Ham, Swiss + Asparagus Quiche
Quiches, in my opinion, are like sophisticated omelets – you can basically take anything in the refrigerator you suspect might taste good in a mix of eggs and cream, and in hardly any time at all have a delicious meal. And the best part is, it all comes served in a flaky, buttery crust … I don’t know about you, but I am SOLD on these things!
This quiche came about as the result of a rocking sale on asparagus at the market and some leftover ham (see the previous post – Horseradish + Honey Glazed Ham). It is the first time I’ve tried his meat-vegetable combination in a quiche, and it came out absolutely lovely. I used Swiss cheese, because I think it’s sharp flavor stands out nicely against the sweetness of the ham, but most other cheeses would be tasty as well.
The quiche pictured above was made in my 11-inch tart pan with removable rim (creating the fluted edges on the crust), but this recipe also works nicely for a quiche made in a 9-inch pie plate.
SWISS, HAM + ASPARAGUS QUICHE
Crust (Pâte Brisée)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 to 6 tbsp ice water
1 cup freshly shredded Swiss cheese
10 ounces fresh asparagus, rough ends removed, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2-inch intervals
1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
To make crust:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar; pulse to mix. Add chilled butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal and butter is in pea-sized pieces.
2. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing just until mixture begins to clump together. Test dough by pinching between fingers; if the mixture holds together, it is done, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.
3. Transfer dough from food processor to a clean work surface. Using hands, form into a disc shape; do not knead dough, as small chunks of butter should still be visible. Dust disc lightly with flour and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4. Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Transfer from plastic wrap to a lightly floured work surface and roll, using a heavy marble rolling pin, into a 12-inch circle (measure with a ruler for accuracy, as misshapen dough may not fit pie/tart pan properly).
5. Gently fold dough circle in half and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate or 10- to 11-inch tart pan, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold dough and press into pan to secure.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line pie shell with parchment paper, wax paper or aluminum foil, pressing gently into the corners and edges. Fill at least 2/3 full with baking weights (I use raw rice or dried beans) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully remove baking weights. Poke base of crust with a fork to create air vents, then return to oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To assemble quiche:
1. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat a small saucepan of water over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, add sliced asparagus spears, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Place tart pan/pie plate on a baking sheet (to prevent run-off or bubbling over during baking). Sprinkle base of prepared crust with 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Add a layer of sliced asparagus spears and a layer of cubed ham.
4. In a medium-sized non-metallic mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cream and a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Pour mixture over ingredients in crust and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Transfer to oven and bake just until surface is golden and filling is set in the center, approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.