When I was young I thought that Quiche was some kind of an exotic food because it sounded so, well, exotic. When I got older I found out that Quiche was just a fancy way to say egg pie. As you can guess, we’re going to talk about eggs again. The reason that I like eggs so much is because they are so versatile and they are a very easy way to get protein. Eggs just taste good and if you have chickens, they are also a renewable resource.
The first time that I ever made Quiche I measured everything out perfectly thinking that if I made one miscalculation in my preparation that it would not turn out. It was nerve wracking and I didn’t make it again – at least until I was inspired by my friend.
My husband and I went to stay at her house back east for a short vacation. The morning that we were getting ready to leave, I went downstairs and my friend was “throwing” together breakfast for us before we left to catch a plane. She finished stripping off the meat from the bones of a ham and started throwing them in a pie shell. She then mixed cheese in with the ham until it filled the shell about ¾ full. She salted and peppered it, threw in some diced onions, added a shake or two of garlic granules over the whole thing and then added about six eggs that had already been mixed with little bit of milk. She then poured the mixture over the ham and cheese and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the middle had set. She let it set for about 15 minutes and then served it up. She measured nothing – and it tasted wonderful!
I decided that when I got home I wasn’t going to be such a fraidy cat and that I would try making Quiche my own way – without measuring absolutely everything. Since that time I have made Quiche with ham or bacon, whichever one I had on hand (I have never tried bacon bits, but I would bet that they would work). I have used whatever cheese I had in the refrigerator, sometimes even mixing different ones together like cheddar cheese and mozzarella. Of course I have used the Swiss cheese, as is used in most recipes, and I like it, but my favorite is with the mild cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese mixed. I also like to add cut up spinach and make sure that you add re-hydrated or diced up onions. I have never tried it with asparagus pieces, but I saw a picture of it one time and it looked delicious. Just remember – it is an egg pie and the egg and cheese hold everything together, so if something tastes good with eggs and with cheese then throw it in the pie shell and cook it up. Start experimenting and find your family’s favorite, whether it is simple, or extravagant.
If you have a favorite pie shell recipe, then use it to make your egg pie (a.k.a. Quiche). There are many different types of pie shells, but my favorite one is the old-fashioned pie dough that my mom taught me to make when I was young. It is really easy to make, but if you play with it too much it will get tough.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
7 Tablespoons cold water
Mix the flour and salt together and then cut the shortening (Vegetable shortening, like Crisco, works best) into the flour until it is small pea size. Add the water and mix together with a fork. DO NOT PLAY WITH THE DOUGH or it will get tough. Turn it out on the counter and roll it out. This will not look pretty and you will lose some flour, but if done correctly it will make the crust flaky. This recipe will make enough dough for two single pies or one pie with a top and of course some leftover pie dough cookies.
If you don’t like the above recipe then try the following recipe. This in the recipe that my mom likes to make because she can freeze it ahead of time, a good food storage idea, and it always comes out flaky – hence the name “Never-Fail Pie Crust”.
Never-Fail Pie Crust
4 cups flour (not sifted)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 ¾ cups solid vegetable shortening
1 Tablespoon vinegar
½ cup water
Mix flour, sugar and salt together with a fork. Add shortening and cut into flour until crumbly. Beat together vinegar, egg and water. Combine with flour, stirring with fork to moisten ingredients. Shape with hands into 5 flat, round patties ready for rolling. Wrap each patty in foil or plastic wrap and store in freezer until ready to use. When ready to roll pie crust, remove pastry from freezer (a.k.a. your food storage) and thaw in refrigerator. Roll out, fill with desired filling (eggs and cheese this time), bake and enjoy. Just remember – food storage can TASTE GOOD!