It’s 11 pm and I’m hungry. It’s a Saturday night, so I’m restless. After mowing down some delicious Brie en Croute for Valentine’s Day last week, I was left with 4 unused puff pastry circles wasting away in my freezer. I wanted them but, how? I hate to throw pre-made items into food simply because it’s there; I wanted to use them for something fruitful, something I’d never made or hate to make from scratch. I racked my brains for something puff pastry could substitute. Certainly not biscuits for strawberry shortcake, which I already have a delicious recipe for. Certainly not countless other desserts I love to whisk around in the bowl by hand. The conclusion suddenly overwhelmed me. What is the most pain in the ass thing to make in the dough world? Crust.
But, what does one do with crust–or puff pastry, for that matter–when lusting after something savory, something that satisfies the hunger, not just the taste buds? Surely I didn’t want to make a pie, full of gooey canned fruits that practically ooze sugar like pus or crystallized with brown sugar that would hurt my teeth after just one bite. And who wants to spend the time making a shepard’s pie, full of gravy that I hate and vegetables that simply wouldn’t satisfy my appetite? Again, the idea washed over me. What’s the most decadent and delicious savory food that can be prepared in a crust? Quiche.
My mother’s quiche is a staple of our household and of my childhood. It was always one of two ways that I could be coaxed to eat eggs: scrambled and quiched. Though I love eggs now, I spent countless hours downing large, steamy, yellowy eggs slices of quiche peppered with broccoli, bacon, onions, cheese…Gone are the days that I can look at a slice of quiche and not think, wow there is a lot of cholesterol in this one pan! but it is a must. It immediately brings me back to the dinner table of my youth, enjoying quiches that practically melted in my mouth and, I believe, tempered my taste buds to the art of fine dining.
These mini quiches are quite simple, and their small size certainly cuts back on how “bad” they could be considered for you. While this dish is slightly on the fatty and cholesteroly side, it is also proteinous and will make you feel like you’re cooking for (and eating in) a five star restaurant. They were a great late-night snack!
4 defrosted puff pastry rounds
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup broccoli, chopped small
1/8 cup cheese, grated (I prefer mozzarella or cheddar with broccoli)
ground, dried herbs
salt and pepper to taste
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
-Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and roll out the four puff pastry rounds until they are about 5 or 6 inches in diameter (they need to be big enough to line and form a “crust” for the muffin cups).
-Line each ungreased muffin cup with the puff pastry, rolling the dough bigger if they’re not large enough to line the tin. You’ll want to mold the dough snug into each cup, making a wide circle for filling. The extra dough that sticks out of the top of each cup should be formed into a “crust” for the mini quiches.
-Whisk the egg and milk together as you would if you were making scrambled eggs; be sure the egg is thoroughly beaten (no chunks) and the two ingredients are fully combined.
-Fill each cup with a quarter of the cheese, a quarter of the broccoli, and a quarter of the egg mixture. Add herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.
-Pop into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked in the center. Test with a fork or knife in the center of one mini quiche for “runniness.”
-Let cool and remove from the tins.
These could also be served as a great appetizer or “amuse bouche,” but they were delectable as a snack. If you are really trying to watch your cholesterol, you could try this recipe with egg substitute, but I’m not sure it would have the same effect. If anyone has done this with mini or full quiches, please feel free to write and let me know how it was! For mini Quiche Lorraine, sub out broccoli for crumbled bacon and diced onion, and use Swiss as your cheese-of-choice. Absolutely delicious, and very francais.