around here, spring is really the time for spinach. it is one of the first greens to make an appearance at the farmers market and a welcome relief from the winters tougher kale and collards. this delightful custard-like quiche is filled with fresh spring spinach. keeping the dough cool and working with a quick precise hand will reward you with a flaky buttery crust. and for all your hard work, you will have enough dough for two crusts, which makes the tomorrows quiche a breeze.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 stick frozen butter
1/2 tsp salt
6-8 Tbl ice water
3 packed cups chopped spinach
1 cup half & half, room temp
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, room temp
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/8 tsp white pepper, fresh ground
salt to taste
pinch of nutmeg
when appropriate, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
sift the flour, cornmeal and salt into a large metal bowl, throw out any large grains left in the sifter. working quickly, ‘shred’ the frozen butter into the flour with a cheese grater, occasionally tossing the butter with the flour as you go. mix gently to coat all the butter with flour before placing the entire bowl in the freezer for a 2-3 minutes. remove the bowl from the freezer, adding a few tablespoons of water at a time, softly mix the dough with a fork and finally your heads, kneading only slightly till the dough comes together. cut in half, pat each half out into a disc, wrap in plastic and cool in the fridge. (use within a week or freeze for up to a month). this is the point where i heat our oven.
meanwhile, heat a saute pan to a medium heat, add just a dab (1 tsp) olive oil or butter and top with the spinach, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes until the spinach is just wilted, remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
whisk together the half in half and eggs, add the salt white pepper and nutmeg and set aside.
remove one dough disc from the fridge and roll out into a thin (around an 1/8”) circle on a floured surface. you’ll want your circle to be about a half inch to an inch bigger than your pie pan. again, work steady to keep your dough from getting warm. when the size is right, slide the dough into the pie pan and tuck the edges under to form a wavy edge.
now for the fillings! sprinkle just a bit of the cheese on the bottom of the pie, next layer on the cooled spinach and then the rest of the cheese. whisk up your egg mixture one more time and slowly pour all over the spinach and cheese. all the fillings will be about even. carefully slide the quiche onto the middle rack in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. halfway into the baking, rotate the pie dish 180 degrees to ensure even cooking. at thirty minutes, the filling should be set so that if you give the pie dish a little shake, the middle should just barely jiggle and the crust will be golden. remove from the oven and let cool and set for at least 15 minutes.