Lately, I've been really into meals that I can cook once and then easily eat for the next few day or so, given the perpetually increasing number of items on my to-do list, sigh. (My recent motto for life alternates on the minute between "Focus" and "Don't panic" whenever I look at said list!) Apparently, quiche is perfect for this make now-eat tomorrow mentality--so much so that it didn't lose its impressiveness when I made it one day and served it the next when friends came over for lunch. Also, it's like this wonderful meal-in-one, when you pack it with vegetables and serve it topped with heaps of fresh baby kale.
This particular quiche is inspired by a frittata that an acquaintance made when I visited Australia back in 2007. She took me on a picnic in the Blue Mountains (which are absolutely amazing, btw), and out of her picnic basket, she pulled this almost magic frittata that was densely packed with floating cubes of butternut squash, fresh peas, and feta cheese. The effect of the cubes of cheese and squash and the spheres of green peas surrounded by pale yellow egg was gorgeous, like abstract mosaic art. Until that day, I never thought I liked frittatas--they were way too much egg and not enough anything else, in my opinion--but that one definitely changed my mind.
...and I've been thinking about that frittata ever since. So I tried my hand at replicating it in quiche form, surrounded by a flaky whole wheat pie crust to satisfy the carb-loving part of me. :) Inside is a myriad of textures and flavors: bursting fresh peas, a little bit of bite and sweetness in the butternut squash, salty almost-brininess from the feta, and a bit of garlic to top it off. The egg here is really just an accompaniment, something to hold everything together (deliciously). :)
[click on photo for a larger image]
Read on for recipe....
A Spring Quiche
makes one 10-inch quiche
for whole wheat crust
187 g all-purpose flour
188 g whole wheat flour
1 tspn dried thyme
1 cup butter, cold
½ tspn salt
8–9 Tbspn ice water
one small butternut squash,
peeled and cubed
1 tspn olive oil
227 g (8 oz) feta cheese, cubed
2 cups shelled English peas
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup (245 g) European-style
1 cup (230 g) whole milk
1½ tspn salt
½ tspn freshly ground black pepper
½ tspn freshly ground nutmeg
1. for whole wheat crust. Combine the flours, thyme, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed between two fingers. There should still be chunks of butter—do not overmix! Form the dough into a disc, wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and chill for at least one hour.
2. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to ⅛-inch thick. Place the dough in a 10-inch quiche pan, trimming the excess. Return the pan to the refrigerator to chill.
3. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line the quiche crust with a piece of parchment, and weigh the tart crust down with pie weights or uncooked beans, and bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment paper, and return to the oven. Continue baking for 5 to 7 min, until the bottom of the crust is no longer glossy. Remove from oven and let cool.
4. for filling. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Toss the cubed butternut squash with the olive oil. Spread the squash on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until cooked but not completely very soft. Remove from oven.
5. Place the butternut squash, cubed feta cheese, and English peas in the prepared quiche crust.
6. In a bowl, whisk to combine the minced garlic, eggs, yoghurt, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour the egg mixture into the crust. Bake for about 55 minutes, until the center of the tart is just set but still a bit jiggly. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before serving. Serve with baby kale.