Mini-Quiches


Mini Quiche. What is that? Well, it’s like smaller quiche. Basically what happened is that asparagus was on sale, and I splurged on some bacon and some cheese, but I wasn’t willing to spend money on a proper pie tin. All I have is this muffin mold. So while the ingredients were not completely ghetto, I’m still stuck in the ghetto mindset. Shortcoming in tools and ingredients are no match for a cheap-assed imagination.

Ingredients

"Quiche" comes from an old French word meaning "very complex way to get fat".

Crust*

1 cup 2 tbsp All-purpose Flour
3 tbsp Butter/Margarine, cold
1/2 tsp Salt
4 tbsp Milk
1 stick Green Onion, finely chopped

Filling

Asparagus Spears, diced
Bacon Strips, cut into small pieces
2/3 cups Cheddar/Gruyere**
1/4 onion***
1 cup half-and-half
2 eggs
Salt
Pepper

*Crust adapted from this helpful website. I read through several recipes for crusts specifically tailored for quiches. There is another recipe here that calls for using creme fraiche/sour cream, but since I do not use either often I opted for this recipe. The dairy component seems to be what is important from these recipes anyways, so milk is just fine. This crust recipe makes 4 small crusts, or one large 9-inch crust. However, the filling is enough for either one large pie, or 12 small pies. Plan accordingly.
**Cheddar is cheaper here. Gruyere, Swiss, Parmesan, and even goat cheese can work, Experiment to see what is right for you.
***Not pictured. Optional.

Procedure

You should start with the crust. Measure out flour into a container and add salt. Cut cold butter into small pieces. Using a fork, incorporate the butter into the flour. Mash the butter into the flour with your fork until they are in small pieces. Add finely chopped scallions and mix together.

I'd say I'm "sharing" this recipe with you. If I were French, I would be "surrendering" this recipe to you. A small technicality.

Slowly add the milk a tablespoon at a time. I found that four tablespoons of milk is only barely enough to hold all the flour together into a ball. Use your fingers to roll all of the flour into a ball of dough. Refrigerate this ball for an hour.

If you are French and were offended by the above remark, remember that since I'm Chinese it's only natural I'd reproduce a cheap knockoff of your product and flood the market with it.

Meanwhile, cut your bacon into small pieces and dice your asparagus and onion. Over medium heat, cook the onions and bacon pieces together for about fifteen minutes. Drain bacon fat (but don’t throw it away! More on why in a future entry ;)) then continue cooking. Add asparagus, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for five more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Jessica Alba. Naked.

If you are Chinese and were offended by the above remark, remember that since I live in the US I'm naturally tainted by Western ideology and biased against Chinese traditions. Not that rampant piracy is a tradition.

By the time your pastry dough has been in the refrigerator for an hour, your asparagus and bacon mixture should have cooled to near room temperature. The cooling is important because you will eventually pour a cold custard mixture over this asparagus, and you would not want hot asparagus to instantly cook the egg in your custard. Add shredded cheese to this cooled mixture and mix thoroughly.

Take your pastry dough out. If you are making a single pie, roll the dough out flat on a floured surface to roughly 1/4 inch thick. Press it into a buttered 9-inch pie pan and trim off the edges. If you are making mini-quiches like me, divide the ball of dough into four with a knife. Roll each section out, cut with a circular cutter, and press into your buttered muffin/cupcake tins. Try to make some kind of consistent pattern with the rims of the pie crust using your fingers.

Your mother, naked.

If you're from the West and are offended by my use of "taint" and "western ideology" in the same sentence, remember that like human beings, giant pandas also have opposable thumbs.

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Beat the two eggs together then add your cup of half-and-half. Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt) and whisk until smooth. This is your custard. Spoon about two tablespoons of asparagus/bacon/onion into each pie dish and fill with custard. Leave about 1/4 inch of space for the custard to expand during the baking process.

At this point the dough feels, smells, and most likely tastes a lot like play-doh.

Bake! If you are making a 9-inch pie, bake for about 45 minutes, checking first at 35 minutes and then regularly afterwards. If you are making mini-quiches, bake for about 30 minutes, checking first at 25 minutes. The quiche is done when a knife/toothpick inserted into the custard comes out clean, and pressing on the custard yields no spurting fluids.

Man, these quiches look totally baked.

Let your pies cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving warm.

The Result

Always remember that France is Bacon.

4.5 / 5 The last time I ate quiche was some 12 years ago, made by someone else. No joke. Quiche tastes pretty good though. I’m certain I’ve nailed the filling down. The custard is tender and savory, neither under nor over-cooked. Asparagus, bacon, and onion is a wonderful flavor combination. It seems that I still have some improving to do with the crust though. A ghetto cook’s work is never complete.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I conclude that this is the conclusion to this twentieth installment of Food in Mind. As this series moves forward, I will slowly expand outwards from the core of ultra-ghetto ingredients in order to bring you, my dear readers, increasingly complex, tasty, and wonderful dishes. This is just the tip of the iceberg, the first steps on a long journey. Please continue to read and comment!

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