Sometimes I really crave a mushroom quiche, topped with gruyere cheese and chives with a nice buttery flaky crust. When I think of flaky crust I also think about the effort required to make this flaky crust 😦
But it is worth it. Forget about buying a tube of frozen crust from the freezers at the supermarket. Those are pretty tasteless. It is worth all the effort and time to make the pastry crust from scratch.
I found a good recipe from simply recipes for the butter crust as well as the mushroom quiche. Making a pastry crust is similar to making scones in the sense that you need to have really cold butter and it has to be mixed into the flour quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. You’d have a bread-like texture if the butter is fully incorporated into the flour. Aim for tiny pieces of cold hard butter coated with the flour. Then and only then will you get the beautiful flaky crumbly texture that a well-made crust should have.
Pie Butter Crust (Pâte Brisée)
(I’m going to disclaim..because I’m lazy, I’m going to lift from the website itself but will add comments here and there)
Ingredients (for 1 pie crust)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if for a sweet recipe)
- 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water (keep a little more ice water at the side, just in case you need to add more)
1. Cut up a stick of butter into smallish (about 1/2-inch) cubes, and put it into the freezer. The colder the butter the better luck you’ll have with creating a flaky crust. Freeze the butter at least 15 minutes, better an hour or overnight.
2. Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas. (If you don’t have a food processor, you could manually cut the butter into the flour and use your hands to break up the butter and coat the butter pieces with flour continuously. Just make sure you keep the butter cold and hard. )
- Picture source: Simplyrecipes
3. Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. Try to keep the water to a minimum. Too much water will make your crust tough.
4. Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface. If you want an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique, called “fraisage”. Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky. Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disc. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter, speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing, what you are aiming for, in the dough. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (At this point you can freeze the dough disk for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
5. When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to take just enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
- 1 recipe pie dough
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 pound assorted mushrooms, quartered or sliced (I prefer brown mushrooms, sliced)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- Pinch nutmeg
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
1 On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit into a 10-by-1 1/2-inch round tart pan (with or without a removable bottom), pressing dough into corners. Transfer to freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
The pictures above are from simplyrecipe, while the ones below are my attempt at it. Please forgive the black beans, didn’t know what else to use 🙂
2 Preheat oven to 350°. Line pastry with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil, pressing into the corners and edges. Fill at least two-thirds with baking weights – dried beans, rice, or aluminum pie weights. Bake first for 15 minutes, remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Carefully remove parchment paper and weights. Poke the bottom of the pie pan with the tongs of a fork and return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly golden. (Fork holes are for any air to escape.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool while making filling.
Pictures above are from simply recipe, the one below is a picture I took of the cream and eggs mixture, with a bay leaf floating aimlessly on top :D.
3 Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots, and cook, stirring, until translucent but not brown, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms first release their liquid and then liquid evaporates and mushrooms are dark golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
4 Place tart pan on a baking sheet to catch any run-off there might be (especially if you are using a pan with a removable bottom.) Sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the bottom of the crust. Spread mushrooms over the cheese and then top with remaining cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, and eggs. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour over cheese. Transfer to oven, and bake until just set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Compare the quiche above by simplyrecipe, and the quiche I made below. The result was actually pretty delicious! Some of that egg mixture actually leaked out of the crust as there was still some mixture left and the tin couldn’t take any more… yet I still tried to pour all the cream in as a result of my not wanting to waste any of the cream and eggs!
Other than that little mishap, it was good! The crust was flaky and golden and the filling was creamy, custard-like and cheesy and oh so yummy! Top with a generous sprinkle of chopped chives and serve.