I love quiche, and I think I know why. It's an egg and cheese pie in a crust. How could you not like that? Well, ok, my wife doesn’t care for it, or at least, she didn’t before. It's hopefully another dish I have converted her on (see cake, carrot). I made it the other night and did a little fiddling with the recipe I usually use and what do you know, she liked it! And so did I.
Quiche can be a finicky beast because of introducing such a wet filling into a delicate crust. I pre-bake my crust, which I believe is the standard. But I tried baking it a little longer this time so the bottom would crisp up and not get too soggy. On a tangent for a moment, I don’t use pie weights. I think they are a waste of money. I mean, you have to use aluminum foil anyways to line your pie and then add weights, so why not use something cheap? Like beans! I keep a bag of dried pinto beans that I use for pie weights. I like it.
Back to the subject at hand, my other issue with quiche is how much cream it takes. I like cream, but it can be a bit overkill. Doing a little rooting around on the net, I found people have started to use evaporated milk in place of cream to get richness without a ton of fat. I added that to my eggs and some salt and pepper for the custard. Last step was the actual filling, and I went traditional with spinach. Uncooked spinach has a lot of water, so I opted for the frozen stuff. I also on a whim added kielbasa, which turned out to be a great idea (ham would also work well). It looks like I get to keep quiche on the dinner menu from now on.
Spinach and Sausage Quiche
6 ounces (about 1 ¼ cups) flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons lard, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, cold
2 tablespoons water, cold
1 cup evaporated milk (2% or fat free)
1 egg white
8 ounces kielbasa, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
jack or Swiss cheese, shredded Monterey
1 ounce parmesan cheese, shredded
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, using a fork or pastry blender (or you can even use your food processor) cut in the cold butter and lard until evenly distributed. Working slowly, sprinkle the vodka and water to the dough and fold with a spatula, being careful not to over mix. Once combined, use your hands to press the dough into a rough disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. The main goal here is to ensure you have enough to cover a 9" pie pan (I used a deep dish pie pan for this) so just place the pie pan over the rolled out dough to make sure you have enough (and with some overhang). Transfer the crust to the pie plate and trim the edges to a ½-1" overhang. Using your fingers fold the edges under and crimp. Place aluminum foil over the pie crust and fill with your pie weights (or beans). Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and beans, and bake for another 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, assemble the filling. In a large skillet over medium heat add the kielbasa and cook until brown, about 6-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the kielbasa. Add the olive oil and the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the eggs, evaporated milk, and egg white to a bowl, whisk well. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the pie crust is out of the oven, decrease the oven to 350°F. Add 1/2 of the cheese followed by the kielbasa mixture and the rest of the cheese on top of that. Pour the egg mixture over the top, making sure you have even custard coverage. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top and place the quiche in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean and the quiche appears set. Remove from the oven, poke a few holes in the top of the quiche to let steam escape, and let cool for 20 minutes before serving.