Broccoli-Pancetta Quiche for a Sunday Afternoon

I made this for a friend who came over on a Sunday afternoon. She’s an amazing cook, so I was pretty pleased with myself when she asked for seconds. This would probably make a great dinner, but the prep required might be more than many of us feel like doing after a long day at work.
No matter; it goes extremely well with Mimosas and conversation.

For the quiche:

  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 lb pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 small purple potatoes
  • 1 sprig baby broccoli
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes (sliced in half)

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick frozen unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • black peppercorns
  • salt

Equipment:

  • large mixing bowl
  • pastry cutter
  • flat spatula
  • a good, sharp knife
  • 9-inch pie plate
  • rolling pin
  • mortar and pestle
quiche before baking quiche after baking

Preparation:

I used to worry about making a perfect crust. Eventually, I grew up and realized that perfect is the enemy of the good. This is a modified version of a 3-2-1 dough — the relative proportions of flour, fat and water. For optimal results, I keep the flour and butter in the freezer before starting my prep.

First, wash your thyme, strip the leaves and toss the stems. Using a sharp knife, finely chop the thyme, then set it aside. Your hands are going to smell great.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind some peppercorns, then add a little salt. (What do you mean you don’t have a mortar and pestle) Fine, use table salt and pepper.

Dice the frozen butter with a sharp knife and return it to the freezer. Next, combine the flour, sugar and salt and thyme in a mixing bowl. Add the diced butter to the flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to chop until the butter is evenly distributed. (I usually stop when the butter chunks are slightly smaller than peas.)

While stirring with a flat spatula, add the ice water until it’s absorbed. Next, drizzle olive oil over the dough and use the pastry cutter again to combine. Don’t stir too much; you’ll get a tougher crust. Use your hands to gently gather it into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and put it the fridge for 60 minutes.

Fry the diced pancetta until brown; mix in the diced onion, then drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Boil the diced purple potatoes until tender; drain them and shock them with cold water. Drain again, and add to the bowl of pancetta and onion.

Dice the baby broccoli and sliced tomatoes, and put them in the bowl so they can make some new friends.

Crack 6 eggs into a different mixing bowl, add the half-and-half, and whip it good. Toss in the broccoli, potatoes, pancetta, onion and tomatoes, then stir gently until it’s all combined.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Sprinkle a good amount of flour on a clean work surface and roll out the crust until it’s at least a foot in diameter and approximately 1/8 inch thick. Lay it over the pie dish and let it flop over the sides by an inch, then trim it with a sharp nice or kitchen shears and roll it back to create a nice rim. The rim’s important; it looks nice, but it’ll also help contain the quiche so you can fill it up to the top of the dish.

(Semi-pro tip: I roll crust out on a lightweight cutting board; when I have the thickness I want, I invert the pie plate on the cutting board and invert it before forming it into a neat shape.)

Pre-bake the crust; you can use pie weights, or you can put a cup or two of dried beans to hold it down. Put it in the 350F oven about 20 minutes; it should be a *very* light brown.

Let the crust cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle half of the Gruyère across the bottom. Pour the liquid ingredients on top, then spread the remaining cheese across the top of the batter.

Put the pie plate on a cookie sheet and place it in the center of your oven until the center is firmly. This took about 45 minutes; in my experience, when the cheese has browned to this color, it’s a good indicator that it’s nice and firm at the center.

Enjoy, and share.

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