Formula Cooking: Quiche

If you know a few formulas, rather than strict recipes, then you will never find yourself without something to serve for dinner.  As a matter of fact, a friend of mine shared some “recipes” from cooking school…they were all written as scientific formulas, i.e. 1 cup acid to 1 cup oil for example.

With baking, it can be much trickier because you have to have the correct proportions, but with cooking, you can have much more freedom to experiment or clean out the cupboard!

With the cold and chilly weather lately, I have been enjoying soups and baked apples and quiche!  I love quiche because it is easy to eat and easy to serve.  It also works well for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or dinner.  Add a salad, soup, or fruit and you have a delicious and full meal.

 

It is important that you get familiar with whatever pan you will use to bake the quiche.  A 5 egg quiche may be too big or too small for the pan you are using.  Although I do have a quiche pan that goes with my dinnerware, I like to make a quiche with crust in a tart pan with removable bottom.  It is so easy to serve the quiche and clean up.  Much easier than with the stoneware pan!  If I am making a crustless quiche, then I tend to use a glass pie plate.

The following can be made with or without a crust.  If you don’t use a crust, be sure to liberally grease your pan.

For my quiche (tart) pan, the following fits perfectly:

Pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
4 eggs
1 cup cream (half and half, milk, or 2% milk will work fine)
1 1/4 cup shredded cheese, divided
1 1/4 cup meat and/or vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste

All you need to do is put the unbaked pie crust in the pan.  Once in, you can easily roll your rolling pin over the outside edge of the pan to cut off any excess crust. Cover the pastry with parchment paper and fill with beans or pie weights.  Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Remove the weights and paper.

Combine all the remaining ingredients, except for 1/4 cup of the cheese, in a bowl or large measuring cup, and pour the mixture into the shell.  Top the quiche with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.  Place the quiche pan on a sheet pan to prevent any spillover from dirtying your oven.

Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Combine anything you like as the meat and cheese filling.  Good combinations include:

  • Cubed ham and frozen green peas (or broccoli) with cheddar or Swiss (or a combination of the two).
  • Chicken, cut into small pieces, and sautéed onions and bell peppers.  Mozzarella would make a great cheese to go along with these flavors.
  • Classic Quiche Lorraine includes bacon and sautéed onions as a filling and gruyere or Swiss cheese along with Parmesan as the cheeses.
  • Classic Quiche Florentine includes spinach (fresh or frozen) with Swiss cheese.

An all-vegetable filling works well too!  Options could include broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, green onions, shredded Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, spinach, fresh herbs, squash, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and/or cauliflower.  Cut into small pieces so that they cut evenly and mix well throughout the quiche.

Meat options include ham, chicken, turkey, sausage, bacon, steak, lobster, pancetta, ground beef, pepperoni, summer sausage, or shrimp.  I like to use pre-cooked meats so that I know they are done.

The baking is only to set the egg mixture and heat the other ingredients.  So frozen peas will cook easily in the quiche.  Frozen spinach should be thawed and drained of liquid so that it doesn’t make the quiche runny.  I pre-cook veggies that give off liquids when they cook.  This also can add a nice, caramelized flavor which adds depth to the taste of the quiche.  Onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes are vegetables that I like to sauté before adding to a quiche.

Cheese options:  Parmesan, cheddar, fontina, Swiss, gruyere, goat cheese, feta, ricotta, mozzarella, jack, or a combination of cheeses.

Other additions:  Depending on your tastebuds, you may like to add a sprinkle or two of freshly grated nutmeg or dry mustard.  Maybe a splash of Tabasco or picante sauce would add to a sausage and onion quiche.  Use flavor combinations that you like in other dishes and use them in a quiche!

If you prefer to layer your quiche ingredients you can put your meat and vegetables on the bottom of the baked pie shell.  Then add 1 cup of the cheese.  Follow by pouring the egg/milk and spices over the top.  That way, you can ensure each bite has plenty of flavor.

With the egg, a quiche makes for a tasty and filling treat for any time of day.  The options are limitless, which is what makes quiche an indispensable addition to your formula cooking repertioire!

Bonus Information:  If 4 eggs are too much or too little for the dish in which you are making your quiche, consider this ratio:

4 eggs: 1 part cream/milk or half and half: 1 part cheese:  1 part meat/vegetable.

If you are using a small dish and feel like 2 eggs will be plenty, then use 1/2 cup milk/cream/half and half, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1/2 cup meat/vegetable.  Top oven-ready quiche with a bit more cheese, if you choose.  And, start checking for doneness after 25 minutes.  For the small 8.5” pan used in the photos, I used this 2 egg ratio.

If you are using a large dish (such as an Emile Henry or other deep dish pie plate) then try 6 eggs, 1 1/2 cups of milk/cream/half and half, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of meat/vegetable.  Start checking for doneness after 40 minutes.

As noted, different amounts of filling and different size pie plates will change the cooking time.   If your top has darkened but your filling hasn’t fully set, then cover the pie plate with a piece of foil and keep cooking.

Items used in this video:

8.5″ pie plate (similar):  https://amzn.to/2ZJXYN5
Oxo 8.5″ strainer:  https://amzn.to/3CRVGJS
End grain cutting board with juice grooves:  https://amzn.to/3F6lQdR

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