Are we our own worst critics? Or is it the other guy? Do we expect more from ourselves because we’re always in search of measuring up? Or is it truly because others expect us to rise to the occasion?
I’m betting it’s all of the above.
Yesterday I received a comment from Caryn who said, “Made these tacos tonight. They were AMAZING! Will definitely make again soon! Thanks for sharing! ”
Shortly afterward, I received a comment from Amy, a reader reporting that a recipe she made of mine, was in her words, “…one of the worst recipes I’ve ever tried. I’ve followed the recipe directions to the letter, but after 30 minutes, these bars are still not cooked. In fact, the top is crispy, but just underneath it’s still completely liquid. What a mess!!!!”
Because I’ve deemed it my job to deliver recipes that others want to make successfully, I truly appreciate both of their feedback. And oh how I can relate to Amy, and man, I wish the recipe had measured up to her expectations like it did for me and others who have made it.
I can totally relate to Amy because I’ve had the same exact experience: to be inspired to make a recipe, follow it to a T, and be left disheartened because it didn’t turn out as I expected.
What did I do differently—aka wrong—making it so that her version didn’t turn out? Are my recipes good, like Caryn said? Or are they prone to failure, like Amy said?
And thus, the second guessing and self critiquing begins.
It’s ironic that I had both of these comments in a span of 15 minutes, while writing this post, because nothing exemplified Amy’s feelings more than when I was developing this quiche recipe. It nearly did me in but I kept at it because I craved this deep dish quiche pie.
Baking can turn into the evil step-mother in the blink of an eye.
Quiche de Resistance
There are two secrets to a great quiche. 1: The crust, and, 2: the custard. And if you don’t have both, you have a sucky quiche.
See, I know this because I’ve been in search of the best deep-dish quiche recipe for umpteen years. In my search I’ve made it a point to taste test some amazing looking quiches I’ve found along the way. There was my FAVORITE quiche I had from this little French bakery while on vacation in Turks and Caicos. Then, I sampled another tasty version at a local coffee shop where I discovered this fluted pan with a removable bottom.
I bought the pan thinking that might be part of the secret. The removable bottom definitely makes it easier if nothing else. Then I set upon researching and testing recipes so I could create my own.
I tried deep-dish quiche recipes that said they were fool-proof, that said they were the best, and recipes that celeb chefs deemed infallible. Just like my reader above who had issues with one of my recipes, I followed these recipes just as instructed and still had failures that measured from just so-so to disastrous. Tart shells that oozed filling and were unservable to my brunch guests. Insides that were barely cooked but wayyy too browned on top. Pie crusts that simply melted off the sides of the pan into heaping piles of crust.
For example, this beautiful cream cheese based pie dough is a dream to work with. I should know because I made it and 3 other pie dough recipes before deciding this was the winner for this recipe.
But if you don’t blind bake it correctly—aka weighted down with beans that none of the recipes I tried suggested I do—in a mere 15 minutes of baking, it has the potential to shrink like a shy little flower and come out looking like the pie crust below.
How could they all be wrong? How could each of these recipes have failed me? This baker needed practice and to figure out what worked best in my own kitchen. And I’m happy to report that I did. And I sent that evil stepmother packing.
About the recipe
I tested a variety of pie crust recipes. I made them in different combinations of all-butter crusts, with some mixed in the food processor, some by hand and another in the stand mixer. With water, with egg, with cream cheese and with none. I went back to my successful pie crust for Curried Turkey Pot Pie and even consulted the bakery chefs at Deer Valley Resort, and then I merged the ingredients and processes of the two.
What I discovered along the way when making this crust is to make sure it doesn’t slide down the sides of the pan. Blind baking the crust prior to filling it with the custard requires there must be a “filling” to keep the crust in place.
The key to the crust, for me, is freezing it in the pan it’s to be baked in. Then I emptied the contents of a 4 pound bag of uncooked beans placed on parchment paper and filled my pan all the way to the top of the crust. From there it goes straight to the oven. That was the missing instruction in each of the recipes I tried in my recipe development quiche crust quest.
The egg custard for this recipe gets a jolt of healthy thanks to the addition of greek yogurt. It adds a bit of tang to the recipe that we found delicious. In testing the recipe, I tried it with both whole fat greek yogurt and fat free yogurt and didn’t experience a difference in texture between the two.
If you’re not a yogurt fan, substitute with the same amount of half and half or whole milk.
Like every month, my friend Becky of The Vintage Mixer has shared March’s list of what to eat seasonal in March on her site. The flavorful fillings of seasonal spinach and leeks are the added accoutrements that make this quiche a favorite for spring’s favorite meal of the day: Brunch!
Bacon and creamy havarti cheese are added for an extra layer of irresistibility, but if you’re going veg, you could easily omit the pork products.
- For the Cream Cheese Pastry Shell
- 10 ounces unsalted butter, very cold and cut into chunks
- 10 ounces cream cheese, very cold and cut into chunks
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces all-purpose flour
- 4 pound bag of uncooked beans for baking (these are not to be eaten and can be reused for another time)
- For the Quiche Filling
- 1 pound bacon, cut into large dice
- 1 cup leeks, white parts and light green only (about 1 small leek)
- 6 cups spinach leaves
- 8 ounces havarti cheese, shredded
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (fat-free, low fat or whole)
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- For the Cream Cheese Pastry Shell
- Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with a paddle attachment until combined. Add the flour to the bowl, sprinkle with the kosher salt and combine on low speed until just combined and the flour is in pieces the size of peas. Dump onto a clean surface sprinkled with flour and mold into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 15-inch circle, moving the dough in a circular fashion each time you make a pass or two with the rolling pin so it doesn't stick. Add more flour under the dough as needed. Carefully roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pan with a removable bottom. Gently press into the pan and leave at least a ½ inch or more overhang. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Freeze in the pan for 2 hours or overnight.
- For Assembling the Quiche
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any drippings that may occur.
- In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium heat stirring occasionally until the bacon is lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate covered with a paper towel for the bacon to drain and cool.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and cook the sliced leeks until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the spinach in batches and cook until it has wilted and cooked down. Remove from the heat and cool.
- Pull the frozen pie crust from the freezer and line it with parchment paper and fill the entire pan with the uncooked beans to the very top of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown. Remove the beans and parchment paper and then layer the partly cooked pie crust with the cheese, bacon and the spinach and leek mixture, reserving 1 tablespoon or so of each ingredient.
- Add the eggs, milk, yogurt, white pepper and ground nutmeg to a blender and blend until frothy. Pour the custard over the layered ingredients in the pan. Sprinkle with the reserved ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 1½ hours or until the top is lightly browned and custard is just set in the middle (165 degrees F). If the top is getting too browned and inside isn't yet cooked, tent with aluminum foil and cook in additional 10 minute increments.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then use a serrated knife to cut the crust flush with the top of the pan. Cool for another 30 minutes in the pan then carefully remove the pan ring. Cut into wedges and serve or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- ** To reheat the quiche, place on a baking sheet and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F or until warmed in the center of the custard.
- Adapted from Williams Sonoma, Sunset magazine and Deer Valley Resort
More Eat Seasonal Food Love
And because I can’t not share more seasonal foodie love, here are a sprinkling of more recipes created by our food blogging #eatseasonal crew to give a go in your own kitchen. We’d love for you to share your own seasonal recipes on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #eatseasonal.
Curried Broccoli Chickpea Hash | Well Plated
Baked Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Artichokes with Blue Cheese | Climbing Grier Mountain
Roasted Asparagus and Avocado Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | Completely Delicious
Spinach and Mushroom Marinara with (or without) Meatballs | Bless this Mess
Greek Broccoli Salad | Cookie and Kate
Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Peas | Kitchen Confidante
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | Vintage Mixer
Blood Orange Asparagus Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing | Cafe Johnsonia
Avocado and Mango Salad with Citrus Poppyseed Dressing | Mountain Mama Cooks
Creamy Garlic Lemon Butter Pasta | Oh, Sweet Basil
Whipped Lemon Ricotta Open Faced Sandwich | A Zesty Bite
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Make it a great day, friends and cook something seasonal and good.
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