Spring Quiche and the Perfect Gift for Mom

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Spring Quiche and the Perfect Gift for Mom

I started this blog in earnest within the last month. The whole idea started here, which eventually sent me here and then here and here and here. I somehow missed the whole blog explosion over the last three years, yet in the six months since Matthew showed up in my life, I not only have a feed reader, but approximately 30 food blog subscriptions and a del.icio.us profile full of other people’s recipes. And now, my own site.

I was a French literature major in college–my French acquaintances always said I spoke like a 19th century novel thanks to my studies. During my semester abroad in Paris, I was fortunate to live with an amazing cook. Mme Biard was a widow who lived in a vintage apartment in the 16th arrondissement, which I was told was very bourgeois. Mme Biard went to market every day , which at the time boggled the mind of this Midwestern farm town girl. She never made a chicken breast without pounding it into a cutlet and topping it with a delicate sauce. She lit her ancient stove with a match and served meals in a dining room with gilded moldings. Mme Biard introduced me to endives with ham, and Dover sole, and ratatouille. She was also extremely worried about my wanton tendency to eat pasta for every meal she did not prepare. (I still do this.)

So to make a long story short, I passed my love affair with Paris on to my mother via our tummies and mouths. For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to get her something special. I was excited about this new venture of mine and wanted to show her the (well-earned) successes that bloggers sometimes find… so I got her a copy of Clotilde’s just-released and gorgeous new book, so we could relive memories of Parisian food together. I loved the book. I was sad to see it go to Indiana. (I hope Mom likes it too.)

Mom came to visit this last weekend, and we made a glut of recipes from or inspired by Clotilde… starting with a quiche. When I told Mom we were having quiche and that I had never made a crust, she cast a vote of confidence by saying, “I’ve always hated making pie crusts.”

To both of our amazement, however, Clotilde’s crust was a breeze. If you are scared of making crusts and you own a food processor, give it a try. Phobia conquered. I foresee many tarts in my future.

And as for the filling, asparagus is in season even at the big, bad, commercial grocery store in Pittsburgh right now. I had some goat cheese around the house because I am an addict. In-season asparagus + warm, creamy goatieness + eggs and cream + Clotilde’s crust = a fantastic spring brunch with your parents.

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quiche
Inspired by Clotilde

For the crust (which is also in the book):
1 cup flour
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp ice-cold water (or more as needed)

Combine the flour, salt and butter in the food processor until combined. Add the egg and run the processor until the dough forms a ball. At first, nothing will happen, but after a few seconds, the dough will come together all at once. If you need a little more moisture, add ice water a teaspoon at a time.

Dump the ball out of the processor, shape it gently into a slightly flattened ball, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (I did overnight.)

For the filling (based on my fridge):
1 bunch asparagus
4 oz goat cheese, cut into cubes and crumbles
4 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup half-and-half
A few scrapes of fresh nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie pan.

Take the dough out of the fridge and let rest at room temperature until it is warm enough to roll out. This took about 20 minutes for me.

Meanwhile, blanch the aspargus for five minutes in lightly salted boiling water, until it is just tender. Drain and dry.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, half-and-half, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.

Roll the crust out to a 12-inch circle. Transfer to the greased pie shell. Trim and crimp the edges, then poke it all over with a fork. Bake for 7 minutes with no fillings.

Remove the shell from the oven and arrange the blanched asparagus in the bottom of the plate. My asparagus was too long and bountiful to make the spoke pattern, so I alternated the spears in two layers to create the cute rows you see above. Top with the goat cheese, then pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are set. Turn off the oven and let the quiche rest in the oven for 5 more minutes. Then remove and serve! Also delicious as breakfast for the rest of the week, fyi…

And now, learn from my mistakes:
1. Yeah, poke holes all over the crust with your fork before you bake it. Don’t miss the sides; if you do, your sides may… um… collapse somewhat and make big bubbles. You can ask your mom to tame the bubbles if she is around.
2. If a spoke pattern of asparagus is important to you, remember to cut it small enough. I had mentally planned for spokes but didn’t plan ahead. Good thing the crosshatch pattern had such a fun result!
3. If all of the egg mixture doesn’t fit in the shell, it’s not absolutely required to keep pouring. No one will know if 1/4 cup of eggs goes down the drain… but they might notice if the side of the crust that happened to collapse because you didn’t poke it has egg outside as well as in.