Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lots of eggs? Make a quiche!

Back in late winter/early spring, we added a few new residents here on the farm. We now have 20+ of these lovely ladies residing here at Waterberry. Since then we've received lots of beautiful fresh eggs, everyday. The chickens each lay an egg almost everyday, which adds up fast! A quiche is a delicious way to use some of those beautiful eggs. Quiches are so versatile. You can add in almost anything you have on hand. This one was made with bacon, spinach, Swiss cheese, and onions, but you could substitute ham for the bacon, add any kind of cheese, add in some mushrooms etc... the combinations are almost endless! 

For the crust:*
2 cups flour
1⁄4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp. cold vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces

The filling:
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 large handful of fresh spinach
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
4 large eggs, preferable farm fresh free range eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

For the crust: Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to work butter and shortening into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle in up to 6 tbsp. ice water, stirring the dough with a fork until it just begins to hold together. Using your hands, press dough firmly into a rough ball, then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Give the dough several quick kneads with the heel of your hand to form a smooth dough, then shape into a ball, flatten slightly to make a round, and dust with flour. Wrap round in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°. Allow dough to soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out on a lightly floured surface into a 14'' round. Fit dough, into a 9" pie pan Press overhanging dough down slightly into sides of ring to make the sides of the crust a little thicker and sturdier, crimp the edge to make a decorative crust. Using a fork, prick bottom lightly. Place the crust into the refrigerator to chill about 20 minutes. Line dough with buttered aluminum foil, then add pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is set and edge just begins to color, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights, and continue baking until crust is pale golden, another 2-5 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 375°. In a skillet cook the bacon until browned and crispy. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of the bacon fat, add the onion and cook until tender, about 2 minutes, add the spinach and saute until its wilted down. Sprinkle cooked, crumbled bacon over the bottom of the baked quiche crust. Add the shredded cheese and onion spinach mixture. In a bowl whisk eggs, cream, and salt together and season to taste with nutmeg and pepper. Pour mixture into crust and bake until custard is puffed and golden and just set in the center, 30-35 minutes. Serve quiche warm or at room temperature, sliced into wedges.

*You can use a store bought crust, if you want. However, here's a tip for making a quiche in a homemade crust in a hurry: keep 1 or 2 pie crusts, ready to go in the freezer. Make the crust, put it into your pie pan, wrap the unbaked crust well with plastic wrap and freeze until you want to bake your quiche. Then just take it out of the freezer and proceed with the recipe.

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