Leek, Lemon, and Feta Quiche

By • January 24, 2010 • 58 Comments


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Author Notes: While a leek quiche seems indisputably French, this recipe brings a Hellenic “Opa!” to your table with the addition of lemon, feta, and a hint of ouzo, the classic Greek aperitif. The ouzo is optional, but highly recommended. In a small dose, it brings a subtle sweet anise flavor that balances the sharp saltiness of the feta. With a fresh grating of lemon zest to brighten everything up, this quiche becomes light and cheerful, not at all heavy as some quiches can be. It’s perfect for a casual celebration meal, a Sunday brunch, or lunch to go. If you’re cooking just for one, make individual-size quiches and freeze some for later; you’ll be glad to have them on hand. Variation for Omnivores: You may want to dice 1 package of Canadian bacon (about 8 slices) and add it to the quiche at the same time as the sauteed leeks. I’ve tried it this way, too, and it’s just as nice.Allison Cay Parker

Food52 Review: Feeding the Saints aptly describes these individual little quiches as "light and cheerful." We love the delicate flavor of leeks, and crisp, airy puff pastry is a nice change from a more traditional short crust; lemon zest and ouzo lend just the right mix of lift and fragrance. We especially love the slabs of feta that, instead of being crumbled into the egg mixture, are laid gently across the top of each quiche before baking. Chilling the quiches for about twenty minutes before baking will help the pastry puff nicely and get nice and crisp. - A&MA&M

Serves 1 large quiche or 4 individual-size quiches

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 1 pound leeks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ouzo (optional)
  • 2-1/2 ounces feta cheese, cut into 4 (approx 1/2-inch) slices
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Thaw puff pastry according to package directions.
  2. Prepare the leeks. Rise off any visible dirt and slice the roots from the end. Remove the dark green tops, leaving a couple inches of light green with the white portion of the leeks. (The dark trimmings can be reserved for another use, adding them to a vegetable or chicken stock, for example.) Halve the leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise in 1/2-inch slices. Dump the slices in a colander or salad spinner and rinse thoroughly; if you don’t, you risk having a gritty, sandy quiche, as leeks often hide dirt deep in their layers. Let the leeks drain well, or spin dry.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the leeks and cook until they are wilted; don’t cook them so much that they give off liquid. Turn off the heat and let sit.
  4. In a mixing bowl or large measuring cup, using a whisk or fork, beat together the half-and-half, eggs, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add the ouzo, if using.
  5. Prepare the pastry crusts. On a lightly floured surface, or between two layers of plastic wrap or parchment paper, roll out the thawed puff pastry to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Line a shallow pie plate or cut the pastry into four circles to fill individual baking dishes. Press the pastry up the sides to make a nice edge.
  6. Fill the quiches. Distribute the leeks evenly across the bottom of the dish(es). Pour the milk mixture over the leeks. Top the quiche(s) with the slices of feta. (If you have feta that crumbles apart, don’t worry, just sprinkle it on top.)
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes, depending on size of the quiche(s). The center should be solid and the crust and top nicely browned. Let the quiche cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. The quiches taste great hot, room temperature, even cold.
  8. Enjoy with a simple green salad and a glass of chilled assyrtiko from award-winning Domaine Sigalas (Santorini).
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!

Tags: freezes well, french, greek, picnic, quiche, savory, travels well

Comments (58) Questions (2)

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about 1 month ago Ceege

Hi Allison, I plan on making two of these for our Easter brunch this year. They sound fantastic and I know all my guests will enjoy your recipe.

I do have a question for a future batch I want to make. When making them small (individual) are they to be baked first and then frozen OR do I freeze them and bake at the later date? I do the later when I make chicken pot pies - just pull them out of freezer and bake while still frozen? Thanks for your input on this.

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30 days ago Allison Cay Parker

Hi, Ceege. Thanks for giving my quiches a try; I'm honored that you'll serve them at Easter brunch (great occasion for these)! About your freezing question. I can only tell you what I've done in the past, which is to fully prepare, bake, and completely cool the quiches, then freeze them. That way, all that's needed is reheating the day you want to serve them. That works just fine for me. I have never tried to freeze them with unbaked filling, so I would not know how to advise you if you decide to go that route. Hope that helps, and more importantly, hope you enjoy making (and eating!) the recipe. Thanks again. ~ Allison

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6 months ago kayakgirl

I made without the puff pastry (gluten free guest)-thought quiche was quick and delicious- unusual but tasty combo of flavors. Only change I made was threw in 1 more egg and used sambuco instead. Only criticism was came out oddly salty. But will def make again, just halving the salt. Most of my quiches come out tasting all the same so this was a pleasant surprise.

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6 months ago Allison Cay Parker

The saltiness might be due to type of feta used. More likely: did you use kosher salt or regular table salt? 1 tsp of table salt is *much* more salt than 1 tsp of kosher salt. The tiny grains pack together much closer, giving you more salt for the same volume.

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6 months ago prb13

I made this for a family in my school community. Cautious children, parents & grandparents all loved it! It's now my go to, when bringing food to a family, in need. I've also made the filling as crust less mini-quiches, in a mini muffin pan.

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6 months ago Allison Cay Parker

I LOVE the knowledge that my recipe is a "go to" for families in need. Thank you so much for sharing that. Also, I would not have thought to try the filling in mini muffin pans w/o the crust. I'll have to try that myself sometime.

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11 months ago Eat Already!

Beautiful stuff. I love leeks, and I love Feta. Is there anything that can be used to substitute or emulate ouzo?

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11 months ago dymnyno

You can use another liquorice tasting licquor like raki or use anise seed.

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11 months ago Allison Cay Parker

Eat Already!, thanks for the comment. As dymnyno says (thanks for chiming in so quickly, since I couldn't get online)... other anise-flavored liquor would work. Raki maybe not as easy to find as the French Ricard or Pastis or the Italian Sambuca, any of which would work. If you're worried about the booze: the alcohol is baked off, leaving just the flavor so I don't think that's a problem. If expense is the issue (you don't want to buy a bottle for a small recipe quantity), you could use a smaller amount of anise extract (I'd start with just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon). If for religious reasons or you simply do not like the idea of alcohol, you can use aniseed (anis seed or, probably better, ground anis)... try 1 teaspoon ground. Let us know what you decide to do, I'd love to hear.

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12 months ago Dagir

Can this be baked the night before and reheated the next morning? Thanks.

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12 months ago Allison Cay Parker

I have refrigerated leftovers and reheated, so I'm sure that's fine. It still tasted great the next day. Or, if you have the time for morning baking (just not the prep work), you can follow the pre-baking steps for the quiche, refrigerate overnight, and bake off in the morning.

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about 1 year ago Alex Gabriel

This is an excellent recipe. Except for using 1 tbsp of crushed anise seed instead of ouzo and incorporating a bit of homemade kefir cheese, I pretty much followed the recipe. I used muffin tins but had extras so shaped them into triangular turnovers which were also delicious!

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over 1 year ago Kookla

This sounds wonderful! I don't have any ouzo or other anise liquor at the moment, so I think I'll add some crushed anise seeds for that extra flavor. I'll let you know how that works!

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over 1 year ago Allison Cay Parker

Yes, please. I'd love to know how that works out. Thanks for trying the recipe and taking the time to leave your comment.

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over 1 year ago yentl1

Not only is this a suburb dish, it's fun to make. The puff pastry dramatically rises and made me look like a gourmet chef. Oh, my, was it tasty! Worth the calories.

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over 1 year ago Allison Cay Parker

I'm so glad you had a good experience with the quiche. I'm all for dishes that are easy to make and make you look good at the same time. Thanks for taking the time to make my recipe and to leave a comment.

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almost 2 years ago ColoradoCook

These were lovely! Since I didn't have individually sized quiche dishes, I actually just threw them into a muffin tin. The puff pastry crisped up beautifully, and they popped right out - perfect for an evening picnic. I didn't have ouzo on hand (beyond expensive here in Singapore), so added a little dry white wine to the leeks as they were softening. Superb, and thanks for adding new inspiration to a familiar dish!

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almost 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Thanks for trying the recipe and for leaving a comment. Muffin-tin versions of the quiche sound like a great idea... especially for an evening picnic as you say. The substitution of a splash of dry white wine is a good idea. I'm thrilled that the recipe is making its way around the world. (If I have no hope of visiting Singapore soon, at least my recipe is traveling!) Thanks again to you. ~ Allison

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about 2 years ago lyonesset

I really enjoyed this dish - and I feel the Ouzo is essential! Luckily it is my partner's favourite spirit so it's always in the house. I didn't have enough leeks so I used some brown onion and some capsicum, sliced finely. Added to the colour of the dish and didn't really push the flavour away from what I think was intended. I also made up the various bits of the mixture in advance so I could assemble and put in the oven when I came home late from work. Thanks for the recipe!

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about 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Hey, Lyonesset. Thanks for trying the recipe and taking the time to comment. I'm with you: wouldn't dream of avoiding the shot of ouzo, but I understand people who wouldn't want to do it--especially if you have to buy a whole bottle just for this. One of the things you point out is key, though: the fact that this is a pretty friendly recipe for busy people, since you can do a lot in advance.

I'm curious about the capsicum. I assume you mean "bell" pepper... did you use red or green? I'm a huge fan of roasted red peppers, and I frequently slap some pepper slices in aluminum foil, sprinkle feta on top and broil. So, I could imagine red pepper being a nice variation. Thanks for the idea to use it in the quiche.

So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

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about 2 years ago aligthang

Made this last night (from the cookbook) and it was great. Ate a leftover slice for lunch today with a bit of roasted-red-pepper sriracha sauce which played nicely off the bright and fresh flavors of the quiche: http://epifurious.tumblr...

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about 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Hmm, Sriracha... never would have thought of that; sounds like a good thing to do on Day 2. Thanks for taking the time to comment and write up a post. (You can thank your boyfriend for the the thumbs up, too)!

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about 2 years ago susan_johnson

This was really excellent. I used the recipe almost exactly as written (which never happens!), except that I used 6 eggs instead of 3, because I know that a 6-egg quiche fills my standard pyrex 9" pie dish perfectly. I did use ouzo, which i happened to have in the house, and I feel like it really added a fantastic flavor. Could be because the ouzo is over 20 years old. Ew. Anyway, thank you for the recipe! It was delicious!

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about 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Thanks, Susan! Glad you liked the recipe--and almost exactly as written, that's high praise indeed. :) Does ouzo get better with age? Hmm. As is said in Greece "Stin yia sas!" (To your health, or "Cheers!")

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over 2 years ago Kathy Cooks



This was delicious! Couldn't find leeks in our mountain town in January so substituted sweet green onions big ones... and added some fennel about 1 teaspoon...this wasn't quite enough. I would use 1 Tablespoon next time but such a lovely recipe. Thanks so much...next time I will add Ouzo too!

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over 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Thanks so much. I really appreciate your commenting. I think the sweet green onion substitution is a great idea. As is the fennel--since I realize that a lot of people probably don't keep ouzo (or pastis) on hand. So glad that you enjoyed it. Happy new year to you.

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over 2 years ago Umami

This was delicious! I made it for a Boxing Day brunch and everyone loved it. I didn't have ouzo so added a bit of roasted fennel for the aniseed flavour. I think the lemon zest and using half & half instead of whole milk really makes the difference.

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over 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

So glad you enjoyed this. Boxing Day is a great tradition, by the way. Roasted fennel sounds lovely, too. Thanks for trying the recipe and taking time to write back about it. Cheers, and hope you have a happy and delicious new year.

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over 2 years ago Jain Silver

Loved the tart - I made it in a single french tart pan and let the top of the feta brown ever so slightly. Delicious! Love the custard base - the texture really is quite special. Am going to have fun coming up with variations on the theme :)

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over 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

So glad you tried and loved the quiche! Thanks for taking the time to make the recipe and to leave a comment. I'd love to hear about any new variations you come up with, too. Cheers! ~ Allison

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over 2 years ago tail.feathers

Excellent recipe. I had four 4" tart pans (w/ removable bottoms) and had filling left over that could have filled a fifth. Even had left over puff pastry that I could have pressed into the fifth one had I had one. I added some thyme to the custard too.

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over 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Thank you! So glad you like the recipe and felt inspired to give it your own twist with the thyme. I guess my individual ceramic baking dishes are deeper than yours. Did you need to adjust the baking time at all? Thanks again for taking the time to make the recipe and comment here.

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over 2 years ago tail.feathers

Excellent recipe. I had four 4" tart pans (w/ removable bottoms) and had filling left over that could have filled a fifth. Even had left over puff pastry that I could have pressed into the fifth one had I had one. I added some thyme to the custard too.

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over 2 years ago J-Dizzle

Yummmm, this sounds delicious....going to make it on the weekend; and may even attempt to make the crust myself! Thanks for sharing!! :o)

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over 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Thanks for investing in the time to comment and--more importantly--try the recipe! Hope you enjoy it.

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over 2 years ago phyllisc

Sounds wonderful! Would you freeze the tart before or after baking?

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over 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

Thanks, phyllisc. Good question. You know, I think you could do it either way, but I have always had good luck baking and then freezing. It's lovely to know that later, when you're in a pinch for lunch or dinner, all you need to do is re-heat. If you try it the other way, let me know how it turns out.

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over 2 years ago PlainCheesecake

I have made this dish twice now and love, love, love the freshness of it. It bakes up nicely in my large tart pan (removable bottom) and the puff pastry is flaky and matches the quiche in its lightness.

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over 2 years ago Allison Cay Parker

So glad you've had repeated success. Thanks for taking the time to let me (and others) know. I really appreciate it.