Monday, November 19, 2012

Quite the Quiche: Quiche Recipe + a Perfect Pastry and Pie Tutorial

The HOLIDAY SEASON is starting up and for some reason I feel like it's never officially the holiday season without a hearty quiche to kick it all off. Hearty pies are totally a holiday thing, and a quiche is like a savory hearty pie.....so I had to make one.  I have done a lot of quiche eating in my life, so I know what I like in quiche and I know what I don't!

Inspiration: Part of my inspiration was to create a quiche simply for the sake of creating a quiche, part of it was to make a satisfying and comforting dinner in just one simple dish, and the last part was to use up my baby spinach and vegan sausage that I had left over in the fridge.

Nutrition Note: I had to use Earth Balance Vegan Shortening to make the crust; there was just no way around it. I learned in food science that the only way to create an acceptable pastry crust is through the use of a fat with a low water content such as shortening in a 3:1 (flour:shortening) ratio. HOWEVER I did make a mini, crust-less quiche casserole for myself (the bigger one was for my dad and brother) using just the filling over steamed quinoa and it came out delicous as well. So if you absolutely don't want to use shortening then make it a casserole! Any grain/carb should work as the base for the casserole, polenta or brown rice would probably taste even better than quinoa.

Recipe Note: There will be two recipes in this post, one will be for the perfect pastry dough/pie crust, and the other will be for the quiche filling. The pie crust recipe can be used any time, for any pie/quiche.

Perfect Pastry Crust: 
This formula for pastry/pie crust is agreed upon by food scientists and chefs alike to 
produce the perfect pastry dough......and it's due to the ratio of shortening to flour as well as the minimal cutting in of the shortening. It calls for a 3:1 ratio of flour:shortening and requires that the shortening be cut in, so that the mixture stays slightly uneven/clumpy. This allows for the small pockets of shortening to puff up when they are hit by the high heat of the oven, and this my friends, results in the perfect, flaky pastry crust.

The flour/shortening mixture has small, pea-sized clumps
in it, which is just right.
Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) earth balance shortening (do not use vegan margarine, because this has a higher water content and will not produce the ideal crust)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1/4 cup ice water
Directions:
1) In a medium bowl mix together the flour, salt, and sugar if you choose to use it.
2) Cut the into the flour mixture either using a pastry cutter, a fork, or a quick pulse in the food processor. You want t be very careful not to over mix the shortening, the mixture should have small pea-sized lumps/crumbles and should NOT look perfectly even.
3) Add one tablespoon of the water at a time to the mixture, always mixing it in by hand with a large spoon after EACH addition. Only use enough water so that the dough comes together, you do NOT need to use the entire 1/4 of a cup if the dough has already come together.
This is the dough after the right amount of ice water
has been added.
4) Roll the dough into a sphere, wrap it in plastic, and stick it in the refrigerator for AT LEAST 30 minutes but preferably an hour before using it.
5) Once the dough is chilled, flour your work surface and roll it out until it is about 1/8-1/16 of an inch thick (should form an 11-12 inch circle).
6) Lay the dough in the pie pan and crimp/trim the edges so that they fit the pan.
7) Place the crust in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before baking.
8) If you are using this recipe for a pie, this is the point at which you would put in the pie filling and bake it. HOWEVER many recipes, including the quice recipe require a pre-baked crust.
Pre-baked crust directions:
9) Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
10) Line the inside of the crust with foil and then fill the foil with dried beans. Continue to chill the crust until the oven is ready.
11) Place the crust in the oven for 20 minutes.
12) Remove the crust from the oven, and reduce the temperature to 375.
13) Remove the beans and foil from the crust and place the pie back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. You want to just start to get a little golden in some spots when you remove it.


Sausage & Spinach Quiche Recipe:
Ingredients: 
- 1 lb firm silken tofu
This is what the sausage and spinach mixture should
look like when it's done on the stovetop.
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce (do this to taste, because this is the only source of salt in the recipe)
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 finely chopped white onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 lb spinach
- 2 vegan sausages, chopped finely/crumbled (I used Field Roast's Apple Sausage and I highly recommend it)
Directions:
1) Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2) In a food processor blend together the tofu, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and all the spices until smooth.
All done and ready to go!
3) In a large, shallow, non-stick pan saute the onions until clear on medium-low heat (about 5 minutes). If they stick add a little water.
4) Add in the garlic and saute for another minute.
5) Add in the sausage and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat(until the sausage is lightly browned).
6) Add in the spinach to the pan. Continue to mix and heat until the spinach is thoroughly wilted, darker green, and has drastically reduced in volume.
7) Mix the sausage/spinach mixture into the blended silken tofu mixture until everything is about evenly dispersed.
8) Pour this into the pre-baked pie crust but make sure you do not overflow the crust.
9) Bake in the oven at 375 for 40-45 minutes, or until the middle of the quiche is golden and slightly bubbling.
10) Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.


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