I've stated it before in a previous post, but quiche is a wonderful breakfast food that is unfortunately severely underrated and underappreciated. It's a super customizable dish that supports any sort of mix-ins. Think beyond the standard filling of broccoli, cheddar, and cubed bits of ham. How about some sun-dried tomatoes, or fried crimini mushrooms, or little nuggets of feta and olives, or a Spanish quiche (a play on a Spanish tortilla) with scalloped potato layers and chorizo? I'm just saying, that when it comes to a quiche, you've got lots of options. And while the custard is a fairly simple ratio of egg to milk, the most crucial component of this dish is the crust.
Flaky and Tender, Yet Elusive and Mysterious
I love quiche and make it as often as I can, but I haven't yet been able to master this buttery and flaky thing. I had previously tested a "quick crust" consisting of flour, salt, rosemary, ice water, and olive oil, but this dough lost all of its moisture in the oven and came out all wrinkly and pale. My latest attempt featured a traditional butter crust, which was much better in flavor, but couldn't retain its shape throughout the baking process. My beautifully crimped edges sank down into a shorter and fatter lining for the custard, Perhaps my actual baking dish could be the culprit here, as it has an exaggerated slope on the sides instead of the more iconic 90 degree angle.
I mean, look at how promising this crust looked before it's demise in the oven!
Blind Baking: Necessary Or No?
My crust failed me in the very first step of the process, which was the preliminary blind bake. And if you're wondering right now Do I really need to bake my crust beforehand? for me, the answer is an absolute yes. It's a necessary step, unless you want a mushy and raw bottom. The same goes for pies. Some people don't believe in blind baking at all, but for the life of me I can't imagine how you can achieve distinct layers without this step. I enjoy the crust because it serves as a complimentary element to the custard. If I just wanted the experience of a single texture, I wouldn't bother with all this mess and simply make a frittata!
If you've managed to make it this far and have a base for your quiche that you're at least somewhat content with, it's time to fill it! The importance of this step is in determining how much mixture you will need. A mistake I normally make is calculating the amount of eggs and milk it will take to fill my tart to the top without taking displacement into account. If this were a purist's quiche, (i.e. solely custard and crust) I would have been fine with three large eggs and 1 1/2 cups of whole milk. (As a general rule of thumb, the custard consists of a 1:2 ratio, or one large egg to a 1/2 cup of milk.) But since my crust decreased in height by about half, I struggled with preventing an overflow of custard after adding my asparagus and caramelized onion to the mix. If you're crust changes height after the blind baking, be sure to take this into account as well! If some of the mixture does spill over into the crevices between pan and crust, there is nothing to worry about, however. It will merely give your crust a shiny lacquered appearance, as the eggs forms a dark brown, shiny seal as it cooks. See picture below:
I do not find that this affects the taste, but it certainly makes the quiche more crunchy on the outside.
I wish you the best on your own quiche-making endeavors, and if anyone has any tips on a fool-proof crust please leave them down below in the comments section.
I'm Lisa Cecilia Garcia. I'm a freelance writer specializing in food and lifestyle but have experience in poetry, creative writing, and everything in between. I'm a recent college graduate residing in Valdosta, GA. I love sketching, running, and obviously cooking and eating. When I'm older, I plan to run away to the mountains.