Quiche: A Great Way to Use Those Holiday LeftoversWednesday, April 3
Another holiday weekend has come and gone.
The house has emptied and you are slowly getting back to reality, well, except for one thing, your fridge. Despite your best efforts to pack your parting guests with a doggie bag, your fridge is still packed with leftovers. Bowls of potatoes, plates of turkey, mountains of ham, and countless slabs of pie stacked to the rafters. By now you can’t fathom choking down yet another ham sandwich for dinner. It’s time for something different, but what?
The truth is the options are endless, but what I like to do when dealing with leftovers is thinking of dishes I can make that are versatile and can handle an assortment of ingredients. One option would be a pasta dish. Pasta can be so versatile. Combine some ham, chopped turkey, tomatoes, vegetables in a pan with a spoonful of pesto and some white wine or chicken stock and you have a fantastic dish.
If you are looking for something different though, try a quiche. Quiche can take on a variety of ingredients as long as you understand the basics.
Although known as a classic French dish, the quiche originated in Germany. The word quiche means “cake” which came from the German word Kuchen. Today quiche is considered as typically French, however, savory custards in pastry were known in English cookery all the way back to the 14th century.
The first thing to know about making a quality quiche is that it requires a good quality pastry shell. If you’ve had a busy week, or don’t really have any baking skills, you can settle for picking up a quality, frozen, pie dough, but it’s just not the same as making your own. Here is a great recipe that will work great for a 9-10 inch pie shell and is extremely versatile. It can also be assembled in about 10 minutes or so, with little effort.
Versatile Pie Dough
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 2+ hours
Special Tools: food processor (for ease, but not necessary), non-stick pie pan
1+ 1/8 cups AP flour
2 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
3 Tbsp. cold water
½ Tbsp. lemon juice
Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and pulse together just to combine
Place the cold butter cubes in the food processor and pulse to combine with the dry ingredients, mix until it begins to form a small crumble
Combine water and lemon juice, then add to the dry ingedients, pulsing until combined, but do not overmix
Once combined, remove from food processor and roll into a ball, flatten out to a disk and then wrap in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for at the least 2 hours, you need the dough to be chilled before rolling out
If doing this by hand, combine the dry ingredients, cut in the butter with a pastry knife or a fork, then add your water and combine until a ball forms and then wrap and refrigerate
Once rested, lightly flour the work surface, and begin to roll out the disc to about ½ inch thick, lightly flouring as necessary
Roll it out to about 20% larger than your pie shell, then place in the pie shell and trim away the excess, using a paring knife
In order to avoid the dough from shrinking back while baking, I place it back in the fridge for about 30 minutes before I bake it
This pie dough is easy to work with and versatile. If you wish to use it for sweet pies and desserts, simply double the sugar. Once you have the dough mastered, it’s time to understand how the filling comes together.
A quiche isn’t all that much different than an omelette, the fillings and combinations are only limited by your mind and what’s available in your pantry. I do recommend considering the flavour combinations before just throwing everything together. It might save you a bad meal. I really like to keep my ingredients themed around regions and ingredients that like each other. You can do French, using ham, brie and spinach, or Latin, with turkey, peppers, onions, cheddar, and a little spice, or my personal favourite quiche, Mediterranean.
The last thing to consider is the actual egg filling. Depending on how large your pie shell is, or how many ingredients you put in the pie, it’s a good idea to understand the ratio of your egg mixture so that you can add a little more if necessary. Essentially you are making what chefs refer to as a royale, a combination of whole eggs and heavy cream. For our sake we will simply use four large eggs for every cup of heavy cream. If more is required, simply using ¼ cup of heavy cream for every additional egg you think you need.
Now that you understand the basics, let’s put a delicious quiche together.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 35-45 minutes
Feeds: 3-4, with a salad
1 cup chopped ham
½ cup creamy goat cheese
½ cup kalamata olives
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
These are just the ingredients that I have chosen to use to fill my quiche. Feel free to add some of your favorites, like mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc, or take out items that you don’t have.
Preheat the oven to 375F
In the bottom of your pie shell scatter the crumbled goat cheese
Place spinach throughout the bottom of the shell, followed by the ham, olives, and cherry tomatoes
In a bowl, combine eggs and heavy cream, season and whisk to combine
Pour the egg mixture over the filling until it reaches just shy of the top of the pie crust
If necessary, add an additional egg and ¼ cup of cream
Place the pie on a baking sheet and place in the middle of the oven
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the pastry has browned and the eggs have set firm
Remove from oven and let rest 3-4 minutes, then slice and serve, or you can cool down and reheat again later
Serve with a delicious salad and you have a wonderful meal that uses up your leftovers in a unique and delicious way