Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ham and Green Onion Quiche

Ron recently pronounced this quiche the very best one he’d ever eaten! I was surprised to hear that, because it’s so easy to make. You can use my recipe for Bride’s Pastry posted Oct. 24, 2011, use the recipe that follows, or buy a frozen pie crust. I must admit, I’m not a fan of frozen pie crusts. I’ve never found the quality as good as those I make myself. If you’re new to making pie crusts, follow this recipe and method precisely and you’ll breeze through the process. In fact, your success will be assured! 
This recipe makes one single-crust pie, suitable for a 10-in. straight-sided quiche dish or a 9-inch pie pan. I plucked the recipe for this excellent pie crust from the J.M. Smucker Co.’s Crisco website. Although I’ve stuck to the exact ingredients, I’ve slightly condensed the website’s method and added some tips of my own for making perfect pastry. The ingredients and the method apply equally to single-crust pie and quiche crusts. The entire process takes about 40 min., including chilling time.
Ham and Green Onion Quiche:
To Prepare the Bottom Crust for the Quiche:
1-⅓ c. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. vegetable-oil shortening, well chilled
3-to-6 tbsp. ice cold water
Trace the outline of ungreased quiche dish or pie pan onto parchment paper before starting. Cut the paper slightly inside the traced line so parchment fits inside pan. Set paper circle and quiche dish or pie pan aside. 
Combine flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut chilled shortening into cubes. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender, using an up-and-down chopping motion. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs, with some pea-sized pieces remaining. Sprinkle half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom to top of bowl to evenly distribute moisture. Press chunks to bottom of bowl with fork. 
Add just enough more water by the tablespoon so that dough is moist enough to form a ball when compressed. Flatten dough on work surface to about ½-in. thickness (see Note). Roll dough from center to edges, gently working pastry in circular fashion with steady, even pressure. When dough is slightly larger than quiche dish or pie pan, loosely roll it around rolling pan. With rolling pin centered over dish or pan, carefully unroll dough, molding it to fit dish or pan sides. Quiche pastry is never fluted as high as pie pastry. You should have just enough dough to flute ¼-to-½-in. above quiche pan (I didnt roll my dough quite thinly enough, so didnt have quite enough pastry to flute the edge of my quiche dish. Rather than risk toughening the crust by re-rolling it, I left it).
Use a dinner fork to prick bottom and sides of pie crust at least 50 times to prevent it from blistering and breaking (see Further Note). You now have the choice to use one of two methods to pre-bake your quiche or pie: (1) Pre-baking without weights: Bake crust 10-to-12 min. in lower third of oven at 425 deg. F., or until edges and bottom are golden brown. (2) Pre-baking with weights: Chill or freeze pie shell 30 min. Lay trimmed parchment paper inside pastry, filling with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 min. on middle oven rack at 375 deg. F., just until pastry starts to brown. Remove weights or beans with small tongs. Peel off paper. Reduce heat to 350 deg. F. and continue as quiche or pie recipe directs (see Even Further Note). 
Note: For perfect pastry, I use a lightly floured rolling pin cover and a lightly floured pastry-rolling mat. Neither is essential, but the standard method - rolling pastry on a well-floured work surface with a well-floured pin - can produce tough pastry. The Crisco site suggests you chill dough for 30 min. to 2 days before rolling it, but this dough recipe is so easy to work that I haven’t found chilling necessary. The site also suggests rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper, but I’ve always found that method difficult, frustrating, and highly unsatisfactory.
Further Note: The fork-pricking and preliminary baking methods apply only to single-crust pies. No need to bother with pies to be filled and baked with a top crust.
Even Further Note: If making a chilled berry or cream pie, for example, reduce heat from 425 deg. F. and continue baking empty shell at 350 deg. F. for 5-to-10 min. Cool shell and fill with berries or cream filling. A quiche or a pie shell filled with anything that needs further cooking will always need additional baking to brown the shell. Follow the method your recipe directs.
To Prepare the Filling for the Quiche:
4 eggs
1 c. heavy cream or ½ c. heavy cream and ½ c. skim milk
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
¼ tsp. hot sauce 
1 c. grated Monterey Jack or Jarlsberg cheese
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
½ c. chopped ham
2 green onions, finely chopped
Prepare filling as crust bakes. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, seasonings, and hot sauce. Stir in cheeses, ham, and green onions. Blend well, pouring into partially cooked pie shell. Bake 30 minutes in oven preheated to 350 deg. F. When quiche finishes baking, turn off oven heat, leaving oven door closed. Let quiche rest inside oven 30 min. longer. Garnish with a few shakes of paprika. Serve hot. Yields 6-to-8 slices.

Trim parchment to fit pan. Nestle inside unbaked pastry
I recommend a cloth-covered rolling pin and non-stick mat
Chill measured shortening in refrigerator

Add measured flour to salt in bowl

Cut chilled shortening into cubes or small spoonfuls before
adding to flour mixture. I also chill metal work bowl

Use up/down "chopping" motion to cut shortening into flour 
with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs

Use only the coldest ice water ...

Add water by tablespoons, stirring with fork after each

Work from bottom to top with "under/over" motion ...

... Carrying flour up and water down to distribute evenly

Dough should easily form a ball without feeling "wet"
Roll from center to edges, using steady pressure

When pastry reaches desired size, 
loosely ease over rolling pin
Gently drop pastry into quiche pan, molding to fit

I prefer Method #2 (above) for preliminary baking of 
pies and quiches: I use parchment and pie weights
As crust has its first baking, assemble filling ingredients

This combination is a sure palate-pleaser

Whisk together eggs, cream, seasonings ...

... Add both kinds of grated cheeses

Stir in ham ...

And green onions. Combine well

Remove weights. Peel parchment from lightly baked crust

Pour filling into crust, returning to oven for final baking

Bake 30 min.; turn off oven as quiche rests inside 30 min. more

1 comment:

  1. Reading your pastry for quiche and seeing how much fat is in there, I use two large whole wheat tortillas, grease them to keep them together, but overlap them so that they cover the whole of the quiche dish. This mighty quick and much lower in calories!


Want to find a long-lost favorite recipe? Want to submit one of yours, or simply leave a comment? Always happy to hear from you!