at the end.
Once you’ve covered the pan with the dough, stick the pan in the freezer.
In a small pan, saute the spinach with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt, until it’s completely defrosted and most of the liquid has evaporated. If using fresh spinach, wilt it completely in a large pan and then, when cooled, squeeze out remaining liquid. If you’re using raw bacon, fry it in a small pan until just beginning to brown. If you’re using speck, or another smoked meat, there’s no need to cook it.
In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs and then add the sour cream, cream and milk. Grate in a teaspoon or so of nutmeg, add a good amount of freshly grated pepper and some salt. Whisk well until mixture is completely smooth.
When you’re ready to go (your oven is preheated, your onions are caramelized, your spinach is wilted and not too liquidy, your bacon/speck is ready, your custard is made, and your cheese is grated or chopped) take the dough out of the freezer.
On top of the dough, layer the ingredients in this order: spinach, onions, bacon, cheese, custard. Do not pour in all the custard if it risks overflowing. Fold any overhanging dough back up over the custard or cut it off and make fun star shapes on top like I did. Or don’t. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-40 minutes (depending on depth of pan), until the custard is just set when jiggled and a knife inserted in the middle comes out not covered in custard. It will continue to firm up after it’s taken out of the oven.
If using a spring form pan, do not take off the sides for at least 15 minutes to allow the quiche a chance to set.
In any case, let your quiche rest for about 30 minutes before serving. It’s ideal made a day or two in advance, stored in the fridge, and served either room temperature or heated.