Sunday, July 10, 2011

Between a Quiche (Kiss) and a Pie (Sigh)

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
My original plan was to feature a quiche recipe but a friend also asked if I could test a pecan pie recipe for her so I figured, I'd make both. The quiche was something I came up with due to a couple of Indian friends I had while living at Tennessee. Preparing something vegetarian as a treat is quite a challenge and I needed to find a dish that would accommodate their no-meat diet and yet satisfy the rest of our friends and I thought of quiche as the answer to that dilemma. Granted that there is no meat substitutes in the dish (thank the heavens for that), the amount of eggs and cheese in the dish makes up for the protein factor quite well. This is also a good way to get rid of the extra spinach leaves especially when you buy giant bags of spinach leaves since they are overall cheaper when you buy in bulk (let's not get into the economics of that theory but, whatever!).

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
You can prepare this dish and cheat a little bit by using store-bought pastry crust. There is no shame in that, really! I am capable and have the means of making my own pastry crust but if I ever feel the need to buy them in the store to save me time or just because I'm feeling lazy, I will buy one or two boxes of Pillsbury pastry crust proudly. You can also use frozen spinach leaves which is actually what the recipe calls for. I've also taken the liberty of using different kinds of cheese as long as you keep the amount similar so as to not throw the whole balance of the recipe for a loop. For this post, I used a combination of Colby Jack, Muenster and Parmesan. Just in case you have the time, I'm also including a pastry crust recipe from Nigella Lawson's How to Become a Domestic God(dess) cookbook, which I used for this post as well.

Spinach Quiche

**Pastry crust - adapted
1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ice water
1 tsp salt

Put the flour and butter in a bowl and freeze for 10 minutes. Stir together the yolks, water and salt in a small bowl and keep in the fridge. After 10 minutes, attach the bowl on your mixer and with the dough hook at low speed, add the sugar to the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. You can also do this manually.

Add the egg mixture and bind the dough and keep working on the  dough until it all comes together. If the dough is a little dry, add more ice water by the teaspoon. Take the dough and cover with clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  

When ready to use, flour your pastry disc, rolling board and pin  and with even pressure, roll out your disc a couple of inches larger  than your pie plate.Drape the rolled out disc on the pie plate and trim out the excess leaving enough dough to create a crimped border.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen
**Filling - Adapted
4 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
2 tbsp flour
1/3 cup minced onions
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz shredded Swiss or   sharp cheddar cheese
1 package frozen   chopped spinach (10 oz   or about 1 1/4 cup)

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Saute onion and garlic over medium heat in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent. Let cool.

3. Microwave frozen spinach to thaw and drain the liquid. Slice the 
    spinach into smaller pieces and add together with the onions to
    the egg mixture.

4. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.  
    Remove the baking sheet and bake the quiche for 15 minutes more.
    Let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.   

*Lawson, N., How to be a Domestic Goddess, Hyperion, New York:     2001
** Gilroy, Elizabeth, Talkeetna, AK, Food Network Channel, Great
    Getaways episode

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Now, on to the second half of this post. Pecan Pie is one of my favorite pies, and I'm not a pie person. the only other pie I love is the egg custard pie which was something I enjoyed growing up in our little town back home. They were everywhere in our city and I could just not get enough of them. My cousin in Illinois was the first person who introduced me to pecan pie courtesy of Baker's Square. I would visit her when I was living in Michigan and true to form, she will always have a box of pecan pie whenever I visit. Like me, she has a terrible sweet tooth and over time, I would drive myself to the store to buy extra pies to take home just because they were so good. You should check out their banana cream pie as well. Oh so good! 

This request of my friend Ann was quite out of the blue but it got me excited and I'm hoping that I get it right the first time. I've got a couple of recipes lined up but I might end up mixing and matching them depending on how I remembered the oh so deliciousness of the Baker's Square pecan pie. Two things come to mind: there were no chopped pecans in the filling and second, the pecans were arranged over this glassy dark brown filling that did not ooze when you cut into the pie. To achieve this goal, I'm combining a recipe from the Beaumont Hotel in  Kansas and from the Food Network Kitchens. Unfortunately, the pecan pie seems to have been scrapped from the hotel menu at present.

Pecan Pie

*Dough - Adapted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. With your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a cornmeal. If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding. Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, gradually add up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Flute the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.

Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

**Filling - Adapted
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
4 eggs, beaten
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light   brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark corn syrup   (or molasses)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped toasted   pecans
2 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. While the crust is baking, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn
    syrup, molasses and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over  
    medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute.  
    Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon and vanilla. Set  
    the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. 

2. Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell  
    on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the hot crust. Arrange the  
    pecans in a decorative manner on top of the filling.

3. Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is  
    still slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. If the edges get very dark,  
    cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking. Cool on a rack.
    Serve slightly warm or room temperature. 

The overall flavor of the pie is quite good. The filling is not overly sweet but I think further research is needed on this pie. A good alternative is to try the recipe of the Food Network Kitchens to the letter considering it has gotten really good reviews from those who followed it. The filling recipe is quite similar to the one I used in the post with very minor differences. Unfortunately, more pecan pie experiments is not good for me so I'm going to let it go as such. 

* Food Network Kitchens
**Cole, N.M.; Cummins, M.J., America's Country Inn Cookbook, R.T.  
    French Company, New York:1984

1 comment:

  1. quiche - this one i would really love to eat... i've never eaten one... but it's too expensive at le coeur de france... can you make me one?... :-D