Quiche is one of those things that is very simple, but can go very wrong very QUICKLY! Sure, it’s a bit fussier than a frittata but when you get the perfect bite of custardy eggs in combination with buttery and flaky pastry there are few things better. Now I know what you are thinking. How do I prevent the dreaded “Soggy Bottom” without overcooking my eggs?! Blind Bake!
Blind baking is a process by which you par-bake your pie crust so that it’s already crisp before you introduce your filling. To give myself even more protection, I brush my blind baked pie shell with egg wash and bake it for an extra five minutes to sort of seal off the pie crust before adding my custard.
As for the filling; go nuts! You can add almost anything to a quiche. In fact, it’s a great way to reinvent leftovers. You can toss in odds and ends of roasted veggies, leftover ham; whatever you happen to have on hand.
For my Spring Quiche I used the Holy Grail of Spring veggies, RAMPS! If you are not familiar, ramps are wild leeks that are super pungent but have a mild flavor that is a cross between yellow onion, leeks and garlic. The thing about ramps are they can be quite elusive and hard to find; blink and you’ll miss them! If you can’t get your hands on a bunch, scallions will work just as well.
For the Pie Crust
- 11/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons chopped ramp tops
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, frozen and grated
- 1/3 cup cold buttermilk
- 1 Handsome Brook Farm Pasture-Raised Organic Egg, beaten
For the Quiche
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 1 bunch ramps, divided (dark green leaves roughly chopped, tender white bulbs minced)
- 1 cup chopped asparagus, tough woody ends discards, tender stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 Handsome Brook Farm Pasture-Raised Organic Eggs
- 11/4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
To make the crust, add the flour, chopped ramp tops and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add grated frozen butter and toss to coat. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until pea-sized clumps form.
Add the buttermilk and stir the mixture together with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead together by hand for a few seconds until you can form the dough into an even disc.
Wrap the dough and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Once chilled, roll the dough into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the crust to a 9 inch pie plate. Trim the edges, tucking the excess under before crimping the edges. Prick the bottom and side of the crust all over with the tines of a fork.
Place the prepared pie dough in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Once the prepared pie dough has chilled, line the crust with tin foil or parchment paper (make sure the paper or foil is not covering the edge of the crust) and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place in the oven to blind bake for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and take out the pie weights and paper or foil. Return the pie to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven and brush with beaten egg. Cook for a final 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the quiche filling by adding the oil and pancetta to a large sauté pan. Set over medium heat and cook until the fat has rendered and pancetta is crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add ramp bulbs to the fat and cook for about 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add asparagus and peas and cook until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, add eggs, milk, creme fraiche, kosher salt and pepper and whisk until thoroughly blended. Add reserved pancetta, asparagus and pea mixture, chopped ramp tops and both cheeses to the blind baked pie, then pour the custard mixture on top. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and set in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until set and golden brown.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.