They say that real men don’t eat quiche. But would real men eat not-so-real quiche instead? I don’t know; I made this pair of not-so-real quiches for a party celebrating the engagement of a lovely girlfriend of mine, where only women attended. I can say with certainty that real women eat not-real quiches when that not-real component speaks specifically to its crust.
Perhaps the only defining aspect of a quiche–as opposed to an omelet, soufflé, frittata, or tortilla espagnola–is that it’s framed with a buttery pastry crust. Yes, the eggs should be beaten ’til light and airy, enriched with some dairy, and more often than not, studded with additions like vegetables, cheese and bacon. But I didn’t use pastry for the crust. Instead, I used bacon or vegetables to line its dish with and bake until browned and crisp, like a crust.
You get a carb-free, gluten-free, flavorful result and skip the chore of cutting butter into flour, rolling out the dough, and crimping the edge. I am not opposed to the latter tasks–I love making pies!–but when I arrived at an engagement party that I was assigned to make two quiches for less than thirty minutes before it began, armed with only with a bagful of groceries I’d bought at the Greenmarket on my bike ride over, I was pretty glad I wouldn’t be crimping any crusts.
- You get a carb-free, gluten-free, flavorful result and skip the chore of cutting butter into flour, rolling out the dough, and crimping the edge. I am not opposed to the latter tasks–I love making pies!–but when I arrived at an engagement party that I was assigned to make two quiches for less than thirty minutes before it began, armed with only with a bagful of groceries I’d bought at the Greenmarket on my bike ride over, I was pretty glad I wouldn’t be crimping any crusts.
- Meanwhile, more market finds needed to be prepared for the quiches. Some broccoli was chopped raw, to toss into a creamy batter of eggs and creme fraiche. A bunch of rainbow chard was chopped, sauteed and cooled down before folding into another batter, with some crumbled cheese. Caramelized onions would have been nice with either, but that task takes some serious time. So I skipped it.
- The broccoli filling went with the bacon crust; the Swiss chard filling with the zucchini crust. More cheese was sprinkled on their tops and into the oven this pair of hopeful quiches-without-a-real-crust went.
- And out they came. I wasn’t sure if there was anyone who was gluten-free at this engagement party, but I knew there would be some vegetarians, some meat and bacon-lovers, and some who were either/or depending on the day. So the duo would satisfy either persuasion, and/or. But did the eggs cook through in such time that the bacon or zucchini would get crispy but not burnt? Apparently so. The edges did need some prodding with a spatula before they could break cleanly from their mold, but no more than any cakes baked in those pans would. But can you make this in a regular pie pan rather than a spring-form cake pan? I have no idea! I played it safe because I knew these metal, spring-form pans were thinner than my ceramic or Pyrex pie pans, and hence would brown the edges of its contents more easily. Also, because they spring apart and allow the final cake (or quiche) to be presented on a platter nicely, with a browned crust. Also, because I liked the idea of a taller, thicker quiche rather than a flatter disc of eggs with mostly pastry crust.
- So give it a try, if you don’t have these spring-form cake pans, and do share your results. I would love to hear. But if you’re running off to a party, or just need to think of something quick to make your quiche-making work even more quick, try these tried-and-tested recipes out. Real quiche can wait for another day (or for the menfolk? Or especially not?). Because these women, at least, appreciated some not-so quiche for what that’s worth. And to me, that’s worth pretty much everything. Here’s our beautiful bride-to-be, Jennie.
- No-Pastry Quiche with Broccoli, Cheddar & A Bacon Crust
- (makes one 9-inch quiche, about 8 servings)
- 1/2 lb sliced bacon (about 12 slices that are about 1 – 1/2″ thick)
- 1/2 lb broccoli crowns, finely chopped (yielding about 2 cups)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche, sour cream, cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (to coat the pan)