Lately, I’ve been trying to eat more protein. This is especially tricky around lunchtime, when my go-to meal tends to be bread with a side of bread. And as much as I love an egg over-medium with bacon, it gets old eating that every single day. (I know, I never thought I’d say that, either.)
Still, when it comes to protein-packed goodness, it doesn’t get much better than the humble egg. Sure, the organic and cage-free varieties can seem spendy, but are they really that expensive per pound when you consider what you get out of them?
Aren’t those eggs beautiful? I got them from the same farmer who sold us Frances, The Free-Range Chicken.
Lately I’ve been making a lot of quiche, much to the delight of my family. They’re easy and relatively cheap to make, you can add anything you and your family likes, and you can make three or four quiches at a time and then eat them over several days. They just taste better after sitting in the fridge for a while, as far as I’m concerned.
Quiche is a perfect vehicle for healthy stuff like spinach and other veggies, but you can also easily make a plainer version for a picky child right alongside an ingredient-stuffed masterpiece. It’s a flexible food. You can use a little more milk or a little less, a little more cheese or a little less, or an egg or two fewer than my method calls for, and still get good results.
However, there are roadblocks to contend with. At first my quiches suffered from soggy crust syndrome and a tendency toward denseness. But through trial and error I figured out how to avoid those traps and now? Fluffy, flaky-crusted quiche that the kids gobble up (but only if I don’t gobble it first!)
You’re not going to see any complicated strategies involving pie weights (which I didn’t even know existed before this experiment) or perfect crusts in my house, as I have still not quite figured out how to get the edges of a pie crust to look pretty. And I admit I rarely whisk quiiite enough to perfectly blend all the yolks and whites, hence the little white spots in my quiches.
But who cares? I love them, the kids love them, and I can whip up a whole week’s worth on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Now that’s what I call success.
Here’s how I recently made a quiche using my newfound “secrets” to fluffiness and flakiness:
FYI: If you can’t eat eggs or prefer not to, Egg Beaters has a spinach quiche recipe you might want to try. Full disclosure: I work with ConAgra Foods, who make Egg Beaters, but this post isn’t sponsored – I just thought you might like to have the option!
What You’ll Need:
- Eggs (8-9 per quiche – I know that’s a lot, read on for explanation)
- Pie crust. Make your own or use a refrigerated, prepared crust. That’s what I do. No judgment here.
- Milk. With all the eggs and cheese I use, I don’t think cream is necessary – I use whatever milk I have on hand, whether it’s 2 % or whole milk, and it works great. But if you want it extra-rich and happen to have heavy cream on hand, be my guest!
- Cheese, veggies, herbs, and anything else you want for filler. Mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, onions (caramelized!), bacon, and cauliflower are some of our favorite ingredients. In this recipe I used mushrooms, spinach, and a blend of Jarlsberg and Gouda cheeses that I got on special at Aldi – about half a block of each.
- A little butter or oil for sautéing the veggies.
Making the Quiche:
- Separate the whites and yolks of three eggs. (An easy way to do this: crack the egg carefully over a bowl, and then “juggle” the yolk back and forth between the two half-shells. The white will gradually release itself from the yolk and fall into the bowl. You’ll get the hang of it after a few tries!) Set aside the whites for another use and put the yolks into a large bowl. The extra yolks will go into the custard, making it extra-creamy and rich.
- Brush the bottom of your pie crust with a little egg and place in a pre-heated oven to pre-bake. The layer of egg at the bottom will help keep wetter ingredients from making the crust soggy. About ten minutes is good.
- Prepare the ingredients. It’s a good idea to sauté veggies in order to bring out their flavor and reduce moisture content. Spinach cooks down well in batches. Just heat a little butter or oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add a handful of spinach. Stir, and when it’s wilted, add another handful until it’s all cooked down. I used almost an entire bag of spinach for one quiche. You can do this right in the same pan as the mushrooms, which just need to be stirred frequently.
- Grate cheese. Again, I’m not giving exact amounts of these ingredients because it’s really up to you. I like cheese, so I use about two cups. Sometimes a little more.
- Add five or six more eggs to a bowl along with the extra yolks and whisk in about 1 cup of milk and half the cheese. Add a little salt and pepper and whisk the whole combination very thoroughly.
- Sprinkle about half the cheese, or one cup, on the bottom of the pie crust first. It helps add an additional layer at the bottom to protect the crust against sogginess.
- Layer the veggies on top of the cheese.
- Pour the custard (egg mix) on top of the veggies.
- Cover with foil and place in a pre-heated 375 degree F oven.
- Let bake for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and give it another 10 minutes or so to brown. It’s important to watch the quiche carefully and not rely too much on the clock – you want to remove the quiche when the center is “just set”, because it will continue to cook after being removed from the oven.
That’s it! Once you’ve got the routine down you can easily crank a few of these out on the weekend and then eat the leftovers for days.