The Go-To Ham, Leek & Gruyeré Quiche

In truth, I have not always been a proponent of quiches. Quiches are not the first item that my mind (or stomach, for that matter) gravitates towards when I walk into a bakery or when I want to craft something at home. I generally opt for any vessel with icing, large biscuits, scones, and dense blueberry muffins of any sort. However, recent events (mainly leftovers) have turned me into a quiche convert.

On Saturdays, my girlfriend and I venture to the farmer’s market a mere two blocks away for everything from produce to seasonal fruit to the occasional baked good. My restraint and self-control impulses are never tested more than when we take this weekly trip. Last week, we mustered up some leeks and good-quality gruyeré to add to ground turkey for turkey burgers, of which were later grilled on our faux grill atop the stove. I profiled a similar turkey burger recipe here (sub scallions for leeks) a few years ago. Leeks are at their peak during the autumn season, so it was high time that I embraced them and incorporated them into my fall cooking repertoire, particularly as a means to avoid food waste.

Leeks aren’t terribly pungent, as I think of them of more of a milder member of the onion family. This sentiment is reflected even when the whites and light green parts are caramelized, as they retain their mild flavor and become soft. Any sort of honey ham pairs well with leeks, ditto the gruyeré (white cheddar would do nicely, too). Certified triple threat.

IMG_3456

First quiche of the month: Chive-tomato with balsamic vinegar

After making two quiches this month, one with three eggs and one with five, my preference remains with the quiche with more eggs. The texture and consistency of the quiche is better and more enjoyable to eat. The leeks, ham, gruyeré, eggs, and a slew of dairy products pull this quiche together and make it delectable. I was short on time, so I used a pre-made pie crust and tin. The importance lies in the filling, anyway. Add some thyme for some additional post-bake luster.

The Go-To Ham, Leek & Gruyeré Quiche: girlfriend approved.

The Go-To Ham, Leek, and Gruyeré Quiche
Recipe adapted from Kelsey Nixon’s ‘Ham, Leek, and Gruyeré Quiche’
Yields 8-10 servings 

Crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp. salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons sour cream
Ice water, as needed

Filling:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large leeks, white and light green parts chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch nutmeg
5 large eggs
1 cup gruyeré cheese, shredded
1 cup honey baked ham, diced

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pulse together the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the chilled butter and pulse just until the butter is evenly distributed throughout. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse 2 to 4 more times until just incorporated. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough starts to hold together. Add more water as needed.

Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap and form it into a disc. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator 30 minutes.

Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 12-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Roll up the dough using a rolling pin, and gently lift and place it over a deep, 10-inch tart pan. Gently press the dough into all the crevices and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges for a decorative finish and use the trimmed dough to patch any holes.

Dock the bottom of the crust with a fork to keep it from puffing up, line with parchment paper and add dried beans to act as pie weights. Place on a large baking sheet and bake until the crust begins to brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the parchment and dried beans.

For the filling: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté the leeks until they soften and begin to caramelize, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool and reserve.

Whisk the cream, milk, cornstarch, salt, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Scatter the leeks evenly over the bottom of the crust. Top with the cheese and ham. Pour the custard over the top and place in the oven on a large sheet tray.

Bake until the center is set and the crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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