Easy as Pie

Who came up with that phrase? There's nothing easy about pie. Except maybe eating it. Maybe that was the original phrase: "Why, it's as easy as eating pie someone else baked." It's the pie crust, of course, that gives me fits. Years ago a nice lady at my mom's church had a bunch of us over to show us how to make pie crust. It didn't really take with me.

So, I compensated with homemade graham cracker crusts because that really is as easy as...something easy. Easy and delicious.

But graham crackers don't work for chicken pot pie, and that's the kind of what I make. Every new baby or illness gets a chicken pot pie. I use pre-made crust for the bottom (nothing wrong with the pre-made, no judging here) and Puff Pastry for the top because Puff Pastry makes it look gorgeous.

But this past year I began my Quest for Quiche. I know, it sounds ridiculous when I say it aloud. I was hoping writing it out would lend it some gravitas, but I fear no. No matter. I've been watching a lot of Brene Brown on TED Talks, so I will NOT entertain any shame talk to interrupt my quest; instead, I will be authentic and share my quiche vulnerabilities. Because isn't connection what we're all longing for? Right! So, let's connect over quiche and crust!

The QQ started because I sort of adore quiche. And my family is pretty keen on it, too. There is less complaining about veggies when surrounded by egg and cheese (of course there is, we are not barbarians). And I went to this fantastic Vietnamese run French cafe, The French House, that serves the Best Quiche in the Land. And when my mom was so sick last year, my work bought me a whole quiche to take home to my family, and we were all enraptured together. The crust was thick, and the quiche part was so creamy. And, thus, the quest was born.

My friend, Kaylee, is an Easy as Pie lady. She makes pie crust in her sleep. And she was so confident that I could do the same that she bought me all these pie crust making supplies for Christmas - the wooden rolling pin, the special bag you roll the crust it, the crust protector. I love kitchen gadgetry, and I really hoped the accoutrements were the missing link. I think it's me.

But I kept thinking about how thick the crust at the French House was, so I started looking at tart crusts. Enter Easy as Tart Crust. Which is not a catch phrase yet, but when the Millennials start saying it, you'll know where it all began...

I got this recipe from Bon Appetit; you can find it here.

You blend

2 cups of all purpose flour and 1 tsp of kosher salt in a food processor.

Add 3/4 of a stick of chilled butter (1 1/2 sticks) that has been cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Mix this until it resembles coarse meal.

Add 3 Tablespoons of chilled water.

And 3 Tablespoons of whipping cream.

Mix until it's dough. And then wrap it up in plastic wrap and chill.

I usually chill it in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. But you can make it in advance and chill in the freezer until you need it, according the Pioneer Woman.

Roll it out and put it in a tart pan. I bought the Nordic Ware one from Amazon, and I love it.

How long must I apologize for not getting a major in Food Photography? Blogs weren't even a thing when I was in college. But you still see how pretty that crust looks.

Ok, now for the quiche. I experimented a lot. A LOT. And I now have 2 recipes. Cooks' Illustrated has a fantastic recipe which copyright laws prevent me from copying here. But I got the recipe out of The New Best Recipes, which you can buy from Amazon. This cookbook really is the best. I love all those cooking videos that are going around Facebook right now, but, honestly, a lot of them don't turn out so well. Cooks' Illustrated is completely, 100% reliable.

But here's the recipe I can share with you. I was still trying to go for that uber creamy, custardy feel for the quiche, so I combined a quiche recipe with a macaroni and cheese recipe. I made a cheese sauce:

3 Tablespoons of flour and 2 Tablespoons of butter - cook in a saucepan, stirring for 1 minute until you smell that nutty aroma.

Then add 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup whipping cream. Continue stirring for about 5 minutes, until it thickens to the consistency of cream.

Add 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese and stir till melted. Also, add 1 teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper and a dash of nutmeg.

Remove from heat and let cool.

In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks.

After the cheese sauce has cooled, add a little to the egg mixture to temper it. And then add it all back to the cheese sauce.

Put whatever ingredients you like in the tart crust: bacon, ham, cooked spinach, leeks, etc, tho I would limit myself to 2 ingredients, otherwise, it gets too crowded, and then add the cheesy egg sauce.

Bake at 375 for 32 -35 minutes.

Voila!

My sons swear my new version of doing quiche is Best Ever.

Connect over Quiche - that will be my TED talk.

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