3-2-1 Pie Dough and Quiche Lorraine

It’s been a while since I’ve made quiche. I felt inspired and figured I’d take my culinary school knowledge to work.

I’ve made this pie dough in the past (posted here and here) and it still is one of my favorite recipes from Michael Ruhlman’s book, Ratio.

Pie Dough

The first step for the quiche was of course to make the pie dough. Scaled down for one tart pan (or pie pan) it is:

  • 6 oz flour
  • 4 oz butter (1 stick) cut into chunks
  • 2 to 3 oz of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Method:

  1. Combine the flour, and salt in a bowl or food processor.
  2. Break the cold butter into the flour and salt either by rubbing it in or by pulsing in the food processor
  3. Slowly add water until the dough just comes together.
    *Note: It may be sandy or brittle. When resting in later steps, the water will be absorbed by the flour.
  4. Bring the dough together into the shape of a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  5. Roll out the dough into a disc that is slightly bigger than the tart pan or pie pan you’ve chosen. Wrap in plastic and chill again for 30 minutes.
  6. Place the dough into the tart pan or pie pan you’ve chosen. Ensure that the dough is pressed into the edges. You can use your fingers for this.
  7. Trim any excess dough
    1. If using a pie pan, trim the excess dough from the edges with a knife. Leave a little extra if you’ll be pinching the edge to make it more decorative
    2. If using a tart pan, you can easily trim the excess by rolling over it with a rolling pin. The tart pan will cut the dough and you can peel off the excess.
  8. Chill your tart pan or pie pan with dough
  9. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees
  10. Cover the pie dough with parchment paper and dried beans or pie weights and blind bake for 20 to 25 minutes. It’s ready when the sides take on some color and dry.

Quiche Filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
    * while not traditional, it’s what I had!
  • pinch of salt
  • white pepper to taste
  • bacon
  1. Crack eggs into a bowl
  2. Add the heavy cream and cheese
  3. Add salt and pepper and whisk
  4. Break/crumble bacon or the addition of your choice into the liquid

Finishing it all up

  1. When the pie crust is ready from blind baking, take it out of the oven, remove the parchment paper and immediately pour the liquid into it. The liquid will create a seal as it hardens preventing any leaks.

    Quiche Lorraine After Blink Baking
    After Blink Baking
  2. Make sure the cheese and bacon are easily distributed
  3. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the center is just set
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!
Right out of the oven
Right out of the oven, Rising Life a Soufflé
Quiche Lorraine hot and cooling
Hot and cooling
Quiche Lorraine cooled off
Cooled off
A tasty little slice of Quiche Lorraine
A tasty little slice

Tips:

  • For the pie dough, everything should be cold. Use ice water if you can.
  • Non-iodized salt is best for baking. It will distribute more evenly throughout
  • Chill your pie dough after working it each time. Chilling relaxes the gluten preventing a chewy crust. It should be chilled at least 3o minutes each time.
  • Think about the end product. For the filling I chose white pepper so as not to overpower the other flavors and so I wouldn’t have black specs in my quiche
  • Place the quiche tart pan or pie pan on a sheet pan. It will make the process of putting the tart into the oven and pulling it out much easier and safer.
  • Be careful and don’t place the quiche too close to the heating element if you’re using an electric stove. You might get more browning on the top than you intended.
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Pasta & Ratios, What A Difference Ingredients Make

I bought a pasta roller to compliment my KitchenAid and finally had an opportunity to use it. I keep the machine in New York while I have my KitchenAid and attachments in Somerville. As much as I would like to travel back and forth with my mixer, it’s not a practical option of course. I haven’t made pasta since taking classes at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Somerville about 9 months ago, and as a result I pretty much forgot what to do. I didn’t have my class recipes on hand and turned to Ratio for some guidance. Having documented successful attempts before (Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – Pasta , Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – More Pasta) I was confident in the ratio and experimentation based on what I learned during a class at Dave’s.

Just before heading to the gym last night, I decided that I could make some pasta dough and have it rest in the fridge while I completed my workout knowing that when I got back I would be tired and hungry and wouldn’t want to wait for the dough to rest in that state. Cooking for myself, I decided to cut the recipe down by a third. I love pasta, but didn’t want to be a glutton. What could go wrong using a ratio? I would soon find out.

I replaced half of the measured all purpose flour with Semolina. We used a combination of Semolina and Durum at Dave’s, roughly a 50/50 mixture is what I remembered. I really enjoyed the texture and taste of that pasta, some of the best I’ve ever had, and was hoping I would come close despite the use of all purpose flour. This wasn’t to be.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Flour

As I made the dough, I could sense that the texture was naturally different. This wasn’t a surprise given the use of a different mixture of flour, but I realized that I had forgotten what it was supposed to feel like or wondered if I could know what it should feel like given a combination I had never used before. While kneading I used the all purpose flour on the counter and soaked up quite a bit.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Kneaded Dough

When the visible air pockets were gone, I wrapped the dough in plastic and put it in the fridge, heading out for my run.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Rested Dough

When I got back, I broke out the machine, and took the dough out of the fridge. It looked and felt different, not quite smooth and springy, but I had yet to reach the moment of truth.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Rested Dough

I cut the dough into portions that I could easily feed through the rollers and started rolling. Disaster struck. The dough did not hold together. It was rough, filled with holes as it spread out and generally fell apart. No matter what I tried, adding more all purpose flour, adding more oil, kneading, it simply did not work out for me.

Plan B was a box of pasta in the cupboard and some leftover sauce I made with cherry tomatoes from the farmers’ market in Union Square. The sauce was definitely a highlight. The tomatoes were amazing.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Boxed Penne Pasta

Not all of life is success and learning often comes from failure. I’m confident I can nail the pasta with some changes to the ingredients and ratio of them. It’s obvious that not all flours are created equal or will behave the same way. At least I have a baseline to work with having tried this time.

 

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Cooking Fresh Food From The Union Square Farmers’ Market

Union Square Farmers' MarketI can’t keep using my tiny NY apartment kitchen as an excuse for not cooking. It’s not ideal, but it’s not the worst I’ve seen in the city either. One great thing about New York is that while most living quarters may be smaller than the rest of the world, just about everything else is bigger, this includes farmers’ markets such as the Union Square Farmers’ Market.

The selection can be overwhelming. I spent Monday meandering through the different stalls wondering what to pick up to cook for dinner. I was lucky enough to come across a stall where they were cooking some of their vegetables for people to taste. In New York you need hustle and showmanship and as a result they won my purchase of garlic, sweet peppers and purslane, an ingredient I was not familiar with.

Purslane

Aside from being exposed to new ingredients and supporting the local community, a key benefit to shopping local and at a farmers’ market is that you can talk to the farmers themselves and also learn about how they grow their crops.

Clean Food

At home I tested out cooking the purslane as I had seen demonstrated through a quick sauté in olive oil, along with garlic, onion and the peppers, a little salt and black pepper. The garlic from the farmers’ market is very different from that which you find in the supermarket. This one in particular was sweeter and had a more delicate flavor.Purslane, Peppers, Garlic

I was pretty happy with the result, a repeated this on Tuesday, cooking the purslane a bit longer to get a softer result.Cooked Purslane, Peppers, Garlic, Onion

Wednesday’s farmers’ market in Union Square allowed me to get a fresh zucchini and some cherry tomatoes.Fresh Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

I happily cooked these down in olive oil over low heat with some salt and pepper and garlic.

Fresh Cooking Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

IMG_5838

When cooked through I added this to some penne pasta for a late pasta primavera style (it’s summer) meal.

Pasta Primavera, Fresh Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

I feel bad that I used boxed pasta and hope that I can make some from scratch next time. I’m lucky to work so close to the farmers’ market and will make it a point to try out new ingredients as much as I can.

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Dinner with Strangers

A common lesson taught to children at an early age is to not talk to strangers. Of course this rule is broken all the time and for good reason. We meet strangers in all aspects of our day. They become friends for life,  sometimes just for a moment in time and often they are in and out of your life in an instant. Usually the people you interact with fall into two categories, those with whom you develop a relationship such as your friends, family and co-workers and sometimes they are the people you speak with for just a little while such as a waiter, store clerk or passerby asking for directions. We feel most comfortable interacting with those that we know. That’s easy to understand.

What does this have to do with food you ask? Plenty. Last night I made the choice to spend an evening having dinner with seven strangers at Church (a restaurant, not a real one) though a meal organized by Grub With Us. I had willingly subjected myself to a potentially awkward social situation that falls between the fleeting encounter and long-term relationships and best of all I paid for it!

When I mentioned that I was signing up for this, most people that I spoke with thought I was crazy and said they would never do something like this themselves. The idea of sharing a meal with people I did not know is an interesting one. The possibility of starting an intellectual debate (read argument) about religion, politics, society or Casey Anthony just seem too scary for them and yet for me the unknown of how the evening would unfold from initial introductions to friendly good byes with stomachs full of delicious food was too good to pass up. What if we don’t get along they wondered? What if we have nothing in common? What if…? Well there wasn’t an “if”. We shared a love for food and socializing with others. It was fun.

The meal was shared family style, with each dish being described in decadent detail as it was placed on the table by the wait staff. The waitress had me at “lobster broth” when she described the ingredients for the mussels. Everything was so good. Each dish offered the opportunity for conversation about food and the sharing by passing around the dishes around the table seemed to break down all barriers of what could have been an awkward meal. We had become an instant family for the duration of the meal, sharing, savoring and serving seconds. The meal was pre-paid save for drinks thus removing the inevitable dispute of who owed what with someone leaving feeling cheated. Sharing a meal took away our individuality with respect to a food choice but allowed it to come out in other ways as part of conversation. It was a fascinating experience to watch and to be a part of. As someone commented at the table this idea would not have worked 10 years ago but it is one that will likely take off very quickly. I wish the Grub With Us team the best of luck.

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