There are two recipes that I call my very best friends. Both have been with me for many years and created countless moments of utter bliss. The first is the Most Perfect Cinnamon Fruit Crumble Cake (see page 196) and the other is this quiche with the most buttery, flaky crust. It's as versatile as pizza, so you can use different vegetable and cheese combinations. Filling the pastry with pear wedges, crumbled blue cheese, and rosemary, is a minimal take on the recipe. It's an elegant savory tart, great for picnics, brunches, or as a starter for dinner. I always blind bake my crust, though I have to admit, I often skip the recommended step of lining the dough with dried legumes. Instead, I just prick the dough with a fork to keep it from bubbling up, but the choice is yours.
Serves 4 to 8
For the pastry
2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (130 g) unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg
For the topping
2 large, firm pears, cut into thin wedges
3 ounces (85 g) aromatic blue cheese, such as Stilton, Roquefort, Fourme d'Ambert or Gorgonzola, crumbled
3 medium sprigs fresh rosemary, needles only
3 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt
A few black peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle
For the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined. Add the egg and mix with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until crumbly. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).On a table or countertop, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out into a disc, large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 12-inch (30 cm) quiche dish. Fit the dough into the quiche dish, pushing it into the dish, especially along the edges. Let the dough hang over the rim a little or cut it off with a knife. Use a fork to prick the dough all over. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. If the dough bubbles up, push it down with a fork. (If you blind bake the pastry under parchment paper and dried legumes, remove the paper and legumes after 15 minutes and bake uncovered for a few more minutes until golden.)
Arrange the pear wedges in overlapping circles on top of the warm, pre-baked pastry, sprinkle with the cheese and most of the rosemary, drizzle with the olive oil, and season to taste with flaky sea salt and crushed peppercorns. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the pastry is crisp. Sprinkle with the remaining rosemary and enjoy warm or cold.