Of course the first thing that comes to mind for me when I have ham around, after ham sandwiches of course, is quiche. I’ve made ham & cheese quiche before, and you’ve likely seen this combination many times. But this one is extra decadent and amazing thanks to some super yummy cheese that I had on hand. I LOVE when a meal comes together without having to try too hard and when you just so happen to have ingredients that end up being delicious together.
I had a little block of gruyere and some wine soaked goat cheese left from the Easter cheese tray. Any cheese would do, but these seemed to take this quiche to a new level of wonderfulness. Trader Joe’s has a goat cheese gouda that I think would be awesome, similar in flavor and texture to the goat cheese I used. It’s not your typical soft and creamy goat cheese, this one is soft but still grate-able.
The crust and the base for this came from this America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. Have you bought yourself a copy yet? What’s stopping you? I had to do some things differently with the crust because I started dinner at 5 and it needed to be on the table at 7. I didn’t have the time to chill the dough for an hour, roll it and chill for 30 minutes, par-bake for 30 and then bake the custard for another 45 minutes. So I improvised. The recipe below shows what I did, but if you have the time, chill the dough before rolling and par-bake for a full 30 minutes. It will yield a crispier crust.
The quiche base is not for the faint of heart. It’s heavy on the eggs, cream and whole milk. Add in the ham and cheese and you’ve got yourself a quiche that is hearty enough for the manliest of men. Add in a little crumbled bacon and they won’t have a hard time scarfing down a few pieces. But it’s not so heavy that you can’t serve it at a ladies lunch. It’s just too delicious for any sane person to say “no” to.
You can take this quiche base and add in whatever you want to. Make it vegetarian with mushrooms, spinach, peppers, asparagus, etc. Use bacon instead of ham, or cooked chicken or other meat. Play with the herbs as well. Endless options. Enjoy!
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into chunks and chilled
4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks and chilled
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 cup of cooked chopped ham
4 ounces of shredded cheese, 2 ounces of gruyere and 2 ounces of firm goat cheese such as goat gouda
In a food processor combine flour, sugar and salt, and pulse a few times to combine.
Add in the chunks of shortening and butter and pulse a few times until the fat is in coarse pieces.
Add the ice water into the machine, start with 3 tablespoons, pulse a few times, then add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing once or twice in between additions, until dough looks like it is just holding together, but not until it is smooth.
Pour the dough out onto a large piece of parchment and pat it together into a disk.
Place another piece of parchment on top and roll the dough out, as quickly as possible into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top piece of parchment, then place the pie plate on top of the dough circle. Turn it all over together and carefully press the dough into the pie plate and peel off the parchment. Make sure the dough is pressed into the pan evenly, crimp the edges and transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights, beans or rice.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, prepare the custard mixture while it cooks.
Remove the foil and weights, then immediately fill with the custard.
Whisk the eggs, milk and cream well in a bowl.
Whisk in the salt, mustard and thyme.
When the crust comes out of the oven scatter the ham on the bottom of the crust then scatter the cheese on top.
Move the pie plate to the oven then pour the egg mixture slowly into the pan until it is almost full. You may have egg mixture left over if you have a shallow pie pan.
Close the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven when quiche is just about set.
This is one of the first things you will see as you start preparing this pie crust. 2 whole sticks of pure and lovely butter. So you know it’s gotta be good.
There is nothing at all wrong with buying your pie dough. I do it all the time. Those twin packs of Pillsbury pie dough are convenient and really tasty. However, if you can find the time to make pie dough from scratch, it is well worth it. The great thing about this particular recipe is that it makes enough for a double crusted pie so you can use one now and keep the other in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Since I was going to make quiche with this pie crust, I had to blind bake it. I hate blind baking. I always feel like my efforts to make an attractive edge are futile. After putting the dough in the pie plate you have to put in and take out the foil and pie weights which inevitably causes some part of the edge to get bumped. I am not good at this. This time I also had a little trouble with the crust sliding down from the top of the plate during baking, so I had to squish the still pliable dough back up to the top of the plate. After searching a little on this issue I learned that a quick rest in the freezer would have kept it from losing as much of its shape during the blind baking. An obvious thing that I probably should have known to do, but didn’t. Even though this crust was far from the prettiest it was delicious.
Thanks to the generous amount of butter, this crust is absolutely delicious. You just cannot beat the flavor of butter. The crust is also slightly flaky and the layers just melt in your mouth. A mix of butter and shortening is supposed to yield a more flaky dough, so I will have to try that sometime. The dough comes together quickly in a food processor, but you can also use a pastry blender. It rolls out easily, but do make sure you dust your surface and rolling pin with flour as you’re rolling. After a few rolls make sure you pick up your dough and rotate it 90 degrees. I have the tendency to roll with more pressure when the pin is closest to me and less pressure when it is far away. So rotating the dough not only helps with sticking, but also with keeping your dough an even thickness.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (Or use a pastry blender to combine ingredients.)
With machine running, add ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough comes together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Dough should hold together and not be crumbly. Add 1 tablespoon more of water if it is crumbly.
Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, place each on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks and wrap in the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Place your pie plate on the dough and make sure you have about 2 inches excess all around. Roll dough onto pin, then unroll into pie plate.
I searched for a healthier quiche just to kind of balance things out since I was using an all butter pie crust! I found some that used skim milk, but we all know how well those things usually turn out. Bad. That’s how. So I kept looking and found some that used non-fat evaporated milk. So I decided to combine some 2% milk with some evaporated milk. I also noticed many recipes that used whole eggs and egg whites. So I used 3 whole and 3 whites. The resulting texture was different than the usual whole egg and all milk quiches I have made, but it wasn’t weird. The flavor was quite good and we finished the quiche off in 3 days. Feel free to use any meat you have, any cheese, and any vegetables. Quiche is good for emptying the fridge. Pardon this bad picture! Still documenting food with the iPhone and it is getting old. I miss my camera.
Ham & Cheese Quiche
3 egg whites
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup non-fat evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup grated white cheddar
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 pie crust
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Blind bake the pie crust for 7 minutes, then remove the pie weights, (rice, beans, etc.) and bake for an additional 4 minutes.
Whisk eggs, whites, milk, salt and pepper until foamy.
Stir in ham, cheese and scallions.
Pour filling into pie crust and bake for 35-45 minutes. Center can be slightly jiggly, but bake for the longer time if you want a firmer texture. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.