Monday, December 10, 2012

Sweet and Savory Quiche

There is something really comforting about warm quiche. The flaky crust, the soft custardy egg filling, and the nice breaks in texture from whatever delicious mix in's you have chosen. Last Saturday I had the whole day to cook but hadn't seen any recipes recently that I was overwhelmed to try. I decided it was time to ask Julia for some inspiration. I pulled out the copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking that my Grandma had passed down to me some years ago and began to browse. I'm not sure what lead me to the section on quiches but it suddenly felt so right. The weather was cold and rainy and a nice warm quiche sounded like a day well spent. The interesting thing about the way Julia Child and Simone Beck laid out the Art is that each section starts with some main techniques and then breaks down into variations of the recipe. Feeling creative I decided to take bits and pieces here and there and create my own recipe from their advice. After Saturdays effort I found a few changes I wanted to make and tried again this Saturday (the fruits of my labor going to my parents house to be consumed because really eating quiche every meal for two weeks just was too much)
 Here is the recipe for my Bacon Apple & Gruyere Sweet & Savory Quiche!

For Pastry Dough:

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2 pinches of Sugar
2 TblSp Shortening cold
1 3/4 Sticks unsalted Butter (3/4 cup) cold
4-6 TblSp ice Water

In a medium bowl add small chunks of butter to the flour, salt and sugar blending gently with your fingers by smooshing the pieces in to the flour. When all the butter has been incorporated and resembles oatmeal (as Julia described it) add the shortening with similar finger movements. Slowly the flour and fats will begin to cling together.

Once incorporated add tablespoons of ice water one at a time till you can form a disc with the dough. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for no less than 1 hour no more than 24 (it will start to dry out). Chilling it helps the fats solidify and bind with the flour and that's what gives you a nice flaky crust. During this time you can preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

 After the hour is up take 2 sheets of wax paper and lightly flour the bottom one, place your disc of dough on the flour and sprinkle some additional on top then cover with the second sheet of wax paper. gently roll out into a circle about an 1/8 of an inch thick. Gently transfer to your pie dish (Julia suggests rolling it onto your rolling pin and using that to transfer and unroll on your dish. This has never worked for me but maybe you are more coordinated!). Gently fold over the edges so they are uniform and the outer edge a little thicker. You can use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edge of the dough over the plate for a decorative look.

 Line the dough with a sheet of aluminum foil and fill with your choice of pie weight (I used dry beans). Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the over and remove the foil and weight, pierce the inner crust all over with a fork (this will help keep the crust from bubbling on the second bake) return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Let cool a bit before you add your filling! Lower your oven temp to 350 degrees.

For Filling:

4 oz Diced Pancetta or smoked bacon
1 small/medium sweet yellow onion chopped
2/3 small/medium Fuji or Pink Lady Apple Diced in 1/4 inch pieces
 (any apple that is firm and crisp in texture and equally sweet and tart in flavor is great)
3 whole eggs 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp pepper (black or white your choice white is a little milder and doesn't show up as flecks in your mix)
1 cup shredded Gruyere separated in half

In a medium sized heavy saute pan over medium heat crisp pancetta or bacon stirring regularly for about 5 minutes. Transfer pieces to a plate with a paper towel leaving the grease in the pan. Lower the stove heat to just above the lowest setting. Remove the pan from the burner and add the chopped onion stirring quickly to incorporate the hot grease without burning the onions. Return to the stove top stirring occasionally for the next 20 minutes allowing the onions to caramelize becoming very soft and sweet.

 After 20 minutes add your diced apple stirring it in to the onions allowing it to soften for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl combine eggs, egg yolks, whipping cream and seasonings and whisk together. Next whisk in one half cup of the shredded Gruyere cheese. Lastly fold in your apple & onion mixture. Arrange your crisp pancetta or bacon on the bottom of the crust shell evenly. Slowly pour your egg mixture over the bacon filling the shell. Return the whole thing to your oven that is now 350 for 20 minutes or until there is just a slight wiggle at the center of the filling, remove and turn the heat up to 400. At this time wrap the edges of the crust in foil so that they don't burn and sprinkle the remaining half cup of shredded gruyere over the top. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes until the center no longer jiggles and the top has turned a golden brown.

You can serve it right away while it is still piping hot or later when it cools down. This is a great breakfast, brunch or lunch dish, add a nice peppery salad of Arugula greens lightly dressed with olive oil lemon juice s/p and enjoy!

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