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Friday, March 1, 2013

Ham, Caramelized Onion, and Gruyere Quiche


These individual quiches are an excellent option for a light lunch or dinner, or perhaps a special brunch menu.  You all know how much I love caramelized onions - so sweet and almost creamy; and they pair up so well with the smoky ham, the nutty Gruyere cheese, and the bright verdant flavors of the fresh thyme.  You have lots of protein represented here; and afterwards, you won't feel like you've had a big heavy meal.

These can easily be made ahead of time and reheated to serve.   Have you have seen what they charge for individual sized quiches in a bakery or sandwich shop?  They are so easy to make, and chances are, you probably have most of this in your kitchen already!!

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Click here for a Printable Recipe!

Ingredients: (for 5 - 6 individual tart quiches)
  • refrigerated "roll out" pie crust
  • 1 medium-large onion, cut into medium slices
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup smoked ham, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, stripped from the stems
    • or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Step-by-Step:
Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface.
Roll-out pie crust
For a pattern, I chose a bowl that was a little bigger than my tart pans.  The tart pans were about 3" at the narrowest bottom part.

Cut (press) circles out of the dough with the bowl.
Press the dough into the tart pans.
Cut off the excess so that the dough is flush with the top of the pans.
If you allow the dough to come to room temperature rather than baking it while its still cold, I think it may 'shrink' less. 

Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork several times.
Now bake the empty shells at 400 degrees F for about 9 minutes.  I wanted them set with only a tiny bit of color.
Let's move on to the onions.   Saute slice onions in the butter low and slow until caramelized.  This is really the only 'slow' step.  They will take probably 20-25 minutes.
This step could also be done ahead of time.  You can caramelize the onions and store them in the refrigerator until the time you need them.
1 large onion + 2 Tbsp butter
Here they are - YUM!!!  The starches in the onions turn into sugar and the caramelized onions are so delicious!
The other ingredients....
Chop your ham into small pieces.
smoked ham
Grate the cheese.
Gruyere cheese
Make the eggs....

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp dried mustard
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp kosher salt + 1/4 tsp black pepper
Assembly time!
Add a big pinch of cheese to the bottom of each pastry.  Probably a healthy tablespoon or so.
Add some ham.
Add some of the caramelized onions.
 
Now ladle some of the egg mixture over each tart.
This is a 1/2 ounce ladle, and I probably added almost two to each.  So approximately 1 ounce to each tart ladled right over the filling.
These guys are ready to be baked now.
You are probably all wondering why I'm making "five" of these.  Well, the truth is - I just could NOT find my other little tart pan for the life of me.  So if you want to make six, the recipe amounts for the crust, onions, and eggs will definitely be sufficient.  Just add a bit more ham and cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes.  A clean knife inserted into the center should come out clean, but you don't want too much color on the egg.  Brown eggs are yucky!
Allow them at least 5 minutes or so to rest before cutting into one.  Trust me - they are like molten lava right now.  You will blister your mouth if you try biting into one! Remove them from the tart pans after this time period.   You can eat them warm, or store in the refrigerator for serving later.  They heat up really nicely in my toaster oven, so I suspect a regular oven would work fine as well.
BEAUTIFUL!!! Can I have an 'Amen?'
Written Instructions:

Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface.  Cut the pastry a little larger than the tart pans, and press into the pans.  Cut off the excess so that the dough is flush with the top of the pans.  Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork several times.   Now bake the empty shells at 400 degrees F for about 9 minutes.  I wanted them set with only a tiny bit of color.

Let's move on to the onions.   Saute slice onions in the butter low and slow until caramelized.  This is really the only 'slow' step.  They will take probably 20-25 minutes. This step could also be done ahead of time.  You can caramelize the onions and store them in the refrigerator until the time you need them.

Prepare the other ingredients.... Chop your ham into small pieces.  Grate the cheese.   Make the eggs....

Assembly time!  Add a big pinch of cheese to the bottom of each pastry.  Probably a healthy tablespoon or so.  Add some ham.  Add some of the caramelized onions. Now ladle some of the egg mixture over each tart - approximately 1 ounce to each tart ladled right over the filling.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes.  A clean knife inserted into the center should come out clean, but you don't want too much color on the egg.  Allow them at least 5 minutes or so to rest before cutting into one. 

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Food Nerd Notes:
A Quiche is a savory, open-faced pastry crust dish with a filling of savory custard with cheese, meat, fish, or vegetables.  Although known as a classic French dish, the quiche originated in Germany.  The word quiche means "cake" which came from the German word Kuchen. Today, quiche is considered as typically French. However, savory custards in pastry were known in English cuisine at least as early as the fourteenth century. Recipes for custards baked in pastry containing meat, fish and fruit are referred to Crustardes of flessh and Crustade in the 14th and 15th century cookbooks as well.

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6 comments:

  1. Beautiful and easy to make this food!!!...I loved and of course will prepare it!!!...Yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't wait to turn my own quiche recipe into personalized options! Such a great tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can you freeze the quiches for later use? I did make these for an office party today. They were a hit! I would like to make smaller ones for a holiday luncheon for about 70 people. I just don't think I can make that many all on the morning of the event. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lauren - I don't see any reason why you couldn't freeze these. You can purchase frozen quiche in the supermarket. I would cover with aluminum foil when reheating to avoid overbrowning. Glad they were such a hit!
      Julie

      Delete
  4. I don't have the mini pans - would I need to adjust the amount of ingredients to make in a large pie pan? And would I cook it longer? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there Anonymous, (sure wish there was a name I could address you by)

      Yes, for a full size pie plate or tart plate, you might like to add another egg and maybe another 1/4 cup of milk or cream. I would still prebake the crust at the higher temp, then use the lower temp to cook the custart mixture low and slow. It may take an extra 5 minutes perhaps. Just insert a knife in the center to see if it comes out clean; and don't let it get too brown. Brown eggs are yucky.
      Hope this helps! :)
      Julie

      Delete

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