blind baking + Christmas bonus
Quiche is such a versatile dish. It is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. It’s wonderful on it’s own or alongside a salad, drizzled with a vinaigrette. Delicious served hot from the oven or at room temperature… No wonder real men not only eat, but love quiche! Bake this the day ahead, reheat and enjoy on Christmas morning as gifts are being opened.
Believe it or not, I’ve never used a frozen piecrust before. I really enjoy making crust from scratch, but a friend told me that the new pie crusts at Trader Joe’s were as good as homemade, so thought I’d give them a try with a quiche recipe. Here’s what I’ve discovered; the frozen crusts look great, you can see the little bits of real butter in the dough, just as with a homemade dough, a good start! After reading the ingredients, found there is palm oil… not good… but it is the third to the last ingredient listed with only water and salt after it, so I’m hopeful there isn’t too much in there. The crust shrunk quite a bit more than a homemade one would during the blind bake, but the real test – the taste? Pretty darn good, I’d give it about an 8 out 0f 10, with homemade crust being a perfect 10.
So what exactly is blind baking? It is when you bake and brown a crust without the filling. Blind baking a crust is necessary when it will be filled with an unbaked filling or when the filling has a shorter baking time than the crust needs to become cooked through. Blind baking also helps prevent the crust from becoming soggy from its filling. To accomplish this you can either poke the uncooked pastry with a fork, or line the pastry shell with foil or parchment paper and weight it down with ceramic or metal pie weights. This allows the steam created by the butter to escape in the case of poking, or prevents the crust from puffing up, when weighted. If you do not want to invest in pie weights, no problem, just weigh down the shell with dry beans or raw rice. You can use the beans or rice a couple times for this purpose, but after that, toss them in the trash. As they bake over and over, they will loose their natural moisture and no longer be heavy enough to be effective.
The technique for caramelizing the onions for this quiche is different than the methods I’ve posted here before. Adding water and bringing the onions to a boil, allows the onions to completely soften without a chance of burning. Once the water has dissipated, the onions caramelize evenly and easily.
Caramelized Onion, Swiss, and Bacon Quiche
Two 9-inch frozen pastry shells, thawed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line two 9-inch pie, quiche, or tart pans with thawed pastry shells, press up sides to fit. Line the shells with aluminum foil and place pie weights, dry beans, or uncooked rice on top of foil to weight down crust. Place the quiche pans on a cookie sheet, and blind bake the for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil, and cook another 5 minutes, or until crusts are lightly browned. Remove from oven and spread 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard evenly over bottom of each crust with the back of a spoon. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, place the onions, garlic, oil and water in a skillet, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Boil, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the onions are soft.
Add the thyme leaves and cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently until onions are browned and caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Beat the eggs in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the salt, pepper, cheese, milk, and cream. Mix in the caramelized onions and bacon.
Pour the filling into the shells. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is completely set and browned on top. Let the quiches cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.
Makes 2 quiche, each serves 8
The bonus? From now through Christmas I’m going to put up pictures of my favorite kitchen Christmas ornaments at the bottom of each post. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 🙂