To me making a pie crust has always been a daunting task. I’ve had couple of bad experiences both with homemade and store bought pie crusts in the past which made me avoid making a pie altogether. To be honest I’m not a big fan of pie. Given a chance I would rather enjoy the filling without the crust.
But quiche is a different story. I fell in love with quiche the first time I ate it about 10 years ago. One of my co-workers brought it over for potluck lunch and I probably ate almost the whole pie. I tried to recreate it at home a couple of time, but the pie crust failed me. I finally gave up on it. I never dared to make it even though it was always on the back of my mind.
Finally this weekend I decided it was time for me to try my hand at making the pie crust and quiche. I already had a bookmarked recipe for quiche with spelt flour crust from Culinate. It is not the recipe that made me bookmark the article, it is the way the author gives you confidence in making the pie crust. She makes you feel that anyone can make a pie crust and the detailed instructions really help.
This pie crust is made of Spelt flour (equal quantity of whole wheat flour can be substituted here) and uses a stick of butter and half a stick of cream cheese. The dough is soft and really easy to handle. I had trouble fluting the edges and at one corner I trimmed too much of the excess which resulted in shrunken crust after baking. But that didn’t really affect the final taste of the quiche, the crust turned was flaky & buttery.
Filling for a quiche is very customizable. I went with caramelized onions and zucchini filling inspired from recipe from Cooking Light. Roasted vegetables or spinach or mushroom and leeks would be great as well. Whatever veggie you choose for the filling, make sure to boil, steam or cook it until slightly tender.
All in all, the quiche didn’t turn out horrendous as I thought but it wasn’t magnificent either. I have a long way to go before I can make a decent pie crust, but I’m sure that I won’t wait for another 10 years to try to make my next one.
Make note that the pie crust needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, so plan accordingly. Pie crust can be made up to 3 days in advance. Just leave it at room temperature for a little longer so it will be easy to handle.
Caramelized Onion & Zucchini Quiche (with Spelt flour Crust)
For the Pie Crust:
- 1 cup Spelt flour
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter (1 stick), cut into small cubes
- 4 oz Cream cheese (½ of a 8oz. block), cut into cubes
For the Filling:
- 3 Onions - medium, thinly sliced
- 2 Zucchini - medium, cut into thin rounds
- 2 cloves Garlic - thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 Eggs Large
- 1 cup Milk (I used 2% milk, but 1% or whole milk can be used. Heavy cream and half-and-half can also be used)
- 1 tbsp Flour
- ½ cup Cheese Mild melting - finely grated (I used Monterey Jack cheese)
- to taste Salt Pepper &
- Make the Pie Crust: Combine flour, salt, pepper and dried herbs in a food processor. Pulse or blend until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal.
- Add the cubed butter and cream cheese. Blend until the mixture comes together into a shaggy dough. Initially it looks like it is not going to come together, but keep blending for about 30 seconds and the dough will form. If it doesn't then add 1tbsp of cold water and blend again.
- Remove the dough onto a plastic wrap. Form into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or for up to 3 days. Dough can be frozen for 1 month.
- For the filling - Caramelized Onions: Heat 1tbsp oil in a non-stick pan, add the thinly sliced onions and cook on medium flame, stirring occasionally until the onions start to caramelize. This takes anywhere between 35~45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside until ready to use.
- Zucchini-Garlic filling: In the same pan, heat 2tsp oil and add red pepper flakes and garlic cloves. Cook on medium flame until garlic turns golden. Make sure that it doesn't burn.
- Next add thinly sliced zucchini and cook on medium-high flame for 2~3 minutes or until they are crisp-tender. I sliced the zucchini really thin, so I had to cook for very little time. Season with salt and pepper.
- For the Custard: In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, flour, milk, grated cheese and salt & pepper. Whisk until well combined.
- Bake the Pie Crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. About an hour before you want to bake the quiche, remove the crust from the fridge and set aside for a few minutes before working on it. Dough tends to break when it is rolled really cold.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 1/8" thick, 11~12" reasonably round disc. Make sure to move the dough often to prevent sticking to the board. Dust with more flour if you feel that the dough is sticking.
- Roll the dough carefully on the rolling pin and gently place it on a 9" pie plate. Remove the excess dough hanging over the plate and flute the edges (to the best of your ability). There will be enough dough left to make a small galette the next day.
- Place a parchment paper or foil on the crust and weigh it down using pie weights or beans (I used about 3.5cups of raw rice). Press the pie weights down on the crust to ensure that there are no air pockets or places where the crust can puff up. Bake for 15~20 minutes or until the crust is almost set and the edges start to brown. Remove the pie weight and bake the crust for another 5~7 minutes.
- Time to bake the Quiche: Arrange the caramelized onions on the crust. Top it with the zucchini mixture. Slowly pour in the custard. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 30~35 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before slicing.