Friday, September 18, 2009
The filling is delicious, but the real standout here is the crust. I adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, where he advocates using butter in a pie crust, rather than shortening or oil, because of the flavor butter imparts. I'm a total convert now! The buttery herb-y flavor is simply to die for. Ever since I made this quiche, I've been dreaming of other savory fillings I can put in this crust! Just writing about it, my mouth is watering, and I think I'm going to make a chicken pot pie with this recipe tonight!
1 1/8 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. butter, cold
3 tbsp. ice water
1/4 lb. bacon
1/2 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch strips
3 egg yolks (save the whites for cupcakes!)
1/2 c. sour cream
salt and pepper
1 c. extra sharp New York Cheddar, grated, divided
For crust: Place flour, salt, basil, and thyme in a medium mixing bowl, and give it a quick stir. Cut butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Cut in using a pastry blender, two forks, or my new favorite method: with your hands. Using both hands, pick up some butter and some of the flour mixture and rub it between your fingers and your thumb, dropping it back into the bowl. Repeat until butter is incorporated and the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. It will happen faster than you think! Alternatively, this part could be done in a fancy schmancy food processor, but I don't have one of those.
When your butter-flour mix is ready, sprinkle 3 tbsp. water over it. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to incorporate the water and gather the dough into a ball. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, wrap it in plastic, flatten it into a small disk, and put it into the freezer for 10 minutes. This will help with rolling.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Take dough from the freezer, then roll it out, either between two sheets of plastic wrap (each sprinkled with flour) or on the countertop (liberally sprinkled with flour). Roll with light pressure, from the center out. Sprinkle flour liberally if the dough seems sticky initially. If it gets sticky after several minutes of rolling, return to the freezer to firm it up a bit. When you've got it about the right size, transfer to a pie plate, trimming the excess and fluting the edges with your fingers or a fork. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up again. Then start on the filling below before weighting the pie crust by placing a greased sheet of foil in the pie crust and filling with a pile of rice or dried beans. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove from oven and turn the heat down to 350°.
For Filling: With a sharp knife, dice the bacon into small pieces, and cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is at your desired level of doneness. I like mine crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and saute the onion and pepper in the bacon grease. When the onion starts to brown, turn the heat down to low and cover the skillet to soften up the veggies. Now would be a good time to weight your pie crust and put it in the oven.
Mix together the egg yolks and sour cream; add half the grated cheese. Salt and pepper - always tricky with eggs, but I found that the cheese and bacon add their own salt to this dish, so it doesn't need much, just a couple of shakes.
When the onions and peppers are tender, remove from the heat, and stir in the cooked bacon. Place this mixture in the pie crust, and pour the egg mixture over it. Top with the remaining cheese, and bake at 350° for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Enjoy hot from the oven, cold from the fridge, or reheated. Delicious all three ways!