If a small dose of good things tastes great, surely an over-indulgence of good things should taste awesome. Well, that’s the logic many home cooks follow when it comes to fillings. Fillings for pies, tarts, dumplings, cakes, omelettes, crepes, rolls, sandwiches…if I can fill it, I fill it to the bream until it threatens to burst.
My logic seems simple enough but quiche has always been problematic. You see, I cannot decide which I like best. Creamy custard? Melty cheese? Or the savoury meat & vegetable? If I over-indulge in one, I would have to cut back on the other two. There is no easy middle ground. Luckily, this tough decision was made for me when I followed Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Spinach And Bacon Quiche in her cookbook Around My French Table. Her recipe is all about the flavourful spinach, bacon, and onion.
The quiche is a straight-forward rendition with pâte brisée crust filled with blanched spinach sautéed with pancetta, onion, and garlic in a duck egg & cream custard and grated parmesan cheese. The original recipe calls for bacon and chicken egg but I just couldn’t help myself with the substitutions. The richness that duck egg imparts to custard is incomparable and there’s no reason to limit its use to sweet custard. To accommodate the larger size of duck eggs, I cut back the heavy cream from 2/3 cup to 1/2 cup. As for pancetta, it was sitting in my fridge all diced and ready to use so I couldn’t say no to the convenience. The quiche is absolutely picture-perfect.
The cooked spinach, pancetta, and onion filling measured approximately 2 cups. As soon as I filled the par-baked crust with the veggie and meat, I knew that I was in for a treat. They almost completely filled the tart shell and there is only enough custard to bind. There is no molten pockets of cheese to deal with either. Fluffy grated parmesan tops the quiche just enough to give it a nice browned top and a bit of saltiness.
As for the crust, I have to proclaim my love for this pâte brisée recipe. It was so easy to make and the dough was so well-behaved. It rolls out like a dream and no shrinkage after baking either! Of course it also helps that the crust tastes tender and buttery. Here is a little trick I used to minimize clean up effort when forming the dough. Once it is finished mixing in the food processor, I line a large dinner plate with a piece of plastic wrap. I empty all the bits and pieces of the dough directly on my lined plate and gently pat it into a disk. Finally, fold up the plastic wrap and store the dough in the fridge. This is the same recipe I used in last week’s cheesecake and it continues to work like a charm the second time around.