Quiche is a food I’ve learned to love as an adult. I don’t really recall eating it as a child, though it wouldn’t surprise me if my mother fed it to us. The first time I remember eating quiche was in college (which won’t come as a surprise to those of my readers that know I went to Wellesley College, located in the well-to-do and “snobby” town of Wellesley, MA.) I don’t really remember falling in love with quiche when I ate the first time. Over the years, quiche has become a go-to brunch item for me, whether I’m making it at home or eating out. It’s crusty, savory and warm. It also makes the house smell DELICIOUS!
I learned how to make quiche from my mother-in-law. It was the first recipe I got from her, while Omar and I were still dating. I remember watching her carefully in her kitchen in Montreal and watching it puff up in the oven, similar to a soufflé. I’ve modified her recipe since then, but the basics are the same. Although I’ve substituted whole milk or half-and-half for the cream before, she was right, heavy whipping cream yields the best results. I like to load up my quiches with veggies, and the recipe below is a great example. The beauty of making your own quiche is that it is so easy to change up the recipe, adding whatever ingredients you like. It makes a great breakfast, brunch or lunch option.
My recipe below includes a recipe for a home-made crust, but you can certainly buy frozen pie crusts and roll them out for your pie pan. If you do use pre-made crusts, you do not need to pre-bake the crust, just roll it out, line the pie pan, fill with the quiche filling and bake. I modified Ellie Krieger’s Oat Crust recipe by using fat-free plain yogurt instead of buttermilk and greased my pie pan lightly with olive oil rather than cooking spray. I’ve found that plain yogurt is a great substitute for buttermilk in many recipes, especially because I almost always have plain yogurt in the fridge and almost never have buttermilk on hand.
VEGETABLE QUICHE WITH OAT CRUST
For the Oat Crust:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons cold, low-fat or non-fat plain, yogurt
olive oil, for greasing the pie pan
parchment or wax paper
For the Filling:
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small to medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (baby bella or button)
3-4 small tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
1 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed
3/4 cup heavy cream (If you have an extra deep pie pan, increase this to 1 cup)
6 large eggs (If you have an extra deep pie pan, use 8 eggs)
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried thyme
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan (or a hard cheese of your choice)
For the Oat Crust:
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease pie pan with olive oil. Pulse the oats, flour and salt a food processor about 3-5 times to combine.
Add the butter and pulse about 12-15 times, the mixture is pebbly and pale yellow, see below.
Add the yogurt and pulse another 3 to 5 times until just combined.
Form the mixture into a ball and place it between 2 large pieces of parchment paper, then roll the dough into a 10-inch circle (slightly larger if you are using an extra deep pie pan).
If the dough is too sticky, refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes before rolling out. (Roll out!) Remove once piece of the parchment paper, then transfer the crust, still on the other piece of paper to the pie dish, then remove the paper from the top. Press the crust gently into the dish.
Bake for 9 minutes, then let cool. NOTE/TIP: I often find when transferring rolled dough to the pie pan that it is easier if you remove the paper from both sides, lightly flour both sides, then fold the dough into a semi-circle, and fold again into a quarter-round. Then transfer the quarter round to the pie pan and unfold the dough in the pan.
For the Filling:
Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil (because this recipe does not use any bacon or other meat, I like to do this in a cast iron skillet to add flavor). Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms, the garlic, parsley, thyme, and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook and stir occasionally until the onions and mushrooms are soft, lightly caramelized and the liquids are re-absorbed, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onions and mushrooms to cool, about 10 minutes.
Thaw, drain and squeeze all of the liquid from the spinach. REALLY SQUEEZE IT! All of the spinach will probably fit into a large handful. If you do not squeeze ALL of the liquids out, your quiche may be watery.
In the mean time, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cream and eggs until frothy.
Salt and pepper the egg mixture and whisk lightly again. You obviously won’t be able to taste for the right amount of salt/pepper but about 1/2 teaspoon of each is probably a good estimate. The salt may depend on how salty your cheese is, but better to start with ½ teaspoon and salt before serving if necessary.
Assemble the quiche. Start by scattering 1/2 of the parmesan on all over the bottom of the pan, then scatter the spinach.
Add the onions and mushroom mixture.
Pour the egg and cream mixture over. Top with the sliced tomatoes and sprinkle the grated parmesan over everything.
TIP: Place the pie pan on a sheet pan or line the bottom of your oven with foil, in case the quiche boils over slightly in the oven. Bake the quiche until golden brown on top and the quiche is set, about 35-45 minutes. Rotate the pan ½ through baking. IT WILL BE TEMPTING TO TAKE THIS OUT OF THE OVEN TOO EARLY. The quiche will probably get very golden brown before the custard is set, if you peek with the oven light, the quiche should fluff up in the oven, similar to a soufflé, and you want to wait until the middle part of the quiche inflates before it is ready. The quiche will deflate after taking it out of the oven. Let the quiche rest at least 15 minutes before serving, I actually like quiche at room temperature.