Quiche is nutritious, light on the wallet, makes for a great breakfast or snack, and can be eaten hot or cold. It has a long fridge shelf-life to boot, and baked quiches can be frozen to use for later in the week.
This egg-and-milk based tart is considered part of classic French cuisine, but is actually German in origin, and can be traced back to the mediaeval kingdom of Lotharingia. The word quiche is also believed to derive from the German word kuchen which means cake.
When the French annexed part of Lotharingia, they renamed it Lorraine and put their own twist on the local favourite. From Lorraine, quiche found its way around the world. Reportedly, British troops returning home from France after World War II, introduced it to the UK. In the US, quiche became the go-to quick breakfast item to serve up in the 1980s and ’90s, and it gained in popularity globally over the decades.
The reason behind quiche’s popularity is its versatility. Like pizza, this shareable treat can be tweaked based on individual preferences or local tastes. Impress your friends with this crowd-pleaser or use up the leftover vegetables in your fridge to quickly whip up something filling and nutritious. Feel free to experiment and add any seasonable vegetables and meat or seafood you like — most ingredients go well with this eggy tart. At worse, you’ll have made a quirky quiche, but there’s no such thing as a bad one.
Potato and Spinach Quiche
This classic combination makes for a great breakfast, or lunch, plus nothing beats digging into a piping hot tart on a cold winter morning. You can also bake it a day ahead, and simply reheat in the oven, and it also tastes great cold. The potatoes and spinach add not just flavour, but texture to the quiche. Feel free to replace the potatoes and spinach with mushrooms, or other vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, sautéed zucchini or caramelised onions. You can also add protein, such as shredded chicken or tiny chunks of grilled fish.
There’s something rustic but elegant about this easy-to-make savoury tart
Make the pastry from scratch or buy shortcrust pastry from your local bakery. This recipe makes two 9-inch quiches and can also make six to eight 2-inch quiches.
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
6 large eggs
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup cheese (optional; whichever kind you prefer)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1-2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-2 cups spinach, sliced or chopped
To make the crust, mix the flour and salt. Add a little bit of butter at a time, and rub in with the flour and salt mixture. Keep on rubbing and kneading till all the butter has been added and the mixture has a crumbly texture. Whisk the egg and egg yolk together and add to the mixture. Mix until a dough forms and knead the dough.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and ideally for 3-4 hours.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up till it’s pliable and soft. Dust some flour on the dough and roll out into two 11-inch disks. Press these into 9-inch pans. Press down and around the edges of the pan. Trim the edges with a knife.
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
Line parchment paper on top of the crust and weigh down with dried beans or chickpeas. Bake for 20 minutes. Then take out from oven, remove the paper and beans etc and bake again for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Set crust aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
Now make the filling.
Chop the potatoes and spinach. Boil the cubed potatoes for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk together all the eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and the cream. Add the eggs to the milk-cream mixture via a sieve/strainer.
Sprinkle in the salt, pepper and cheese (if desired) and mix.
Stir in the boiled potatoes and chopped spinach.
Divide the egg mixture into two and pour into the pastries. Make sure not to overfill and leave some space between the filling and the edge of the crust.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling is firm to the touch at the center.
Set aside for 20 minutes to cool and for the quiche custard to set.
Serve warm or eat cold as a midnight snack.
The writer is a former staff member
Originally published in Dawn, EOS, December 5th, 2021