Roasted Tomato Quiche

Through an adventure (a walk to the farmers market – I have an exciting life, I know) we acquired some lovely cherry tomatoes.  They were a mix of red and yellow. I thought one box would be enough.  I should have bought four.  We also have a few nice peaches.
We’ve been eating quiche occasionally recently. It’s what comes to mind when we have eggs, cheese and butter in the fridge.  Most of them have been caramelized-onion quiches, but occasionally a slice of bacon survives long enough to make it into the pie. Mostly just the grease does, in the form of onions that have been fired in it. Those do tend to be quite delicious onions though.
At some point I had seen a recipe for roasted tomato quiche, and didn’t have any tomatoes to try it out with, so I put away the idea as nice, but maybe some other time.
And then I had tomatoes.

Well, for a little while at least. Similar to the bacon, they almost didn’t make it in. The only reason they did was we were all curious to see how this would turn out.  They were delicious enough on their own that we could easily have nibbled them all away before the piecrust was done.
Our self-control was rewarded:
And then it was all gone. All we had were fond memories, and a desire for more.  

By chance we found some nice-looking yellow cherry tomatoes at the store.  And Krista gave me a brown bag that turned out to contain some lovely red cherry tomatoes.  So there was only one solution…

If you guessed “More quiche”, you are correct.  Also if you guessed “Kimberly taking too many photos of pretty tomatoes”.  So I suppose there is more than one solution after all.

We went out for dinner last night, but I finished the quiche anyway. It’s good for breakfast, too. You could reheat it, or just eat it cold. Either way works.  And if there is any left by lunchtime, have it the other way then. (Or if you have breakfast at lunchtime, have one slice cold while you microwave your second one?)

And if you don’t have tomatoes, roast something else! Bacon, onions, mushrooms, peppers…I have some zucchini in the fridge I might try…(and by roast, I do include “fry in bacon fat until it tastes delicious and may no longer have any nutritive value”. Or lightly coat in oil, garlic and your favorite spices and roast in the oven. That works too.). We’ll talk again some other time about quiche, I am sure. The possibilities…and my poor roommates. I’ll let you know if they start begging me to make something that doesn’t come in a piecrust (I hear there is a thing known as a crust-less quiche….). Or mysteriously disappear around mealtimes.

Now I think I will go have yoghurt for lunch.

Here are the recipes, if you can call them that:

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
7 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
Ice water

Mix the flour and the salt, then cut the butter in and mush it until it resembles pea-sized pieces or so.

After that, mix in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Apparently you can do this with 1-2 tablespoons, I usually need 4-5, but perhaps you’re better at this than me (though then I must wonder why you would be reading this. Perhaps watching me flail is just amusing?).

Then form your dough into a ball and press it into a disc. Wrap it up and put it in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes.

When you are ready to roll it out, lightly flour your surface and start rolling, throwing some flour on the dough if it sticks to your rolling pin. 

When it looks big enough to be a pie, roll it over the pin and then unroll it over the pie-pan. 

Trim the edges to just a little over the edge and press them to look pretty if you want to. Use any rest bits from your trimmings to help fix any cracks or uneven bits. Or cut them into pretty shapes to use later as decorations. You can also just press together any cracks etc. 

Also, be sure to use your pants to remove excess flour from your hands...

Now put the pie crust and pan in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
I call it "Piecrust in Freezer"
If you forget it there for a few hours, it doesn’t mind too much either. If you plan to leave it there for a while, cover it in plastic wrap.
When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 425°F and cover the piecrust in aluminum foil.
Once the oven is hot, put in the piecrust and let it bake that way for 20 minutes. Then take the foil off, poke it a few times with a fork if you see big bumps developing and then bake it for another 10 minutes.

After a few of my piecrusts sagged depressively in the oven, I looked around and found the following tips:
  • Cold butter and cold water actually do matter – you want little butter flakes in your crust, if the butter and water are too warm the butter just melts in. This may not actually affect the sagging, but does make for a flakier crust.
  • Butter crusts tend to sag a bit. So make them a bit taller and they will still sag and shrink a bit, but if you made them higher to begin with, they will still end up higher – so you can make your crust go a little bit above the rim of your pie pan if you want. Alternatively, you might get less shrinkage and sagging with a different piecrust recipe. I haven’t tried any others out, but apparently shortening and butter combinations might do this less.
  • Part of the reason for the refrigerating/freezing bit is to give the gluten time to relax again. Tightened glutens, while delightful in bread, will give an accordingly bready texture, which may not be what you want in your pie crust. 
  • You want to put the cold pie crust in a hot oven so that the crust starts baking and holding its shape before the butter melts. Butter melting leads to sagging.
  • If your pie-crust acquires a wonky shape because you didn’t put it in the freezer on a level surface, you can use a blow-dryer to warm up that portion and re-shape it. Then of course you need to freeze it again for a bit. I’ve done this quite a few times now. Taking the time to make sure it’s on a level surface and won’t come out curled into a roll is probably worth it. 

So, I tried all of that, instead of my usual “just take some room-temperature water and butter and go” approach. I even preheated the oven. The crust sagged less than usual, I think. I’ll have to try it again sometime to be sure. (More quiche, for science!)

Once the crust starts looking slightly browned, take it out of the oven and let it cool while you prepare the rest. Or if you planned ahead and prepared the rest while the crust was baking, you can toss it all in now and proceed to the “Sip tea and wait for dinner” step.

So, the tomatoes: I followed the recipe and instructions found here, though I wasn’t making mini-quiches, so I played with it a bit. But the basic roasting idea was what I was looking for, never having tried this before.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 crushed and chopped garlic cloves
1tsp vinegar
Salt and pepper
together and mix this with the tomatoes in a pan. I used a teaspoon of a spice mixture, too, so if you have spices you like, toss them in if you wish.

Put the pan in the oven and give the tomatoes 20 minutes or so at 350°F, or until they look roasted and may have burst open.

Now shred about a cup of your favorite cheese. I used gouda, but I’ve mixed cheddar and gouda and whatever else I could find before. If you like scallions, chop some up and add them in with the cheese, as well as any herbs you like. I added some basil.

Usually, I mix:
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup milk (or cream if you prefer)
3 eggs
Salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg

In this case, we are going to sprinkle some of the cheese on the bottom of the piecrust. The idea, as is pointed out in the mini-quiches, is to make it so that the tomatoes can be seen on top of the crust. So we are going to put some of the cheese along the bottom, then put the tomatoes on this so that they sit a little bit higher. (And by “We” I mean you of course).
Once the tomatoes are on the cheese, sprinkle the remaining cheese in between the tomatoes. Then mix the remaining ingredients (milk, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg) and pour that over the tomatoes and cheese.

Bake at 350°F until the top is a bit puffy and slightly browned (this takes 20-40 minutes, and seems to be a bit dependent on what cheese you use). Then take it out of the oven, wait a few minutes until it reaches edible temperatures, and enjoy with tea. Or let it cool, refrigerate and enjoy with tea the next day for breakfast.


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