“The skies are charcoal grey,
It’s a dreary downtown day,
But at the end of my 30-foot leash,
Is my little friend Quiche” – B-52’s Quiche Lorraine
Fine. The B-52’s aren’t rhapsodising about food; this song is actually an ode to a poodle. But I like listening to it and pretending it’s about the real thing, for the simple reason that I prefer quiche to poodles (case in point: I just re-read that last word as noodles), not to mention that it’s fun to imagine Fred Schneider and Cindy Wilson singing emphatically about beaten eggs baked in a crust. Yes? Yes.
There’s something both versatile and comforting about quiche, in that it’s equally acceptable to have for breakfast as it is at a fancy dinner party or when you’re cooking for a first date. It’s just a matter of tinkering with the ingredients to match the mood. No matter the occasion, though, I fully endorse the all-butter crust – it’s light and flaky and unctuous all at the same time, the perfect vessel for a custard of egg and cheese.
The recipe here was made for a friend who had recently moved back to the city after several months away on the West Coast. Not having seen her in a long while, I’d invited her for Sunday lunch – that one time you can geek out on making delicate foodstuffs and set out your best cutlery and serving platters, without feeling like you’re overdoing it (even if it’s just the two of you). On the best of days, there’s even an attractive tablecloth in there too. The one you’ve been saving for such an occasion.
This quiche – with it’s ruffled crust and silky layers of egg, Gruyère and sautéed veg – had Sunday lady lunch written all over it. I hope this recipe inspires you to share good food with good people, surrounded by all the pretty little things you cherish most.
Sunday lady-lunch quiche (serves 6)
All-butter crust (makes 2) – from Marta Stewart
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup ice water
- 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
In a small bowl, mix together salt and water. Place bowl over an ice bath until ready to use.
Put flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly until mixture forms large crumbs. Add the salt water mixture and continue pulsing until a dough has just formed but is not smooth. Be careful not to over-mix.
On a lightly floured work surface, evenly divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece of dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Leek and Swiss chard quiche filling
- 1 small leek, white part sliced (reserve the green part for another use)
- 1 small bunch (about 2 cups) Swiss chard, ribs removed and leaves chopped
- 3/4 cup – 1 cup of grated Gruyère
- 1/2 cup of crème fraîche or full-fat yoghurt
- 6 large eggs
- about 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 16-inch round; fit dough into a 9” tart pan/dish (mine was 1-inch thick), gently pressing it into the sides. Flute, crimp or cut the edges.* Cover with plastic wrap; chill tart shell until firm (about 20 minutes).
2. Preheat oven to 375°
3. Line the tart dough with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or baking beans. Transfer to oven and bake until golden (about 20 minutes – be sure to check in every once and a while to make sure that the edges aren’t browning too much). Remove weights and parchment paper and continue baking until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.
4. While the pie crust is baking, you can get started on the filling – heat the olive oil in a deep pan; once hot, add the leeks and allow them to cook a couple of minutes until translucent. Add the thyme leaves and the chopped Swiss chard and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until chard is wilted, but not fully cooked. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
5. Whisk eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add crème fraîche or yoghurt and mix until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Once the chard mixture has fully cooled, spoon into the pie shell. Pour over egg mixture until the tart shell is full (depending on the size of your pie shell and your eggs, you may not need to use all of the egg mixture – if you have leftover dough, make mini-quiches!). Sprinkle the Gruyère over the top.
7. Bake 10 minutes; reduce temperature to 325 degrees, and continue baking until filling is slightly firm and crust is a deep golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Transfer quiche to a wire rack to cool until set, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a salad of mixed greens.