The trees outside my bedroom window decided to leaf out this week, signaling that spring is in full bloom here. A week ago all I could see was filaments of grey and brown, and now the view is awash in the bright lime green of budding leaves.
Here's a quiche to celebrate the green of spring, with spinach, artichokes, shallots, and goat cheese. So good!
I have a couple insights to share regarding making quiche.
The first is that even though every proper quiche recipe recommends that you pre-bake or "blind bake" the crust, I haven't found it necessary. I use a frozen crust (I make my own, but you can easily use store-bought) because it holds its shape better when you bake the quiche in it.
The second insight has to do with a homemade crust for quiche. The trick to a perfect pastry crust for this quiche is just to make sure you have enough fat in the dough. A ratio of a 1/2 cup of butter for every 1 cup of flour is perfect.
No need to chill the butter or the water. No need for any gadgets, you can easily make the dough using your hands and a bowl.
The classic egg to liquid ratio for quiche is 1 egg for every half cup of cream or milk. In this quiche because it's so packed with spinach and artichokes, I've added another egg for more structure. Even with that extra egg, the quiche just holds together.
Spinach and Artichoke Quiche
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces, 8 Tbsp) butter
- 2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp of water
- One 9-inch pie dish
- 1/2 cup, packed, finely chopped artichoke hearts (cooked fresh or canned artichoke hearts packed in water)
- 6 ounces cooked spinach (if using frozen, thaw first), squeezed to remove excess water (wrap in clean tea towel or several layers of paper towels and squeeze), finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 4 eggs (large)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tbsp minced chives or green onion greens
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
Cut the butter into cubes and use your (clean) hands to work the butter into the flour until you have a mixture that looks like a coarse meal with pieces of butter no bigger than a pea.
Sprinkle water onto the flour mixture a little at a time, and work the dough with your hands until the dough can be formed into a ball.
Flatten the ball into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and let come to room temp for 10 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a diameter 2 inches wider than your pie or tart pan. Drape the rolled out dough over the pie or tart pan and press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim and crimp the edges.
Place in freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.
(Optional) Pre-bake the crust:
At this point, if you want, you can "blind bake" or pre-bake the crust. Pre-baking the crust will ensure that the bottom crust is browned and won't get soggy. I often skip this step and find that although the bottom crust might not get browned, it's usually perfectly palatable.
To pre-bake a store-bought crust, just follow the directions on the crust package.
To pre-bake the homemade crust in this recipe, line the inside with aluminum foil and fill it with pie weights such as beans. The foil and the pie weights will help keep the sides of the crust from sliding down as it bakes.
Bake for 15 minutes at 375°F, then remove the foil and weights, prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork , and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool down a bit before filling with the quiche custard filling.
Cook the shallots:
Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the minced shallots and cook 3 to 4 minutes until translucent. Remove from heat.
Prepare the filling:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the goat cheese and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the milk, cream, salt, pepper, chopped spinach, chopped artichokes, the cooked shallots, lemon zest, and the chives.
Bake the quiche:
Pour filling into the frozen pie crust. (If you are using a tart pan with a removable bottom, you may want to put the pan on a foil lined or rimmed sheet pan.)
Place in oven. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and cook for 30 minutes, or until the center of the quiche has set.
Let cool before serving:
Remove from oven and let sit and cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.