Sunday, November 14, 2010

Broccoli and Apple Quiche

This quiche, from Chocolate and Zucchini:  Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen, represents a happy little marriage of fall produce.  It requires fewer eggs than your standard quiche, and it bakes in about 30-35 minutes (as opposed to the near-hour those with more eggs need).  And the broccoli adopts some of the sweetness of its betrothed (the apple), making it a perfectly sneaky way to get my boys to eat the immensely healthy cruciferous vegetable.

The quiche can be made the day before, refrigerated, and then reheated for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven to restore the crispness of the crust.

For the crust, you can either buy the prepared pie dough rolls (in the refrigerated section), or you can make your own.  If you have a food processor, making your own is a SNAP.  Even if you don't have one, it is not hard at all.  You won't believe the difference in the taste. 

Look beneath the quiche recipe, below, for more discussion about and a recipe for quiche crust.

Broccoli and Apple Quiche
Serves 4-6

Crust to line 9-inch quiche pan or pie dish (See recipe below.)

1 medium head broccoli, florets only, rinsed and cut into small chunks
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup light cream (you can use half-and-half)
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper (if you don't have freshly ground, just use what you have)
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (same principle applies:  if you don't have fresh nutmeg and a grater,  use what you do have or skip it)
1 teaspoon olive oil for greasing the pan
1 medium crisp apple (like Fuji or Granny Smith), or 2 small ones
4 ounces goat cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (or substitute 1 cup grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese)

1.  If making your own crust, see recipe below.  Prepare it and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

2.  Steam the broccoli florets for about 7 minutes, until cooked but still firm.  (You want them to remain bright green, so keep an eye on them.)  Strain through a colander. 

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and eggs.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, if using. 

4.  If using your own crust, remove it from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes (it needs to soften just a bit so you can roll it out without it cracking).  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9-10 inch quiche pan or a standard pie dish (not a "deep-dish") with the olive oil.  Working on a lightly flowered surface, roll out the dough in a 12-inch circle.  Transfer the dough into the pan, prick the bottom all over with a fork, and press on the sides with your fingers to the dough will adhere.  Bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden.

5.  Peel, quarter, core, and dice the apple.  Remove the pan from the oven (leave the heat on).  Arrange the broccoli, apple and cheese in the tart shell.  Pour in the milk mixture.  Bake for about 35 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the quiche in the closed oven for about 10 minutes so the filling can fully set. 

6.  Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes or so.  Serve warm.

Serving suggestion:  Steamed green beans and Pear Spinach Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Quiche/Savory Crust

I've learned so much about good cooking from Clotilde Dusoulier, author of the Chocolate and Zucchini books and blog

Several years ago, I was in a major cooking slump/rut and was easily overwhelmed with the mere thought of food preparation.  We ate a lot of sandwiches.  My mom sent me Clotilde's first book.  I sat on the couch to warily thumb through it, but ended up reading it cover to cover.  I felt like I had received a pep talk from Clotilde herself.  I even emailed her and told her such (and she emailed me back!). 

This is her recipe for quiche crust.  It's different from regular pie crust in that it doesn't contain sugar.  (I'll post a recipe later for a yummy, sweet pie dough).  From the length of the instructions, below, it looks like a lot of work.  It is not. After you try it a time or two, you won't have to look at the recipe beyond the ingredient list. 

Quiche Crust
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, beaten
Ice-cold water

1.  If working with a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter in the processor.  Process at low speed for about 10 seconds, until the mixture resembles a course meal.  Add the egg and mix again for a few seconds, until the dough comes together in a ball. (Don't overmix it!)  If the dough is still a little dry, add ice-cold water, one teaspoon at at time, and process again in short pulses until the dough comes together.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface, and gather into a ball without kneading.  Proceed to step 2.

If working by hand, sift the flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add salt and diced butter, and rub the mixture into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers or a wire pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl.  Form a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the egg, and blend it in gently with a fork.  When most of the egg is incorporated, knead gently until the dough comes together.  The dough should still be crumbly, but it should clump if you gently squeeze a handful in your hand. If it doesn't, add ice-cold water, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball.  Avoid overworking the dough, or it will be tough.  Proceed to step 2.

2.  Shape the dough into a slightly flattened ball.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a day.  Let stand at room temperature before using, just long enough that the dough can be rolled out without cracking:  this usually takes about 10 minutes, but it will vary depending on the heat and humidity of your kitchen.  The dough can also be frozen for up to a month.

3.  Sprinkle flour lightly on a clean work surface and on your rolling pin, and place the slightly flattened ball of dough on the work surface in front of you.  Roll the pin over the dough two or three times with moderate pressure.  Rotate the dough by a quarter of a turn clockwise and roll the pin over it two or three times.  Repeat these steps until you get a circle large enough to line your pan, sprinkling the work surface and the rolling pin with a little more flour when the dough starts to stick to either of them.

Variations:  You can flavor the dough with a tablespoon of dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano), 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground spices (nutmeg, ginger, cumin), or 1/4 cup grated hard cheese (Parmesan in particular).  Add these flavorings with the flour.


Heather said...

This looks delice!! I want some tonight but maybe someday this week. I'm just struggling with trying to make time for food prep, dishes chores cleanup when i am working and trying to prepare for an art show in 3 weeks! I hate that I can't do it all and am feeling my limitations. I am in a cooking fit for sure! I couldn't even make Robert a grilled cheese last nite. Needless to say we are going out for Indian tonight. No cooking no burning and no dishes. ..... Ps. I heart cardamom too! Where do you find yours?

Heather-Gathering Spriggs said...

meant to say "cooking rut". Im in a cooking rut.

ps. love your colorful new dishware in these photos.

Ginny said...

Cooking involves a major time commitment. It is beyond difficult when you have other tasks, jobs, kids, etc. Don't be so hard on yourself! It will lead to complete frustration and burn-out (if you aren't already there...sounds like you might be). No one can do it all. You should see my laundry situation. Something over here always "gives" when I am cooking.
Don't let the "cooking failure" voices start getting to you! I have sat at your table and enjoyed amazing feasts!! You are an excellent cook!

I got the cardamom at one of our little local grocery stores. But I have seen it at Wal-Mart.

Awww...thanks for noticing the dishes! I just got them on Saturday at WM...they are Better Homes & Garden...and were only $2 a piece!