This Spinach and Leek Quiche is the first savory post for my food blog and I am excited to share the recipe with you. It's a delicious cheesy vegetable quiche full of spinach, leeks with a hint of lemon zest and nutmeg all poured into a flaky buttery pie crust. Perfect for a quick dinner or a light late-night meal. Read on for how to make this yummy creamy quiche.
What is Quiche?
From Wikipedia, a quiche is a savory dish consisting of a pastry crust filled with eggs, milk or cream, and cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables. Quiche can be served hot or cold. It is French in origin (ooh la la) but is adaptable for any cuisine.
The basic part of the quiche is the pastry crust, the eggs and milk (or cream). All the other components including the cheese are add-ins. The suggestion for a quiche came from one of my email subscribers and I've had fun developing this recipe.
How to Make the Pie Crust
The quiche starts with the pastry crust also known as the pie crust. The recipe I included makes enough dough for two crusts. I make enough for two crusts because pie dough freezes really well and it is really convenient to have ready to go pie dough in the freezer. If you're short on ingredients, this recipe can easily be cut in half to make enough for one pie crust.
The most important tip for making pie dough is to have cold ingredients. That includes butter straight from the refrigerator and ice-cold water. Mix the dry ingredients together first and then pull the other items from the refrigerator as you get ready to use them. I keep a jar of ice water in the refrigerator to ensure that I always have ice water on hand.
Once the dough is finished there should be visible pieces of butter the size of small peas or pebbles in order to achieve flaky results. The butter is trapped between the structure and when it melts from the heat in the oven, steam is created. The process creates the flakiness of a good pie crust.
Chilling the dough for at least 30 minutes allows the dough to relax and the butter to chill. The chilled, rested dough will also be easier to roll out and the crust will be flakier.
How to Prebake the Crust
Prebaking the crust is necessary to have a good crust. The quiche filling is only in the oven 30-35 minutes and that combined with the wet ingredients is not long enough to produce a flaky browned crust.
To prebake the pie crust line the pie pan rolled out pie dough. Use a fork to dock the surface of the dough. Docking the dough will help prevent the dough from rising up. Lay a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper over the pie dough. It should be large enough to completely cover the dough including the sides. I prefer using aluminum foil because it is easier to fit it against the dough. Fill the pan with enough dried beans or pie weights to completely cover the sides. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake it for 35 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and remove the weights by lifting the aluminum foil or the parchment out the crust. I usually have a large bowl or a small heatproof tray nearby and place the weights and foil on that. Return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the bottom of the crust is lightly browned.
The crust can be prebaked one day in advance. Wrap the cooled shell in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Preparing the Quiche Filling
Like the pie crust, the main ingredients for the filling can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to bake the quiche.
The spinach and leeks cook very quickly, 5-7 minutes each. The spinach is seasoned with nutmeg and the leeks are seasoned with garlic and lemon zest. The recipe calls for cream and milk because that is what I had on hand when I prepared the recipe, but you can also use half-and-half. The recipe is very versatile. Try different cheeses or different fillings like onions, asparagus, ham, gouda cheese. The options are endless.
Once all the ingredients are cooked spread them across the baked pie crust, sprinkle with the cheese and pour the cream-egg mixture over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve the quiche warm or at room temperature. This quiche is creamy, cheesy and with a lemony garlic flavor.
Spinach and Leek Quiche
- 2 1/2 cups (380 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 20 tablespoons (284 grams) cold unsalted butter cubed
- 1/2 cup ice-cold water or more if required.
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 5 ounces (142 grams) baby spinach washed and partially dried
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups (180 grams) sliced leeks
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Lemon zest from one lemon
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) shredded gruyere
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) shredded parmesan
- 3 (150 grams) large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the flour mixture into a food processor.
- Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Pulse the dough until it is coarse and crumbly, and the butter is about the size of peas.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of ice water and use a rubber spatula to toss together. Add the remaining water and mix into the dough until it starts to come together. It will still be slightly crumbly or shaggy but will hold together when squeezed into a ball. If more water is needed add a tablespoon at a time.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough together, folding it over on itself until it starts to hold together. Try not to work the dough too much or it may become overdeveloped and tough.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts (about 360 grams each) and shape each piece into disk 1-inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes. I use one disk for this recipe and freeze the other for another recipe.
Blind Baking the Pie Dough
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a 13-inch circle. Fold the dough into quarters and place it in a 8-inch or 9-inch pie plate. Unfold the dough, so the dough is overhanging the edges. Trim the edges with a sharp knife or kitchen shears so even out the dough. Fold the dough under so that the edge is even with the edges of the pie plate.
- Prick the bottom of the pie dough with a fork. This step will help prevent the dough from puffing up during baking. Press a large piece of foil onto the pie dough so the bottom and edges are covered. Fill the pie plate with pie weights or dried beans so the sides of the dough are completely covered.
- Place it in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven remove the pie weights and the foil. Return it to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the bottle is slightly browned. Remove it from the oven and prepare the quiche filling.
- Wash and partially dry the baby spinach. A salad spinner works well for rinsing the spinach. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a non-stick pan and heat on medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add all the spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continuously stir the spinach and cook on medium high heat until it is completely cooked, and the liquid is evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat, and the ground nutmeg and stir it into the spinach. Scrape the spinach onto a paper-towel lined plate to absorb any remaining moisture.
- Add the butter to the same pan and heat on medium heat until it is melted and starts to bubble. Add the leeks and reduce the heat to medium low. Add the salt and the chopped garlic and cook for about 5-7 minutes until the leeks are tender and just a few pieces have started to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and grate the lemon zest onto the leeks and stir it in. Season with fresh ground pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl whisk the three eggs. Add the whole milk and heavy cream and whisk to combine.
- Chopped the cooked spinach and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. Spread the cooked leeks on top of the spinach. Sprinkle the gruyere and parmesan cheeses over the spinach and leeks. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the cheese and vegetables. Cover the edges of the pie crust with a strip of foil to prevent excessive browning while the quiche bakes.
- Bake the quiche for 30-35 minutes until it is puffed and slightly browned on top. Remove it from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.