Garden Vegetable Quiche
Updated: May 31, 2020
An easy and elegant edible garden perfect for a special occasion or just because.
Quiche is one of those dishes that is truly all about technique. When done right, a quiche can be a triumph. When done poorly, a quiche can be tragic (undercooked crust, soggy bottom, loose filling). A proper quiche should have a flaky and tender crust that is first blind-baked and then filled with a well-seasoned custard and any other elements like vegetables, herbs, cheese, and potentially meats. Inspired by the notion that "friends are the flowers in the garden of life," I designed the quiche pictured to reflect a bouquet of flowers. I host a luncheon every spring in memory of a beloved friend and in honor of friendship and motherhood. This quiche is the most perfect dish for such an occasion and expresses those warm feelings of blossoming friendship.
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; food processor with dough blade; rolling pin; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large mixing bowl; whisk; box grater; 9- or 10-inch fluted baking dish or fluted French tart pan; pastry brush; parchment paper; pie weights or a bag of dry beans; small offset spatula
Pastry Ingredients: 2½ cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1¼ cup cold unsalted butter (2½ sticks) 1/3 cup ice water
By hand: Combine the flour, kosher salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks, then cut each tablespoon into quarters. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and squeeze the butter with the tips of your fingers, working it into the flour, until the fat is the size of peas. Drizzle the water over the mixture and continue working the dough with your fingers until all that fat and flour is incorporated and the dough comes together in a large ball. Gather the dough, form it into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
In the food processor: Combine the flour, kosher salt, and sugar in a food processor for 10 seconds. Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks and scatter over the flour mixture (while the machine is off). Very carefully pulse in 2-second intervals until the fat is the size of peas. With the machine turned off, drizzle the water over the mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form into small balls. If the dough will come together when pressed with your fingers, gather the dough, form it into two discs, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate. If not, drizzle a bit more ice water over the dough and pulse again. Gather the dough, form it into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
5 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half & half
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1 cup grated Gruyere or Comté
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ bunch asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed 1 red bell pepper, roasted (seeds and skin removed)
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted (seeds and skin removed)
2-3 shallots, peeled, halved vertically, and roasted
3 thin carrots, roasted
fresh dill sprigs
1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons cold water
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Dust lightly with flour the top of the disc - and the rolling pin - and roll the dough to a 14-inch circle, between 1/8- and ¼-inch thick, working from the center outward. Dust off any excess flour with a pastry brush.
3. Fold the circle of dough in half and then in half again. Transfer the dough to the baking dish or tart pan and unfold it to cover the bottom of the pan, gently pressing the dough into the sides and bottom of the pan. Trim the excess with a sharp paring knife or scissor (save the dough for another use). Dock the bottom of the dough with a fork a dozen or more times, and place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30-60 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables for the quiche. Slice the roasted pepper halves into strips. Take three strips and overlap to form one long, thin line. Using your fingers or paring knife, roll the peppers like cinnamon rolls to form "roses." Make at least six "roses" and set aside. Cut the roasted carrots on bias crosswise to make ¼-inch thick slices. Set aside.
5. Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and then remove parchment paper and the pie weights/dry beans. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until the pastry is lightly brown and cooked. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. Lower the heat to 325°F.
"Blind baking is an essential technique in making a quiche. If you fail to pre-bake the dough, the crust will be undercooked at best and soggy at worst. Blind baking is a must."
6. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and half & half to blend well and make a custard. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
ILOC tip: do not whisk too vigorously or you might incorporate too much air into the eggs, which could result in bubbles in the finished product.
7. Spread the cheese over the bottom of the crust and then carefully pour the custard over the cheese. Fan the asparagus spears across the width of the quiche, spears at the top and trimmed bottoms at the bottom.
8. Now, build the "bouquet." Using a small offset spatula or a paring knife, carefully lift the pepper "roses" onto to the top third of the quiche, resting on the asparagus spears. Gently place the roasted shallot halves (the "tulips"), inside facing up, amongst the "roses." Then tuck the carrot slices amidst the other vegetable "flowers."
9. Bake the quiche in the 325°F oven for 30 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before adding just a few sprigs of dill for additional garnish.
ILOC tip: do not overbake your quiche to the point of "blossoming," and puffing up. This is a sign that the eggs might have scrambled in your custard.
Makes 6-8 servings.