Bake

Spinach Quiche

December 17, 2021
4.7 Stars
Photo by TY MECHAM. PROP STYLIST: SOPHIE STRANGIO. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG.
Author Notes

Last year, the Test Kitchen developed a recipe for Our Best Quiche. We obsessed over many details—like keeping the fat cold for a flaky crust, pinpointing the number of eggs for a silky custard, and leaving it open-ended to whatever mix-ins you want. If I do say so myself, we nailed it, and so I’m using that best template as a starting point for one of my favorite quiches in all the land: spinach and cheese.

But first, let’s talk about that crust. Half of the flour is white whole-wheat, which has a nutty-grainy flavor that gets along great with mineraly greens. (If you don’t have white whole-wheat, feel free to swap in standard whole-wheat or stick to the all-purpose.) Just don’t skip the seasoning, namely the black pepper—it underlines that this is a savory, not sweet, pie and balances out the richness. In addition to the usual butter, the crust includes cream cheese, too (a rugelach-like trick I learned from Rose Levy Beranbaum). Sealing the crust with an egg white gets ahead of a soggy bottom (not to mention, we have an extra egg white anyway since the custard calls for an egg yolk).

Speaking of richness: We have four (yep, four) kinds of dairy here—tenderness-ensuring cream cheese and flakiness-inspiring butter in the crust, and rich half-and-half and tangy-melty Gruyère in the filling. If you’re more likely to have cream and milk around, just replace the quantity of half-and-half with ½ cup plus ⅓ cup heavy cream and ½ cup plus ⅓ cup whole milk. The Gruyère is also flexible. While I love its earthy, tangy flavor, sharp cheddar and Comté are up for the job, too. Incorporating a smidgen of flour into the custard lowers your odds of it curdling, even if you leave it in the oven a few minutes too long.

It’s worth noting that this recipe is a project, but one that you can break up in many ways: You can refrigerate the disc of dough for up to a couple days or freeze for up to a month; or line and can crimp the dough into the pie pan and freeze that for up to a couple days (or up to a month if well wrapped). You can also prepare and refrigerate the custard for up to a couple days.

Like any quiche, this shouldn’t be served hot, right out of the oven (the custard needs a chance to set and gather itself). This is at its best warm, room-temperature, or cold. Add in a dressed salad, and you’ve got dinner. Or breakfast or lunch or brunch. —Emma Laperruque

  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 2/3 cup (84 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
  • 2/3 cup (79 grams) white whole-wheat flour (see Author Notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, very cold, cubed
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water, very cold
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg white
  • Filling & Assembly
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (6-ounce) yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 2/3 cups half-and-half (see Author Notes)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère, divided
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make the crust: In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the all-purpose flour, white whole-wheat flour, salt, black pepper, and baking powder. Mix on low speed just to combine. Add the cream cheese and mix on low speed until the cream cheese is mostly broken down. Add the butter and mix on low speed until mostly incorporated and none of the pieces are bigger than a chickpea; this should take 30 seconds to 1 minute (if there are any stragglers, just stop the machine and smush the piece with your fingertips—don’t overmix). In a small glass, combine the water and vinegar. With the motor running on low speed, drizzle in the vinegar mixture. As soon as the sides of the bowl are no longer dusty and clumps and curds begin to form (it should not form a cohesive ball—that’s too far), turn the mixer off; better to undermix versus overmix at this point.
  2. Remove the bowl and bring the dough into a ball with your hands. Wrap well with plastic or a reusable wrap and form into a flat disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to a couple days. (You can also freeze the dough for future quiches; just thaw in the fridge overnight.)
  3. Roll out and crimp the crust: On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch or so circle, then transfer to a 9-inch pie pan (not deep-dish), making sure the bottom corners are tightly pressed against the pan. If needed, use scissors to trim the dough to an even 1-inch overhang. Fold the edge under itself. Using your fingers, press and even out the sides, making sure the bottom corners are tightly pressed against the pan. Crimp the edges however you’d like (I like using my left hand’s thumb and pointer finger as a guide, then poking in with my right hand’s pointer finger, to form ruffles). Freeze for at least 15 minutes, until firm, or up to 2 days.
  4. Parbake the crust: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven; heat to 400°F. Line the frozen crust with a square of parchment, fill with dried beans (or another pie weight), then set on a sheet pan. Bake, rotating halfway through, for about 40 minutes, until the crust is starting to brown along the edges and the bottom no longer looks raw and doughy.
  5. Cook the spinach filling: Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat, then pour in the oil. When hot, add the onion and a small pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and mostly transparent. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add as much spinach as will fit and stir, adding more spinach as soon as there’s space. Cook the spinach, stirring, until it’s just wilted, then season with another small pinch of salt. Transfer the spinach mixture to a plate to cool.
  6. When the crust comes out of the oven, use a fork to whisk the egg white with a tiny pinch of salt until loose. Remove the parchment and pie weights, brush the inside of the crust with the salted egg white, then return to the oven to bake for another minute to set.
  7. Remove the parbaked crust from the oven to cool and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  8. Make the custard: Pour the half-and-half into a large bowl. Place the flour in a medium bowl and add a splash (figure, 1 tablespoon or so) of the half-and-half. Stir with a fork or whisk until smooth. Repeat (splash, stir, splash, stir) until the flour mixture is smooth and pourable. Pour into the large bowl with the remaining half-and-half and stir to combine. Add the eggs, egg yolk, 1¼ teaspoons of the salt, and the pepper and whisk until smooth.
  9. Fill the quiche: With the pie pan still on the sheet pan, sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle the spinach mixture on top, spreading as much as possible (even scooching up the sides is fine), so that you can see the cheese and crust below. There should not be a packed-solid layer of mix-ins; the custard filling needs to be able to get through. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Slowly and evenly pour in the custard—you should use all of it and the pan will be very full.
  10. Bake the quiche for 55 to 65 minutes, until it no longer shimmies when shaken. (If the crust starts to brown too much mid-bake, you can carefully tent with foil.) Let cool until warm before serving. It’s also great at room temperature and cold.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Duane
    Duane
  • leah_shelton_pucciarelli
    leah_shelton_pucciarelli
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Lizlizliz
    Lizlizliz
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

7 Reviews

Duane February 20, 2022
That's the best quiche I have ever made.
 
Lizlizliz September 12, 2021
I’d love an option for making this crust without a mixer. I’m used to making pastry by hand and feel a little out of control using a mixer.
 
Outstanding! Read ahead tho - I wasn’t prepared for the chilling - so I skimped but it was still delicious. I followed recipe exactly ingredients-wise. Will make again!
 
kkoop June 30, 2020
This is THE quiche recipe! The crust is a delightfully savory compliment to the luxurious custard filling. And, despite what you may think, the crust was the perfect texture even after a total of 90 minutes of baking. Not to be overshadowed, the egg custard filling was aptly named, rich and yet light and airy. Can't wait to make this again!
 
Meg June 10, 2020
I think there is a problem with the recipe. In all the piecrust is in the oven for 90 minutes - 40 mins @400 and 50 minutes at 325. The end result is not good. the filling is ok, but ignore the crust instructions
 
Nancy April 7, 2020
Emma - This looks delicious and has gone immediately on to my "to make" list!
The crust looks rich and delicious.
Meanwhile, your timing a week before Easter (accidental or on purpose) is great!
Spinach pie is often made in Italy for that holiday.
Here's my favorite, Anita Sheldon's 2-crust version, originally in NY Times and later in Hesser recap book, Essential NYT Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century.
Her recipe and a few Italian ones, in case you are interested:
http://penandfork.com/cookbook-reviews/reviewed-cookbook-recipes/two-fantastic-gift-suggestions/
https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=torta+di+spinaci+e+ricotta
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 7, 2020
Thanks so much, Nancy!