Despite the best intentions to share today’s recipe earlier this week, my rambunctious baby has kept me from my laptop with her unexpected high energy. Now that she’s past the three-month mark, Alice is so excited about the new skills she’s learning (kicking me in the ribs, grabbing hanging toys, cooing “hai” on repeat, and giggling when I read her stories) that she hardly has time for sleep. Those “numerous nap” days are now behind us. Only a matter of time before she’s reading to me.
The past few weeks I’ve been craving a filling quiche that would keep well in the fridge for lunch leftovers. Before we went on our grocery run last Saturday, I happened upon this quiche recipe in Ken Haedrich’s Dinner Pies cookbook. I’ve made a vegetable pot pie and a classic chicken pot pie from the book, and both turned out stellar. Haedrich’s a master pie dough creator, and he devotes a chapter of this savory pie cookbook to quiche. Below you’ll find my adaptation of his Greek Cauliflower and Spinach Quiche.
While I love the mild cauliflower balancing the stronger feta and olives in this quiche, my major change in the filling is the amount of onion called for in the quiche. Maybe my onion was particularly large, but using a large onion, even when reduced by sautéing, threatens to overshadow the other ingredients and reduces the amount of custard that can fit within the crust. Use a smaller onion, and you’re on the way to a rich and flavorful main course that will help take the chill off interminable winter. And if you’re in the market for a Valentine’s Day quiche, this recipe will wow your Valentine. Just be sure that you both eat plenty. Onion breath is less noticeable when others have it, too.
Greek Cauliflower and Spinach Quiche
(adapted from a Dinner Pies recipe)
Makes 8 servings
For the Pie Dough:
– 10 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 tsp white vinegar
– Scant 1/3 cup cold water
For the Filling:
– 2 1/2 TBS olive oil
– 1 medium onion, halved and sliced thinly
– 2 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets
– 1/2 cup vegetable broth
– 2 cups chopped and packed spinach leaves (be sure to de-stem.)
– 2 large plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 3 large eggs
– 2/3 cup heavy cream
– 2/3 cup half-and-half
– 2 TBS all-purpose flour
– 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1/2 tsp dried thyme
– 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used Bulgarian feta.)
– 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
– 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Make the Pie Dough:
1. Place your cubed butter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl and refrigerate that mixture also. Pour the vinegar into a 1-cup glass measure cup. Add enough water to make 1/3 liquid, and refrigerate.
2. When you’re butter, flour mixture, and liquid are icy cold, transfer the flour mixture to a food processor. Pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid, and scatter a little more than half of the butter cubes over the dry mixture in the processor. Pulse several times to mix. Remove lid and add remaining butter. Pulse several more times to mix. (You want to see a crumbly texture, proving that the butter and flour are mixed.)
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Loosen the mixture with a fork. Drizzle about half of the liquid over the mixture. Stir together, adding a little more mixture each time between mixing until the dough start to form. (The mixture will still look crumbly but more clumps than crumb.)
4. Now, using your hands rub the crumbs/clumps together to make sure fat is distributed. As the dough forms, pack it into a ball and knead gently, three or four times, on a lightly floured surface.
5. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, flattening the dough into a 1-inch disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can also refrigerate overnight, if you want to do quiche the next day. You can even place wrapped dough in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 2 months. (If you freeze, thaw overnight in the fridge before using.)
Now, it’s quiche time!
1. After you’ve prepared your pie dough and refrigerated it for at least 2 hours, it’s time to roll it out and prebake it. On a lightly floured sheet of wax paper, roll the dough into a 13-to-13 1/2-inch circle. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan or dish or a similar-size tart pan, center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge. Refrigerate the shell for 1 hour, then partially prebake and cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, spinach, tomatoes, and garlic. Salt lightly. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid evaporates and the cauliflower is just crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in the heavy cream and half-and-half. Whisk in the flour, mustard, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt, and ground black pepper to taste.
4. Spoon the vegetables into the partially prebaked shell. Scatter the feta cheese and olives on top. Slowly pour the custard over everything.
5. Bake on the center oven rack until the quiche is lightly browned and solid–not soupy–in the center, 45 to 50 minutes; probe with a pain knife to check. At the 20 minute mark, sprinkle the Parmesan over the top of the quiche and return to bake for last 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the quiche to a rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.