There was a book in the ’80’s called Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche. Ok. Back then, real men made quiche. I was one of those guys. Starting at the long defunct Santa Barbara restaurant, The Presidio Cafe, I made 50+ quiches a day from this basic recipe. I’ve never printed it before and was encouraged by a friend who fell in love with them and insisted I publish it.
This quiche recipe was developed in 1977 and now, almost 30 years later still holds up. I’m now more mindful of gluten and dairy and being more healthy, however if you want to treat yourself, this is the recipe for you. It’s fantastic for a group, we fed 60 people with 10 of them recently, which prompted me writing this post.
At the restaurant, we would typically have Spinach, Monterey (Ortega Chilies), Crab and Lorraine (Bacon) plus one specialty flavor depending on the Chef’s Choice (me). My most unusual was a Hangtown Fry Quiche with Bacon, Oysters, and Potatoes and during Fiesta each Summer, I’d make about every Mexican variant you could imagine and I have a good imagination, think carnitas, sausages, arroz con pollo, you get the idea.
You will be delighted with how easy this is. The basic recipe takes 15 minutes to make and an hour to cook. It keeps for a couple days, but honestly I never have any leftovers.
- 1 10" pie shell - frozen is fine - Pillsbury is best
- 1 cup cubed cheese, ¼-inch cubes
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups half and half, can substitute any milk, but don't try nut milks, it doesn't work
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup filling (see below)
- You can add 1 teaspoon of spice to any of the below. Fennel, Caraway, Cumin, Dill, Nutmeg, etc.
- Spinach Feta - use Feta crumbles for the cheese and 1 cup of chopped, drained spinach
- Fiesta Sausage - use Sharp Cheddar and sauteed Turkey or Italian sausage plus onions
- Crab - use Fontina cheese and 1 cup of snow crab meat
- Monterrey - use Pepper Jack, Cilantro and 1 can of Ortega Chilies
- Lorraine - use Swiss cheese and ½ pound of bacon
- There's literally a hundred variations - 1 cup of cheese and 1 cup of filling - anything. Be creative.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚
- Using a Glass Pie shell (preferred) or a Spring Form Pan, or a Tart Pan with a removable bottom, place the thawed pie shell over it and mold it to fit the sides. Give it a slight lip so that the filling and custard doesn't overflow
- Place the diced (important it is diced, not shredded) cheese evenly along the bottom.
- Place the filling (make sure it's cooled. If you've sauteed onions or peppers or bacon, so it doesn't melt the cheese) evenly over the cheese
- Mix the half-and-half and eggs througly, add the salt and pepper and additional spice.
- HERES THE TRICK
- Place the pie shell and filling into the pre-heated oven. Then with a pitcher or ladle or silicon bowl, gently pour the dairy mix on top of the filling and gently shake the dish until you have covered everything and filled in any gaps.
- Close the over door and relax for an hour. Check it at 45 min to be sure you have even browning - if you notice it's not even, rotate it for the final 15 minutes. One thing you might also do is place tin foil underneath to catch any spillage - it happens occasionally.
- Once it is done it will be puffed up nicely. Take a knife and slip the blade into the center of the quiche. It should pull out with nothing sticking to it. This is a standard test for doneness with any custard - like flan for instance.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a trivet or wood for 30 minutes.
- Slice into 6, 8, 10 pieces depending on what else your are serving with it. A tossed salad and a roll is usually sufficient.
- Nice toppings as a garnish could be sour cream, Creme Fraiche, salsa, chimichurri sauce and once I did a BBQ sauce mixed with Greek Yogurt (what was I thinking?)
- People will LOVE YOU for making this quiche. Expect they'll want seconds. When I serve it, I always make two - and different flavors.