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Author Notes: Last Thursday a friend sent me an email with Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe for Cauliflower Cake. When Friday rolled around and the theme announced, cauliflower popped into my head as an unsung hero of winter vegetables. Turning to the Flavor Bible for inspiration, I decided to tinker with cauliflower, blue cheese, bacon and apple as flavors that both complement and contrast one another. The blue cheese I used, Buttermilk Blue, is a lovely mellow, yet flavorful blue that is creamy, bold without being overpowering, and has a delicate finish. The resulting quiche is rich and tangy with just a hint of sweetness. A note about the tart technique: I followed Judy Rodgers' very descriptive and well-written technique to make dough for Pâte Brisée or all butter crust. It produces lovely, smooth dough very easily, resulting in a flaky, buttery crust. —gingerroot
Makes one 10 inch quiche
for the tart crust
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons ice cold water
- Combine flour and salt in a mound on a cool, clean surface. Place stick of butter on top of mound. Slice butter into ¼-inch thick pieces. Dip each slice of butter in flour, coating top and bottom.
- Using your thumbs and index fingers, flatten each slice, gently squeezing. As you do this, sections of each slice will fall on to the flour mound. Repeat until you have flattened every slice.
- You should now have a pile of thin, flour coated butter flakes on top of your flour. Slide both hands, palms facing up, under the edges of the flour mound and bring your hands together, raking floury butter flakes and gently combining pieces by pressing your thumbs down against your other fingers. Repeat until you have mostly saw dusty clumps with a few larger flakes.
- Sprinkle 1 T of ice-cold water over pile. Gently work mixture together with your hands to combine dough. If dough gets sticky, dip fingers in flour. Add remaining tablespoon of ice cold water and gather, eventually rolling dough into a smooth ball (be careful not to overwork, or dough will be tough). Wrap ball in a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into disc (about 1 inch thick and 4 inches across). Fold plastic wrap around edges of disc to seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
- When ready to use, remove from refrigerator and allow disc to sit at room temperature for about ten minutes before rolling out. Roll out dough (slightly larger than tart pan) and carefully wind around pin while sliding ceramic tart pan under. Unwind dough from pin into tart pan, carefully pressing into the bottom and up the sides. Trim excess with kitchen shears. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line dough with parchment, fill with at least 1 cup of rice or dried beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, remove parchment and weights, and poke surface of dough all over with a fork. Return to oven for 12 more minutes. Remove and set aside to cool before filling and baking. Do not turn off oven.
for the filling
- 3 slices thick, applewood smoked, uncured bacon
- 1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into individual florets (halving large ones)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water, plus more if necessary
- 1/3 cup Fuji apple, peeled, cut into ¼ inch dice (can substitute another late season variety) drizzled with juice from 1 lemon wedge to prevent oxidation
- 1/3 cup finely grated Emmentaler (grate right before adding to quiche)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Buttermilk Blue Cheese (grate right before adding to quiche)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3 large eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place bacon slices in a cold pan that is large enough to fit all three slices in a single layer and turn heat to low. Slowly cook bacon, turning up heat if necessary. You want to cook the bacon to the point that the fat just begins to render, without burning. Remove bacon slices to a paper towel lined plate. Do not turn off burner.
- Pour off all but 1 T of drippings and briefly rest pan on a cool burner. Add cauliflower pieces and return pan to hot burner. Cook cauliflower, constantly turning to prevent burning, about a minute. Add apple cider vinegar and cook for a few seconds, add 1 T of water and continue cooking, stirring. Mix in garlic and cook until cauliflower is tender and golden, about 3 minutes more, adding another tablespoon of water if necessary to prevent burning. Remove pan from heat.
- Cut each bacon slice in half lengthwise and then chop crosswise.
- Assemble tart by sprinkling half of the Emmentaler onto the bottom of the crust. Layer in the bacon, then the cauliflower, and then the diced apple. In a large Pyrex measure, combine the half-and-half with the eggs and the blue cheese. Add fresh ground pepper. Pour egg-cheese mixture over cauliflower filling and top with remaining Emmentaler.
- Transfer to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and slightly puffed. Allow quiche to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Thanksgiving Pie
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Breakfast II
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Late Winter Tart (Sweet or Savory)
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