One of the very trickiest things about cooking is the timing. Getting dishes to come out around the same time or having food on the table when you want it to be ready can be very tricky. I truly believe the timing piece only comes with practice. Someone can have a naturally good palate but kitchen timing does not seem to be a genetic trait.
I remember struggling with timing when I was first learning to cook. Learning that you really need to read a recipe thoroughly before you start cooking helped. But truly I got better from sheer practice. These days, I’m pretty good at getting everything to come out at once. I’m also good at judging how long things will take start to finish. But once in a while, I get tripped up.
This recipe for a mammoth quiche has been sitting quietly in my notebook for years now. It is a recipe that is never far from my mind. With all the cooking I do, it is hard for me to believe that it took me all this time to make it. I guess it’s not really weeknight cooking because it is a little fussy and it is also huge. It’s not really dinner party cooking because, I don’t know – quiche seems a little brunchy for a dinner party. We have people over often for brunch – so why didn’t I make it one of those times? I wondered all of this as I was preparing to make it. And then, when all was said and done, I realized why.
This is a Thomas Keller recipe that comes from the Bouchon cookbook, but I have it because it appeared in Food & Wine. I remember Keller writing that, for him, quiche needed to be large. And boy, is this large. Rather than a tart pan or a pie plate, this baby is made in a springform pan. The crust itself is several inches high. The filling has 2 cups of milk, 2 cups of cream, 6 eggs, 2 pounds of mushrooms, and just a smattering of cheese. It is gorgeous. It is awe-inspiring. And if you ever make it, please remember to read the part where I tell you it takes about 5 hours to make, start to finish.
Yep. I had some good friends over today for a late morning get together. I put out pumpkin bread and granola and thought I would serve the quiche as it got closer to lunch time. But, because I had a momentary being-good-at-timing lapse, all my friends left and the quiche wasn’t even out of the oven. I left it in there for a full two hours and, as you can see from the photos, it still wasn’t completely cooked. Regardless of runniness, we will be eating this quiche for days for several reasons.
1) Anything that takes me 5 hours to make will be consumed without question.
2) This is one of the tastiest things I have ever made.
3) I used a pound of button mushrooms and a pound of chanterelles (some regular and some yellow foot) which cost me $16.
So, Over the Top Mushroom Quiche it is until Sunday!
One of my readers made a terrific suggestion – how about creating a “My Favorites” category. I went back through my old posts and tagged the recipes that I like the very best. You can scroll down to it on the sidebar to your right. In spite of this being truly delicious and a recipe I will no doubt make again – I’m not sure I can call a five hour egg and crust dish a favorite. Not yet anyway.
One Year Ago: Frittata with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Sage
Two Years Ago: Fennel and Brie Risotto Wedges
Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche
Adapted from Food & Wine
Keller recommends oyster mushrooms but that type creeps me out. And I live in a part of the country where we get incredible (and relatively affordable) wild mushrooms. Use what you like. I had Manchego in my cheese drawer so I used that but his recommendation is Comté or Emmental. Finally, as stated above, it took my quiche a LOT longer to bake than the time specified below, but every oven is different!)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound exotic mushrooms
1 pound white mushrooms, quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 small shallots, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
¾ cup shredded Manchego cheese
Buttery Pastry Shell (recipe follows)
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 325º. In a very large skillet, heat the oil. Add all the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat, stirring until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the butter, shallots, and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, about 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.
Scatter ¼ cup of the cheese and half of the mushrooms evenly over the bottom of the Buttery Pastry Shell. In a blender, mix half each of the milk, cream, and eggs and season with 1½ teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Blend at high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Pour the custard into the pastry shell. Top with another ¼ cup of cheese and the remaining mushrooms. Make a second batch of custard with the remaining milk, cream and eggs plus the same amount of salt and pepper, and pour into the shell. Scatter the remaining ¼ cup of cheese on top.
Bake the quiche for about 1½ hours, or until richly browned on top and the custard is barely set in the center. Let cool in the pan until very warm.
Using a serrated knife, cut the pastry shell flush with the top of the pan. Carefully lift the springform pan ring off the quiche. Cut the mushroom quiche into wedges and serve warm. (The unmolded quiche can be cooled completely, then refrigerated overnight. To serve, carefully cut the quiche into wedges, arrange on a baking sheet and bake in a 350ºoven until warm, about 10 minutes.)
Buttery Pastry Shell
Makes one 9-inch shell
Since I love to make savory tarts and galettes, I have a lot of experience with tart dough. I have learned to sacrifice flakiness for flavor when using all butter. This crust is almost impossibly flaky in spite of having no shortening and the flavor is terrific.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch dice
¼ cup ice water
Canola oil, for brushing
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 1 cup fo the flour with the salt. At low speed, add the butter pieces, a handful at a time. When all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is completely incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the remaining 1 cup of flour just until blended. Mix in the water just until thoroughly incorporated. Flatten the pastry into an 8-inch disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Set the ring of a 9-inch springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving the hinge open. Brush the inside of the ring with oil.
Dust the pastry on both sides with flour. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 16-inch round, about 3/16-inch thick. Carefully roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared ring, pressing it into the corners. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1 inch and press it firmly against the outside of the ring. Use the trimming to fill any cracks. Refrigerate the shell for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375º. Line the pastry shell with a 14-inch round of parchment paper; fill the shell with dried beans or rice. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the edge f the dough is lightly browned. Remove the parchment and beans and continue baking the pastry shell for about 15 minutes longer, or until richly browned on the bottom . Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the pastry cool. Fill any cracks with the reserved pastry dough. (The uncooked pastry can be frozen for up to 1 month. The Baked pastry shell can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature overnight.)