Although there are limitations on keeping chickens in the city where I live, I have friends and family members who raise poultry in their country yards. I also have memories of caring for chickens growing up; although I didn’t like the fowl things much, my niece really has taken to them and is considered a bit of a chicken-whisperer, now. Sometimes, this means I am handed a dozen eggs to use up and often this scenario leads to making a quiche! Spinach quiches are my favorite. I usually make one with cheddar, but recently decided to get a little fancy and made this one with shallots and Gruyere.
Spinach and Gruyère Quiche
adapted from Once Upon a Chef
9-inch pie crust (below)
butter for sauteing
½ cup thinly sliced shallots
6 large eggs
1 cups heavy cream
Pinch ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 oz finely shredded Gruyère
10 ounces fresh spinach OR 10oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung free of water
1 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
½ tsp salt
3 Tablespoons ice water
Make the pie crust: Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or 2 knives. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork after each addition. (You can add more water a teaspoon at a time if needed.) Bring the dough into a ball with your fingertips.
Par Bake the Pie Crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the pie crust and place in the pie pan. Prick the bottom and sides all over with a fork, about an inch apart. Bake until fully cooked and lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside and turn oven down to 325°F.
Pie crust problems: If it starts to puff up while par baking, prick it with a fork so it deflates. If your crust cracks, make a smooth paste by mixing 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of water. Use your fingers to patch up and fill any cracks, then place the crust back in the oven for a minute or so to set.
Prepare the spinach: Steam the spinach until wilted, place in a colander to drain, and squeeze out all the water. Chop the spinach on a cutting board and set aside for later.
Sauté the shallots: Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the shallots until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Do not brown. Set aside to cool.
Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper.
Fill the pie: Spread the shallots over the bottom of the cooked crust, then sprinkle the shredded Gruyere over top. Scatter the spinach evenly over cheese, breaking up the clumps as best you can.
Bake the pie: Bake at 325°F degrees for 50 to 55 minutes until the custard is set and top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm.
Make ahead: This quiche can be made up to a day ahead of time and refrigerated. To reheat: Cover the quiche with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until hot in the center.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked quiche can be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove the quiche from the freezer about 24 hours prior to eating and reheat it, covered with foil, in a 300°F oven until hot in the center.