Pink flowers extend across our open windows. My feet rest on a sun-warmed patch of floor as the light slowly stretches across the room. M. Ward is crooning from our record player and the quiches are cooling on the counter. Scents of fresh air and sunshine and slow cooked onions float through the apartment.
And just like that, it's Saturday again.
Caramelized Onion and Asparagus Mini-Quiches
Melissa Clark taught me how to make quiche. I’ve used her recipe from In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite as inspiration for many a quiche/tart. She created her recipe after being inspired by Julia Child who, in turn, was undoubtedly inspired by someone else, and so on. I just love that about cooking. Typically, I like to make this recipe in mini-tart pans because they make for great lunches and easy leftovers. This recipe will easily translate into one 9-inch quiche if you prefer.
favorite pie dough
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and very cold
2 cups all purpose flour, chilled
Pinch of salt
100 ml ice cold water
for the filling
3/4 cup grated good quality sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 small bundle of asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
First, prepare your pie crust. (Do ahead! Crust can be made the night before and should sit in fridge for at least an hour before baking.) The most important thing to remember with this dough is that it should remain as cold as possible. I like to cube my butter first, then let it sit in the fridge for a bit longer before I start making the dough. I also like to measure out my flour into a bowl and let that sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes until both the flour and bowl are chilled. Once your ingredients are cold- combine the butter, flour, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times then let it run for another 15-20 seconds until the mixture resembles course gravel. Pour the dough into your chilled bowl and make a well with your hands in the center. Pour in 1/2 of the water and gently mix it into the dough until it is fully incorporated. Add a little more of the water bit by bit, again mixing with your hands in between additions, until the dough just begins to come together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until the dough comes together in a cohesive ball. Split dough into two discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably two, until ready to use.
When you are ready to make the quiches, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and set aside. Carefully roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface so that it is about 2/8 inch thick. Cut out 4 circles with about an 8 inch diameter and press each into a 4-inch mini tart pan, letting a bit of the dough hang off the sides to allow for any shrinkage that might occur. Line the dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place tart pans on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil/pie weights and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the crusts are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each crust evenly with the cheddar. Return baking sheet with crusts to the oven and bake for another 10-13 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and very well browned (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Whisk together the eggs and cream until well combined and season with salt/pepper. When the crust is lightly browned and the cheese is melted, divide the caramelized onion across each pan. Top with an even amount of asparagus and carefully pour in the egg mixture. Return to the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top of each quiche is puffed and golden and the middle is set.
Allow the quiches to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from pans and serve warm with fresh greens on the side.