pie crust

Quiche Monsieur

I was a freshman in my high school French class the first time I tasted a Croque Monsieur. It’s basically a fried ham & cheese sandwich, right? Except it was special because it was French. Then there is quiche. What’s not to love about a baked cheesy egg dish with a buttery flaky crust? From Lorraine to bacon and onion, I am all about quiche. This is a fun play on two French classics, bon appetit!

1 Pie Crust (I like Martha Stewart’s Paté Brisée, recipe follows)

4 beaten Eggs

1 1/2 cups half and half or whole milk

1/4 tsp Salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground Black pepper

A pinch of freshly ground Nutmeg

1 cup Black Forest ham, thinly sliced and cut into 1″ x 1/2″ or so strips

2 cups shredded Gruyère or Emmental cheese

1 Tbsp flour, divided

Paté Brisée Recipe: (Martha Stewart)

2 1/2 cups All purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 sticks butter (unsalted, chilled and cubed)

1/4 – 1/2 cup ice cold water

Put flour, salt and sugar in food processor. Add butter, process until resembles course crumbs. (8-10 seconds) While machine is running add water. Pulse until mixture comes together without being wet and sticky. if crumbly add 1 Tbsp of water at a time. Form dough into 2 discs. Chill at least 1 hour.

Now for the quiche! Preheat oven to 450º. Roll out pie crust and place evenly over a 9″ pie plate. (Many people will tell you to trim it to make it even, but I like to fold extra crust into the crimp, because I like crust and this is for my family -not retail.) Crimp edges. I like to cover my crust with wax paper and fill with dry beans or baking beads before I bake my crust. Bake for about 7-8 minutes. Turn oven down to 325°.

In the meantime whisk eggs, half and half, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl. Toss the ham in 1/2 Tbsp of flour and add to egg mixture, stir. Toss the shredded cheese in the remaining 1/2 Tbsp flour and mix into egg and ham mixture. Pour egg mixture into preheated pie crust (baking beads removed) and bake for 50-55 minutes, until quiche is lightly browned on the top and center is set.

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Serve warm or room temperature, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Caramelized Onion & Cheese Tart

Don’t you just love rustic looking tarts? They are like the most understated cool. Like, I’m all that and I’m not even trying. I’m totally flavorful and unpretentious. I could go on…  Just make the tart, it’s yummy and you’re going to like the way it looks on your table.

Tart serves 6

Crust:

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

5 oz (10 Tbsp) cold and cubed unsalted butter

2 Tbsp ice cold water

1 large egg

Caramelized Onions:

3-4 medium onions (about 2 ½ cups), thinly sliced (and left in rings if possible)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp butter

1 tsp granulated garlic

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

½ tsp dried thyme

Filling:

8 oz ricotta cheese

½ grated Parmesan

1 egg, beaten

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Caramelized onions

Egg wash:

1 egg

2 Tbsp water

Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor. Turn it on and let it process until it resembles course bread crumbs. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time and pulse. Add the egg and pulse again until it forms a doughish mass. (Add 1 more tablespoon of water if- and only if- need be.) Gently knead the dough and form into a ball, place in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag. Flatten slightly, so it resembles a disc (easier to roll out) and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To caramelize the onions, heat oil and butter in a saute pan on a medium heat. When butter starts to foam, add onions. Let them go a few minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning and promote even browning. After about 5 minutes, add the granulated garlic, salt, pepper (a sprinkling) and thyme. Stir to incorporate the seasoning and allow the onions to continue to cook, for about 25 more minutes, stirring occasionally but letting them do their thing, until all rich and golden and caramelized.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from fridge and set aside. In a bowl mix mix ricotta, Parmesan, egg and pepper. When all combined, fold in onions and set aside. Mixture should be thick, not runny.

On a floured surface, roll out dough. The best part about the “rustic” tart is that it doesn’t have to be perfect in shape, so circle-ish is fine. Just try to keep it even in thickness. When rolled out about 10-11 inches, transfer and center dough on a baking sheet. Place the cheese and onion mixture in the center of the crust and fold up the edges all the way around. Brush the dough with the egg wash and place in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, until crust is golden. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving. Tart is rich and cheesy (and awesome) so I recommend serving it with something lighter, like a Mesclun salad with a vinaigrette dressing or apple slices.