Jacquy Pfeiffer and I had a great time at Surfas on Saturday April 26. It was standing room only and everybody got dessert first -- apple tart and lemon cream tart with meringue topping -- followed by asparagus quiche and spinach quiche. Here we are, with our assistant Leah Choi, prepping for the event.
And here we are just before the event.
These are the quiches that I made:
Whole Wheat Pâte Brisée
For 2 9-inch shells:
222 grams French style butter such as Plugrà (8 ounces, 1 cup), at room temperature
175 grams whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (approximately 1 1/2 cups less 1 tablespoon)
175 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (approximately 1 1/2 cups less 1 tablespoon)
7 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
92 grams water (6 tablespoons)
1. Make sure that your butter is at room temperature. Place it in the bowl of a standing mixer. Sift together the flours and salt and add to the mixer. Mix at low speed just until the mixture is well combined. Do not over beat. Add the water and beat at low speed just until the mixture comes together. Do not over mix or you will activate the gluten in the flour too much and you pastry will be tough.
2. Using a pastry scraper or a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and flatten it into a square, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
3. Weigh the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Lightly butter 2 9-inch tart pans with a very small amount of soft butter. If you can see the butter you’ve used too much. Roll out the dough and line the tart pans. Using a fork, pierce rows of holes in the bottom, about an inch apart. This will allow steam to escape and aid in even baking. Refrigerate uncovered for several hours or preferably overnight.
3. To pre-bake, heat the oven to 325ºF. Remove a tart shell from the refrigerator and line it with a sheet of parchment. Fill all the way with pie weights, which can be beans or rice used exclusively for pre-baking pastry, or special pie weights. Place in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and “faux filling” and return to the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until light golden brown and evenly colored. There should be no evidence of moisture in the dough. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Asparagus, Scallion and Herb Quiche
1 9-inch tart
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
½ cup chopped scallions or spring onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives or a mix of chives and fresh tarragon
3/4 pound asparagus
1 9-inch whole wheat pâte brisée, fully baked (see recipe) and cooled
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2/3 cup milk
3 ounces Gruyère, grated, or 1 ounce Parmesan and 2 ounces Gruyère, grated (3/4 cup tightly packed)
1. Heat the oil or butter over medium heat in a medium skillet and add the scallions or spring onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chives and tarragon. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. If you have the time, refrigerate uncovered for an hour or even overnight.
2. Break off the tough bottoms of the asparagus and cut into ½ to 1-inch lengths. Steam over an inch of boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes (5 for thicker asparagus). Remove from the heat, rinse with cold water and drain on paper towels or kitchen towels. The asparagus should be dry.
3. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Beat together the egg yolks and eggs in a medium bowl. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet to allow for easy handling. Using a pastry brush lightly brush the bottom of the crust with the beaten egg and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
4. Add the salt, pepper and milk to the eggs and whisk together.
5. Toss the asparagus with the scallions or spring onions and herbs and spread in an even layer in the crust. Sprinkle the cheese in an even layer on top. Very slowly pour in the egg custard. If your tart pan has low edges, you may not need all of it to fill the quiche, and you want to avoid overflowing the edges. By pouring it in slowly it will have time to spread through the filling. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until set and just beginning to color on the top. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Advance preparation: The crust will keep for a few days in the refrigerator and freezes well. The finished quiche will keep for 2 or 3 days. Warm in a low oven or serve at room temperature.
Spinach and Onion Quiche
1 9-inch tart
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-size onion (yellow or spring onion), chopped
2 large garlic cloves, or 1 small bulb green garlic, papery shells removed, minced
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 generous bunches spinach, stemmed (12 oz stemmed), washed in 2 changes of water, blanched for 20 seconds in salted boiling water, shocked, drained, squeezed dry and chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 (9-inch) whole wheat pâte brisée pie crust, fully baked and cooled
Freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup milk
2 ounces Gruyère, grated (1/2 cup)
1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add a generous pinch of salt, the garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. Stir in blanched spinach, salt and pepper and stir to coat with oil and seasonings. Remove from heat.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together egg yolks and eggs in a medium bowl. Set tart pan on a baking sheet to allow for easy handling. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush bottom of the crust with some of the beaten egg and place in oven for 5 minutes.
3. Add salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon), pepper, and milk to the remaining eggs and whisk together.
4. Spread spinach mixture in an even layer in the crust. Stir together cheeses and sprinkle in an even layer on top. Very slowly pour in the egg custard. If your tart pan has low edges, you may not need all of it to fill the quiche, and you want to avoid overflowing the edges. By pouring it in slowly it will have time to spread through the filling. Place quiche, on baking sheet, in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until set and just beginning to color on the top. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.
Note: Other greens such as Swiss chard can be used in place of spinach. Use 12 ounces leaves, from a generous bunch. Blanch for about 1 minute.
I’ll be on the road with The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking in the coming months.
Here are some Upcoming Events:
Culver City (Los Angeles), CA
April 26, 11-1: Book Signing and Cooking Demo at Surfas Culver City
New York City, May 1-4
May 2, 12-1:30: Book signing at Union Square Greenmarket
Austin, TX May 5
This isn’t a formal book signing event, but I’ll be stopping in at BookPeople between 12 and 1 pm
Venice (Los Angeles), CA
May 14, 11-12: Talk and cooking demonstration at Google’s Venice office as part of Food Revolution Week
Minneapolis, MN May 23-27
May 24, 11-1: Book Signing and Cooking Class at Cooks of Crocus Hill in Edina
San Francisco / Bay Area July 23-26
July 24, 6:30-9:30: Book Signing and Cooking Class at Cavallo Point Cooking School, Sausalito
I'm very excited to share my latest venture with you - a series of 7 cooking lessons you can access on Craftsy.com. My focus is Big Bowls: Hearty Vegetarian Meals.
THE SIMPLE ART OF VEGETARIAN COOKING: Templates and Lessons for Making Delicious Meatless Meals Every Day
A gem of new cookbook presenting a language for the vegetarian main dish.
Martha Rose Shulman
Welcome to my blog, where I’ll keep you up to date on what I’ve been up to in my kitchen as I test recipes for my Recipes for Health feature on the New York Times; what I’ll be up to with my online classes at Craftsy and my actual classes at other cooking schools; my new books and latest publications; and any other upcoming appearances and events.
Big Bowls: Hearty Vegetarian Meals
A healthy, flavorful how-to!