About a week ago, we decided to have a light dinner of orange-scented lentil soup with the spinach and bacon quiche. We both love lentil soup and the intriguing ingredients of orange peel, fresh ginger, coriander and cloves, made it hard not to want to try. (I'll be highlighting that recipe in the future.) We chose the spinach and bacon quiche to complement the soup because it didn't look like the traditional 3-4 inch thick quiche. It was more like a tart and there were only 2 eggs and 2/3 a cup of heavy cream for the custard base.
The quiche calls for a homemade crust (not something I am great at) and I will give you a few helpful tips. Make sure you knead the crust until it is smooth before you form it into a disk. We didn't knead ours enough and the crust became cracked around the edges. As we rolled it out, the cracks would spread. The more we rolled it, the cracks became tears. In the end, we patched the crust together, but it was a bit frustrating.
The filling was quick to put together and within a half hour we were seated and enjoying lentil soup and wedges of spinach and bacon quiche. As much as the crust was a challenge it was light and buttery. The quiche was much better than a traditional quiche. It was light and the custard didn't overpower the spinach and bacon. You tasted each ingredient.
Don't think that this is only a meal for dinner, you could eat this for breakfast or lunch. Buttery crust, spinach and bacon, a few eggs and it's not overly-filling. As I mentioned with the Chicken Pot Pie recipe, if you are not one to tackle a pie crust, use a a ready-made crust. It will at least give you a chance to try this deliciously, light recipe.
1- 9 to 9 1/2 inch tart shell, made from tart dough (see recipe below) partially baked and cooled
10 ounces of ready-to-use baby spinach (or about 1 1/4 pounds regular spinach, trimmed and washed)
4 strips of bacon
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and pepper for taste
2 large eggs
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
Center a rack in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the tart shell on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper after partially cooking the crust (see directions below).
To cook the spinach, fit a steamer basket into a large pot. Pour in enough water to come almost up to the steamer. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the spinach, cover, and steam just until soft and thoroughly wilted, about 4 minutes. remove the spinach, drain and run under to cool it and set the color (it will be deep green).
When the spinach is cool enough not to burn your hands, squeeze it between your palms and get out as much moisture as you can; do this in batches, so you can squeeze harder. Put the clumps on a cutting board and coarsely chop or thinly slice the spinach.
Put the bacon in a skillet, place the skillet over medium heat and cook, turning occasionally, until the bacon is crisp on both sides. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and pat it dry (set the pan aside). Cut the bacon crosswise into thin strips.
Drain off all but one tablespoon of fat from the skillet, return the skillet to medium heat, and toss in the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft but not at all colored, about 5 minutes; remove from the heat.
Add the bacon and spinach bits to the pan, toss to blend and add a little more salt and a few generous grindings of pepper.
Turn the spinach bacon mixture into the crust, spreading it as evenly as possible. Whisk the eggs and cream together until well blended and pour into the tart shell, giving the custard a minute to seep around the spinach and settle in. Sprinkle the top of the quiche with the Parmesan cheese.
Carefully slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filling is uniformly puffed (wait for the center to puff), browned and set. Transfer the quiche to a colling rack, remove the sides of the pan and allow it to cool and gather itself for at least 5 minutes or so before serving.
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of very cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (3/4 stick)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of ice water
FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the processor and whir a few times, until the butter is coarsely mixed into the flour. Beat the egg with the ice water and pour it into the bowl in 3 small additions, whirring after each one (Don't overdo it - the dough shouldn't form a ball or ride on the blade) You'll have a moist, malleable dough that will hold together when pinched. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball (if the dough doesn't come together easily, push it, a few spoonfuls at a time, under the heel of your hand or knead it lightly), and flatten it into a disk.
HAND METHOD: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Drop in the bits of butter and, using your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until it is evenly distributed. You'll have large and small butter bits, and that's fine - uniformity isn't a virtue here. Beat the egg and water together, drizzle over the dough, and, using your fingertips, mix and knead the dough until it comes together. Turn it out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball (if the dough doesn't come together easily, push it, a few spoonfuls at a time, under the heel of your hand or knead it some more), and flatten it into a disk.
Chill at least 3 hours or up to 5 days. When you're ready to bake the tart shell, butter a 9 - 91/2inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom (butter it even if it's nonstick).
To roll out the dough: Roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a lightly floured rolling cover; or you can roll it out on a lightly floured work surface. If you're working between sheets of paper or plastic wrap, lift it often so that it doesn't roll into the dough, and turn the dough over frequently. If you're just rolling on the counter, make sure to lift and turn the dough and reflour the counter often. The rolled-out dough should be about 1/4 inch thick and at least 12 inches in diameter.
Transfer the dough to the tart pan, easing it into the pan without stretching it. (What you stretch now will shrink in the oven later.) If you'd like to reinforce the sides of the crust, you can fold some of the excess dough over, so that you have a double thickness around the sides. Using the back of a table knife, trim the dough even with the top of the pan. Prick the base of the crust in several places with a fork.
Chill - freeze - the dough for at least 1 hour before baking.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F Press a piece of buttered foil (or use nonstick foil) against the crust's surface. If you'd like, you can fill the covered crust with rice or dried beans (which will be inedible after this but can be used for baking for months to come) to keep the dough flat, but this isn't really necessary if the crust is well chilled. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the tart pan on the sheet.
TO PARTIALLY BAKE THE CRUST: Bake for 20 minutes, then very carefully remove the foil (with the rice or beans). Return the crust to the oven and bake for another 3 - 5 minutes, or until it is lightly golden. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and allow the crust to cool before you fill it.
TO FULLY BAKE THE CRUST: Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until it is an even golden brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and allow the crust to cool before you fill it.