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Quiche was a big dinner staple in our kitchen growing up. It was always on heavy rotation, especially in the colder months, and my mother had two specialties: broccoli-cheddar and Swiss chard. My sisters and I each had our favorite; they all loved the chard and I loved the broccoli. Regardless of filling, the real key to an excellent quiche is a flaky, crisp, buttery crust that isn't soggy on the base.
The filling does matter, too: You want the proper balance of eggs and milk so the custard is firm and smooth but not too eggy. The ratio of add-ins to custard needs to be just right, and the ingredients need to be calibrated for a good balance of cheesy and salty—with plenty of greens, since this is dinner, after all! (But who's stopping it from being breakfast or lunch, too?)
Ask a baker, and they'll likely have words of advice for how to prevent soggy bottoms to your crust. As with a custard pie, many people choose to blind bake the crust first. I've tried every trick in the book, and many do work. I often blind bake my crust and then brush the inside with a thin layer of egg wash, which helps seal the crust. But recently I discovered an entirely different crust technique: a press-in crust.
Happily, this crust tastes just as crisp and flaky as a classic quiche crust, but it requires so much less work. Not only does it save time, but it's more foolproof for bakers of all skill levels. Using oats in the crust dough gives it a nutty flavor, more nutrition, and makes the crust a little sturdier, which seems to help avoid the soggy bottom problem. With no butter to deal with, you just mix all the dough ingredients together and press it evenly into your pan with your fingers. The combination of oil (instead of butter) and oats (in addition to flour) is less delicate than a standard crust, so you can skip the blind baking and it'll still turn out well-baked on the base. Trust me!
That's not the only neat trick that this quiche is hiding. I've added a large dollop of both whole-grain mustard and sour cream to the filling. It's a small enough amount of each that you don't actually taste either, but they both serve a purpose. The mustard gives a little acidic punch, rounding out the flavor and giving the filling a wonderfully savory complexity.
The sour cream idea is brilliant, I must say. Most quiche fillings use cream to create a rich flavor. I love the richness, but I find that cream makes the custard a little too "wobbly" for my liking, and a little too decadent. I much prefer the texture of the filling when I use 2% milk, but then you lose that richness. That's where sour cream comes in: It adds the richness but keeps the texture firm and allows you to have a lighter filling.
I've used bacon, leeks, and cheese in my quiche, but the recipe is incredibly versatile. I always add a bit of chopped kale, and you could do that or use other sturdy greens. Diced pancetta or ham is delicious, as are most types of cheese. Try caramelized onions or roasted garlic or even sautéed mushrooms. When it comes to quiche, there's no end of seriously delicious options.
For the crust
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons oil (olive oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil all work)
- 5-6 tablespoons cold water, plus more as needed
For the filling
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3-4 medium leeks, washed and sliced into thin half moons
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped kale
- 2-3 strips bacon
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (or sub another cheese like Cheddar)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste