Why is it that "real men don't eat quiche?” Back in the early 1980s, Bruce Feirstein wrote a book of that title. It was a humorous book, taking jabs at sensitive New Age men who took pride in their role reversals – raising the children, cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry - basically, catering to their female partners. While this book was written tongue-in-cheek, it has stayed with us and, to this day, I still hear, “Real men don’t eat quiche.”
Well, I like quiche. And I’m a man. But, strangely, I haven't made a quiche in many years. I don't think it was for dietetic reasons - perhaps the timing or mood was never just right. Recently, we wanted to take lunch to a friend of ours and somehow quiche seemed to be the perfect thing. I could make it at home, transport it in my Aunt Nell's pie basket still warm, and serve it upon arrival. (Come on – doesn’t every real man on the block has his aunt’s pie basket?)
One of the inspirations for making this particular quiche was the fact that we had unbelievable amounts of cheese on hand from the holidays, much of it cheddar. I have never had a cheddar quiche - mostly I have made and eaten traditional French versions using Gruyère and sautéed onions, sometimes with lardons or ham. I even did a post on one of my favorites - tarte à l'oignon. But, since cheddar was on hand, that is what I made.
When trying to decide what flavorings would accompany the cheddar in the quiche, my first thought was thyme. But I then recalled a cheddar cracker recipe I make that uses rosemary. Rosemary is abundant here in Tucson and much more easily harvested than the tiny thyme leaves, so I chose rosemary to go with the cheddar. And I used a lot. So much so that I began to worry that I had used too much when I could smell it baking even when I was sitting outdoors in the garden! But I went ahead and served it and it tasted great! In fact, I have made it twice since then.
The combination of cream, skim milk and eggs made a custard that was so delicate - probably the best quiche I have ever made. And the funny thing is that I based the entire recipe on the ingredients I had on hand - some cream, fat-free milk, only 5 eggs (one needed for the crust) and the cheese. Even though I chalk this up to serendipity, from now on, this will be the custard recipe I will used to make my quiches!
So, guys... make a quiche, serve it with a salad and take it like a man!
Rosemary Cheddar Quiche
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 egg, separated
3 tablespoons ice water
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the chilled butter in 16 pieces and pulse 10-12 times until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix the egg yolk with 3 tablespoons ice water and pour evenly over flour and butter mixture. Pulse 3 times to distribute liquid then process until dough comes together in a ball around the blade. Quickly roll out dough to a 13-inch circle and fit into a 10-inch pie plate or quiche mold, doubling over the sides and crimping loosely.
Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork, cover with foil or parchment and fill with pie weights (I use dried beans). Bake 9 minutes, then remove the liner and pie weights. Bake 3 additional minutes and remove from the oven (do not turn off oven). Immediately brush the hot crust with egg white. (Use remaining egg white for another purpose.)
While crust is baking, put together filling.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup fat-free milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Whisk together cream, milk, eggs, rosemary, salt and pepper. When crust is ready to fill (having been brushed with egg white), spread the grated cheese over the bottom, then pour cream and egg mixture over top.
Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350ºF. Continue to bake for 25 more minutes until golden brown and custard is mostly set. (The center will still be a little loose - it will firm up as it cools.) Let sit 5 minutes before serving. It can also be served warm or at room temperature.