Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flour's Country Ham, Cheddar and Tomato Quiche

075P quiche

This quiche is good, really good.  And not just for breakfast -- I'd happily have this with a salad for lunch or dinner.  The crust is buttery, sandy, and crumbly, and the freshness of the tomatoes nicely contrasts with the creamy filling, even after being baked.  I haven't had quiche in so long, I was imagining a big omelet in crust.  But this is a smooth, savory custard.  The amount of ham and cheese isn't over the top, and despite the richness of the dish it feels light on your stomach.  I wanted to photograph individual slices too, but there weren't any left!

091 quiche

The recipe for the filling looked very rich, so I subbed the heavy cream with more half and half.  Still not exactly healthy, I know, but I was afraid it might not set up if I used just milk.  I also correctly guessed there would be more filling than a standard tart pan would hold, so I opted for an 8-inch springform pan instead, making it narrower but taller.  If you do the same, just note that this will add 30 minutes to the cooking time.

My last few tips.  If you use a springform pan, wrap the outside in foil since my second try sprung a leak despite no visible crust cracks.  And like the recipe says, make your crust taller than necessary to account for some inevitable shrinkage -- mine originally came up to the rim of the pan.  An industrial-sized paper coffee filter is handy for holding pie weights during blind baking.  Also, save that leftover dough!  Any pieces of crust that break off or holes that appear after blind baking can be patched up with dough and then baked with the filling.

Update: This post made the daily Foodbuzz Top 9!

Country Ham, Cheddar, and Tomato Quiche
From Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe
Makes one 9-inch quiche (serves 6 to 8)

Pate Brisee II (follows)
6 egg yolks
3 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (240 grams) heavy cream
1 cup (240 grams) half-and-half
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 ounces (114 grams) smoked country ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 ounces (86 grams) sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 ripe tomato, cored and chopped

Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and ⅛ inch thick.  Roll the dough circle around the pin and then unfurl it on top of a 9-inch aluminum pie pan or glass pie dish.  Press the dough gently into the bottom and sides of the pan.  Evenly pleat the overhanging dough with your fingers to create a decorative edge, or use scissors to trim the overhang, leaving a ¼-inch lip (to allow for shrinkage in the oven).  Refrigerate the quiche shell for at least 30 minutes.  (The shell can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 2 weeks.  Bake directly from the refrigerator or freezer.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°.  Line the shell with parchment paper, fill with pie weights, and blind bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the entire shell is light brown all the way through.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and flour until well mixed.  Whisk in the heavy cream and half-and-half, and season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

When the shell is ready, remove from the oven and scatter the ham pieces evenly over the bottom.  Scatter the cheese evenly on top of the ham, and then the tomato evenly on top of the cheese.  Slowly pour the custard base into the shell, being careful not to dislodge the ham, cheese, and tomato.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the custard is set.  Let cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.

The quiche can be tightly covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Reheat in a 350° oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warmed through, before serving.

Pâte Brisée II
Makes about 10 ounces dough, enough for (ahem) one 9-inch single-crust pie, 10-inch crostata or 9-inch quiche.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup plus 1 tbs (1 stick plus 1 tbs) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold milk

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Scatter the butter over the top and mix on low speed for about 45 seconds, or until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and pecan-size lumps of butter are visible throughout.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and milk until blended. Add to the flour-butter mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough barely comes together. It will look really shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.

Dump the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and gather it together into a tight mound. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top of the mound and then sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface (at Flour we call this "going down the mountain") until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough, moving through the mound until the whole mess has been smeared into a cohesive dough with streaks of butter.

Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.


  1. I love the idea of using a springform pan for this. I always end up with my quiches overflowing!
    This sounds really really good. There has always been something about tomatoes that have been baked that I love. Gotta try this :-)

    1. I think a deep dish pie pan would work well too, as long as you're not planning on removing it from the dish. Thanks!

  2. What a great idea to use a spring form pan and thanxx for helpful tips.
    Your quiche is totally mouthwatering...yum

  3. That does look delicious. And I love your blog title! Hehe.

  4. The springform pan sure gives it a very special look. I like how rustic it is and your photos are adding even more to the vibe. Beautiful. :)


    1. Glad you like the rustic vibe. At first I was bummed it didn't look perfect. :)

  5. Wow, that quiche is TALL! I love your idea to bake it in the springform pan--it makes this look so much fancier than regular quiche. :)

    1. I've always felt like shallow, fluted quiches look fancy, but I lately I've seen beautiful tall quiches and they were so out of the ordinary I wanted to make one.

  6. This is like deep-dish-pie - but quiche! Amazing and love the texture and cheesiness - simply gorgeous. I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It's a pleasure to be following your creations…

  7. Oh, that's a beauty!
    Congrats on T-9. Well-deserved!

  8. Your quiche looks delicious. What a great dish for breakfast or brunch. Congratulations on Foodbuzz Top 9:)

    1. I even had it for dinner one day. :) Thanks, Geri.

  9. I love how tall this is - extra pastry! I've never come across the idea of having quiche for breakfast either. In the UK it's always a lunch or dinner thing.

    1. Thanks! I'd say in the US it's a weekend brunch kind of thing.

  10. What an absolutely gorgeous quiche! The springform pan sure brought it up a notch in beauty (so to speak :)). I didn't even have to look at the recipe to know I wanted some of this! congrats on making the Top 9!

  11. Thanks for posting, would have never thought of this combination. Next time I would chop the ham smaller and grate the cheese. I would also increase the ham and cheese and add less of the egg mixture. Adding rosemary or some marinated artichokes would give it that extra special something. Will definitely make again with some modifications!

    1. You're welcome! I think what's great about this recipe is how adaptable it is. I liked it just as is, though I'll be trying other combinations in the future also.

  12. I want those for breakfast! Look at how that looks Mmmmmm

  13. Hi Shirley! Congratulations on Top 9! This quiche looks phenomenal! I've never seen a quiche that's tall as this. Really cool recipe. I like how you added cubed cheddars in here. Really cheesy and delicious! I can eat this for breakfast or lunch! Beautiful quiche!

  14. I love these photos and the quiche sounds delicious. Congrats on the top 9!

  15. Lovely photo, such a tempting quiche no surprise it made the top 9! congrats:D

  16. This looks so good I am going to add it to my Mouth Watering Mondays post. Come on over to see it this Monday at Cheers, Tara

  17. Hi, Shirley.

    I'm amazed by your take on Flour's quiche, especially its Pâte Brisée II!

    I tried the recipe and the technique of frissage for the first time last night. To my horror, the moment I stirred in the yolks and milk (I doubled the recipe), the butter-flour mixture turned unusually wet for a (pie) dough! I could tell since I've been making pies for few years. And albeit chilled, the chunks of butter softened up so quickly, that I could no longer perform frissage on the "mess!"

    To salvage that, I stopped the whole frissage business, and dusted the dough with more flour to counter the stickiness. I sort of "folded" the soft dough, then chilled it, and repeated the process, just like the laminating part of making puff pastry. Not sure if I've overworked it!

    But the baking part has yet to kick in, since it's my plan to use it for the same quiche this weekend. Now crossing my fingers... hoping that it'll still be edible, if not flaky. Lol.

    Do you think it could be due to the heat and humidity (I'm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)? In retrospect, I should have first used one tablespoon of milk of the two. And I can't help but to question the flour-to-fat ratio of this recipe. I've always thought the flour-to-fat ratio for pâte brisée normally looks something like 3:2 or 2:1. This is so disappointing, because so far, Joanne's recipes have yet to fail me. (Have made her lemon bars, granola bars, brioche, pain aux raisins, sticky buns, banana bread.)

    P.S. We use the metric system here. Anyway, baking is mostly about precision. Right? =)

    1. Hi, Pei-Lin! I'm no expert, but I absolutely think it's the heat and humidity. In the summers with the air conditioner on blast, I still run into problems working with pie/tart dough, so I try to handle it as little as possible. It's much easier in the winter, but you don't have those there, huh? ;) I have family in Kuala Lumpur, and my mom was born in Melaka. Another possibility is your dough needed more flour due to the high humidity, so sounds like you did right. And yes, the flour-to-fat ratio does seem unusual, but I've made this at least three times before and it's come out great. To be honest, although this tall version of the quiche is eye-catching, I like the shallow tart pan version better, since I personally enjoy a high crust-to-filling ratio in my quiches/pies/tarts.
      I think your pastry will definitely be edible, and any difference in flakiness will be negligible to most people. They'll just be thrilled you made a quiche. I also prefer baking by weight rather than volume, and use my scale whenever possible. Most US cookbooks haven't caught on, though.
      Sounds like you're one accomplished baker. Can't wait to check out your blog! Good luck, and let me know how the quiche turns out!

  18. Hi, Shirley.

    Meant to tell you about the quiche, but things got in the way. I've just been busy... Ha.

    Only managed to snap two photos of it:

    Well, the part of the pastry covered in the filling turned out somewhat doughy. But the rest was on the flaky side. Not sure if it was because of baking with pie weights. Honestly, I think of myself as more of a lazy baker (ha ha!); before this I'd been baking pie and tart doughs without pie weights. Plus, I dislike the idea of buying things like beans or rice just for such purpose. (I've seen Heston Blumenthal use coins as pie weights, and don't like the idea of that, either. There are germs all over coins! My parents always say, "Wash your hands after touching bills and coins, before eating." Ha.) Anyway, I even removed the pie weights toward the end and let the pastry bake for another 15 minutes, till golden brown throughout. Maybe I shouldn't be using pie weights next time?

    Overall, though, I feel like it was more of a success. My partner loved the pastry/crust, surprisingly... He said it was the best bit. I think the filling was awesome, too, which kind of reminded me of the Hawaiian pizza or a tomato-sauce-based pasta. Definitely going to try Joanne Chang's other quiche filling recipes (looking at the one with bacon and onion).

    Anyway, I think of myself more of an amateur baker. Ha ha. And I'm sorry to have probably disappointed you with my dying(?) blog. Just been too busy and tired for keeping up with the writing there, especially after a day of research and writing in the office, and some other things in life. But I haven't given up on it. Probably will "revive" it when the time has come.

    Oh hey. Have you gotten yourself a copy of Joanne Chang's latest Flour book? Mine has just been shipped from another side of the world. Eagerly anticipating its arrival, though it'll take some time to reach!

    -- Pei-Lin

    P.S. My mom is a Malaccan, too! And I love the gula melaka (palm sugar) from there, simply unadulterated. If you ever plan on visiting Kuala Lumpur, let me know! I might relocate from Malaysia in a few years.

    P.S.S. Will be following your blog!

  19. I would be thrilled if you would hop over to my Easter/Passover Recipe Roundup and share this awesome recipe with us! You can find it here: Hope to see you there! HUGS & Happy Easter!


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