THE WASHINGTON POST – I can’t tell you the last time I made quiche. It’s not that I don’t like it – a good one, eggy and creamy and light, with a flaky crust – is a thing of beauty. But when I’m in the mood for savoury baked egg dishes, I’m more of a frittata cook, loving how adaptable and no-fuss that dish can be.
But my pie-baking itch flares up every holiday season, and a quiche is really nothing more than a savoury pie (or tart), so when I saw Jamie Oliver’s recipe for what he simply called vegetable quiche in his new book Together, I took a closer look. Oliver offers two options in this recipe – one for butternut squash and one for mushrooms – and rather than incorporating either in chunks in the filling, he has you puree the cooked veg with the requisite eggs, cream and cheese before baking.
CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH OR MUSHROOM QUICHE
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Nine tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Half teaspoon fine salt, divided, plus more to taste
Half cup cold water, divided, plus more as needed
1 3/4 pounds butternut squash or mixed mushrooms
One tablespoon plus one teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing
One small yellow onion, thinly sliced
Four garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Six large eggs
Seven tablespoons heavy cream
Four ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
Two ounces crumbly goat cheese
Two fresh thyme sprigs
Lightly flour your work surface.
In a food processor, combine the flour, butter and quarter teaspoon of salt, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add quarter cup of the cold water and pulse for a few more seconds until the dough just starts to come together, adding more water, one tablespoon at a time, if needed. Transfer the dough to the work surface and push and pat (without kneading) into a round.
Wrap it in plastic or beeswax wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Prep your chosen vegetable: Peel, carefully halve and seed the squash, then cut into three qarter-inch chunks. Or clean, trim and slice the mushrooms (removing and composting the stems if you use shiitakes).
In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic and remaining quarter teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about three minutes. If using squash, add it along with the remaining quarter cup of water, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is very soft, 20 minutes.
Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, until the extra water has evaporated, two to three minutes.
If using mushrooms, cook uncovered over medium-high heat, using tongs to toss frequently, until they wilt, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet occasionally, until they are soft and starting to brown, 20 minutes. Taste, and season with more salt as needed. Turn off the heat and let cool.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a 10-inch quiche pan with a removable bottom.
Roll out the pastry on the flour-dusted surface until it’s about 14 inches in diameter and just under quarter-inch thick. Gently roll it up around the rolling pin, then unroll it over the oiled pan and ease it into the sides, curling the excess pastry tightly over the edges. Prick the base all over with a fork, top with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with coins, beans or other pie weights.
Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is set, then remove the paper and weights and continue baking for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm. Cool, then use a sharp paring knife to trim off the excess pastry.
Transfer the squash or mushroom mixture to a blender. Add the eggs, cream and cheddar and puree until smooth.
Pour or scrape the filling into the baked and cooled pastry shell, being careful not to overfill.
Crumble over the goat cheese. Rub the thyme sprigs with the remaining one teaspoon oil, then pick the tips and leaves over the quiche.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the quiche is set in the centre (it should feel firm to the touch, with little to no wobbling). Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool in the tart pan for at least 30 minutes, then unmold and serve warm, or let cool completely, refrigerate, and