My mother has a lot of friends who are boat people. People who built their wooden boat by hand or restored an old fishing boat or catamaran before sailing it to New Zealand, or Fiji or Hawaii. She married one of them when I was nine (my dad John Berry). I wholeheartedly approved of the match, because John Berry spoke to me with directness and respect and partly because I thought that anyone who had sailed their boat to Hawaii was hopelessly cool. I decided definitively that boat people were cool about two years earlier, when we went to visit some of my mother’s friends on the boat that they had just sailed back from somewhere very exciting. Here are three things that I remember about that visit…
- There were thousands of incredibly beautiful jellyfish living around the dock where their boat was moored.
- There were lots of houseboats. I decided that I would live on one someday.
- My mom’s friends made us quiche. I had never had quiche before. It was delicious and fancy (two things I deeply appreciated).
So, when we moved to Hawaii to live with boat adventurer and nice guy, John Berry I was thrilled. More recently I learned to make Quiche. Next, I’m gonna live on a houseboat (or maybe just vacation) and my seven-year old dreams will be complete.
I think that my gluten-free quiche is better than the ones with gluten. This crust is delicious and it does not get soggy. If you want to make a conventional crust, look for a pate brisee recipe. I used to like the one from The Silver Palate Cookbook.
The filling for quiche is entirely adaptable. The classic filling is ham and guyrere cheese. Spinach and mushrooms are also popular. Really though, anything yummy that you have in your fridge can become quiche filling….artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, leftover cooked potatoes or grilled vegetables. Whatever you use there should be between 2 and 4 cups of it for one quiche. You should saute anything that needs to be cooked in advance and make sure that it is hot or at room temperature before putting it in the quiche. When I was able to eat wheat flour I liked the quiche from Sweet Melissa on 7th avenue in Brooklyn. They put a layer of caramelized onions (I suspect sweetened further with a bit of brown sugar) under their ham and cheese. I have not tried it yet….but I will….and so should you.
For the custard, I like to use 1 cup heavy cream and 4 eggs. You can use more cream and less eggs (1 and 1/2 cups cream to three eggs) for a really decadent quiche. I find that much cream makes it take forever to set up in the oven and I don’t have the patience. You can use more eggs and a smaller quantity of half and half or even whole milk. Again though, I find that using half and half or whole milk makes the custard very liquidy (that’s why you need the ratio of eggs to be higher). If you have a lot of filling you can cut the custard in half. You should combine your custard ingredients and leave them out before you start your crust. Custards behave better when they are not cold.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 eggs (whisked)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Whisk together all of the custard ingredients in a large bowl.
- Leave the custard out so that it can come to room temperature while you make the crust.
GLUTEN-FREE QUICHE CRUST (from Gluten Free Baking Classics)
Gluten-Free Rice Flour Mix
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 2/3 cups potato starch (NOT POTATO FLOUR)
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
This will make enough flour mix for two quiche crusts plus extra for flouring your rolling surface.
Gluten-free Quiche Crust
- 1 cups plus 2 Tablespoons gluten-free rice flour mix
- 2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour (also known as mochi or glutinous rice flour)
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 Tablespoons cold butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter a pie tin and dust it with rice flour.
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Cut the butter in to the dry ingredients and use your fingers to combine until it has the consistency of course cornmeal.
- Whisk the eggs and juice together.
- Add the liquid to the flour and butter and combine into a ball.
- Measure out four 12 inch sheets of wax paper. Roll the disk of dough out between two sheets of wax paper.
- Remove one of the sheets of wax paper and flip the dough into the pie tin.
- Remove the second sheet of wax paper and press the dough in to the pie tin using your fingers to repair any cracks.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
While the crust is pre-baking prepare you fillings. Make sure that the fillings are brought to room temperature or reheated so that they don’t cool your custard down. Also, squeeze any extra liquid out of your fillings so that they don’t make your custard liquidy.
FINISHING AND SERVING
When the crust is pre-baked, put your filling in it, pour the custard over top and bake the quiche until the custard is set. I like to make a salad to go with quiche out of baby spinach, grated carrot, cranberries and pecans with a dressing made from olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.