Saturday, December 9, 2017

Who Needs Crust?

I love pie, and a great pie crust is something to savored.  Crisp, buttery and contrasting with the sweet filling, it's one of my favorite things. But give me a savory pie, and I'm really not all that enamored with the crust.  I feel like it gets in the way of the savory filling, adding nothing to the final product.  Quiche Loraine is a favorite of mine, but I've never been all that jazzed about the crust, it gets in the way, sometimes soaks up the filling in a not so pleasant way, so when I make quiche I usually make a crust-less quiche, this probably wouldn't make the French happy, but I'm happy and it's really all about me, right?
Today one of my dearest friends came for lunch and I made two different kinds of individual crust-less quiche, and they were awesome if I do say so myself.  The custard part can be made ahead, then plopped into muffin tins, and baked.  If you under-bake them a bit (by about 2 to 3 minutes) you can cool, then freeze them to reheat.  They really are a great lunch or brunch dish and there isn't any crust to make.

Bacon Wrapped Spinach Quiche
Makes about 12

12 slices thick cut bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 pound baby spinach, washed and spun dry
salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
8 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (or imported Swiss)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment, aluminum foil, or silicone.  Put the bacon onto the baking sheet, and bake until the bacon has rendered its fat, but is not crisp.  Drain on paper toweling.  
  2. Coat the inside of  12 muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange the bacon in the muffin tins so that it lines the muffin tin.  Set aside.  
  3. In a skillet, melt the butter, saute the shallot, for 3 to 4 minutes until the shallot is softened.  
  4. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and nutmeg.  Saute until the spinach is wilted.  
  5. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.  
  6. In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and cheese.  Add the cooled spinach and stir to combine.  Using a portion scoop, scoop the mixture into the muffin tins inside the bacon ring.  
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed, set in the center and golden.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tins.  
Artichoke, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Quiche
Makes about 12
These delicious quiches can be made into mini muffins, and served as an appetizer--just one bite.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
One 10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
8 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 thin slices of prosciutto di Parma, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and coat the inside of 12 muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil, swirl the garlic in the pan for 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Add the artichoke hearts, zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes, until the artichokes are dry.  Transfer to a cutting board, coarsely chop and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, and goat cheese.  Add the artichoke mixture, and prosciutto, stir to combine.  Using a portion scoop, fill the muffin tins and sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed, golden and set in the middle.  Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

And so, this is what they look like when they come out of the oven.  I didn't take any photos while making these since I didn't think I'd be posting this, but the power of Facebook and Instagram had me promising recipes for these little gems.   Not only are they simple and easy to put together, the custard part can be made the day before, refrigerated and then scooped into the muffins tins just before baking.   With the holidays coming at you, these little gems are a great recipe to keep in your repertoire.  Feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables (think cooked butternut squash for the artichoke hearts, or broccoli for spinach) in the quiches.  
As I write this, San Diego county has wildfires burning 15 miles north of us.  People have lost their homes, pets, and livelihoods.  If you are feeling generous this holiday season, donate to charities of your choice to help those less fortunate who have endured natural disasters this year.  Ciao for now.