Leek and Pancetta Quiche
I'm not gonna lie, this takes quite a bit of effort but it's so very well worth it. Make it ahead of time to save you the stress making this on the day of your fancy brunch.
This recipe is from Fine Cooking.
For the dough
4 1/2 oz (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 1/2 oz (9 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 9 pieces
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbs. cold whole milk
For the custard
8 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
4-6 oz pancetta, diced
3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 large leeks, sliced
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
STEP 1: MAKE THE DOUGH
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all purpose flour, 2 tsp. granulated sugar, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Add 4-1/2 oz. (9 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 9 pieces and mix on low speed until the flour is no longer bright white, the dough holds together when you press a clump with your fingers, and there are still flakes of butter the size of pecan halves throughout, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until there are pea-size pieces of butter throughout.)
In a small bowl, whisk 1 large egg yolk and 2 Tbs. cold whole or 2% milk, then add it all at once to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed (or with a fork) until the dough barely comes together, 15 to 30 seconds in the mixer, longer by hand. The dough will look shaggy at this point.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and gather it into a mound. Starting at the top of the mound and using the heel of your hand, smear a section of the dough away from you, sliding it down the side and along the work surface until most of the butter pieces are smeared into the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough in sections.
With a bench knife, gather the dough together, flatten it into a disk about 1 inch thick, and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough may be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If storing for more than 1 day, wrap it in another layer of plastic. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.)
STEP 2: Shape and blind bake the crust
With this buttery dough comes a trade off: It tastes amazing and flakes beautifully, but it can shrink. To limit shrinkage, shape the dough so the edge extends above the dish, place some aluminum foil onto the crust and fill it high with beans or pie weights before blind baking. Because the crust is not docked, the beans need to stay in place throughout blind baking to keep it from puffing up.
On a well-floured work surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 12-inch-wide, 1/8-inch-thick circle. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over a 9- to 10-inch quiche dish, or a 9- to 9-1/2-inch pie plate. Without stretching it, press the dough gently into the bottom and sides of the dish. Use scissors or a paring knife to trim the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang.
If using a quiche dish, fold the overhang into the dish and press the sides up to create an edge that’s about 1/4 inch above the rim of the dish. If using a pie plate, fold the overhang under itself and flatten it slightly to completely cover the rim of the pie plate. Crimp decoratively.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the dough to relax before baking. (The unbaked crust can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, let the crust stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)
Position a rack in the center of the oven, put a large rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 350°F.
Crumple a 12-inch square of parchment, flatten it, then line the crust with it. Fill the crust to the top with dried beans, gently pressing them against the sides. Bake on the hot baking sheet until the edge is a deep golden-brown and the bottom no longer looks raw (carefully pull back the parchment to check; if using a glass pie plate, you can see if the underside is golden), 40 to 45 minutes; protect the edge with a pie shield or ring of foil if it’s getting too dark. Remove the parchment and beans (and pie shield if necessary) and cool on a rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
STEP 3: Cook the add ins
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned and crisp, about 5-6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and remove from pan. Do not clean out pan. In the same pan, cook the leeks in the rendered fat. Cook until soft and fragrant, another 5-6 minutes. Set leeks aside withthe bacon. You will add these in with the custard.
STEP 4: Make the custard
This custard is made with milk, cream, and egg yolks (not whole eggs), so even after baking, it’s soft and supple.
In a medium bowl or large liquid measure, whisk together 8 large egg yolks, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup whole milk, 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, dijon, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and parsley.
STEP 5: Fill the quiche
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
Put the blind-baked crust on the rimmed baking sheet and scatter the pancetta, leeks and parmigiano over the bottom, being sure they are evenly distributed. Whisk the custard and slowly pour it into the crust, taking care not to shuffle the add-ins around too much.
STEP 6: Bake the quiche
Carefully transfer the quiche on the baking sheet to the oven and bake at 325°F until the custard feels set to the touch in the center, 55 to 60 minutes. It should be golden-brown and slightly puffed and should not slosh when you jiggle it.
Let cool on a rack for at least 45 minutes, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature. Or, for the best-looking slices, cool the quiche completely, then refrigerate, slice when cold, and reheat. (The quiche can be made up to 2 days ahead. Once cooled, tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat in a 350°F oven, edge covered with a pie shield, until warmed through, 20 to 25 minutes.)
Quiche Dos and Dont’s
• Blind bake your shell thoroughly so you don’t end up with a soggy crust.
• Use leftover cooked vegetables and meats; their seasonings will boost flavor.
• Let the quiche cool for at least 45 minutes so the custard can firm up for nice-looking slices. At the bakery, we thoroughly chill it in the fridge before cutting it, and then reheat slices to order.
• Overdo the add-ins; you want to enjoy the silky texture and rich flavor of the custard, too.
• Add very watery ingredients; the excess water will make the custard soupy. Squeeze cooked spinach dry and drain raw tomatoes before adding.
• Slice quiche while hot. It will taste good, but the custard may not hold its shape and the back crust may fall away from the custard.
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