This recipe was inspired by my semester abroad in France, when everyday for lunch, I would walk to the pastry shop near my university and treat myself to a warm individual quiche fromage — a delicious little habit that quickly cost me all my skinny jeans. Almost 20 years later, it is still my favorite quiche: the leeks impart a mellow, almost sweet onion flavor, while the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream make the custard wonderfully rich.
You could make your own crust, but I use a store bought crust to save time and it comes out great. The secret to success, whether you make the crust yourself or use pre-made, is to pre-bake it so it won’t be soggy.
All that’s left is simply cooking the leeks, spreading them on top of the crust, topping it all with an easy-to-mix custard and baking it in the oven.
It’s perfect for entertaining because you can make the whole thing a day ahead and reheat it when you’re ready to serve.
Who needs those skinny jeans anyway?!
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Servings: One 9-inch quiche
- 1 frozen 9-inch pie shell (best quality, such as Wholly Wholesome brand from Whole Foods)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup finely chopped leeks, white and light green parts only, from 1-2 leeks
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1-1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the pie shell from the freezer and thaw it until just soft enough to easily prick with a fork (10-20 minutes). Prick the bottom and sides all over with a fork and bake on the center rack until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
- Melt the butter in small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Do not brown. Taste and adjust seasoning (they should be well-seasoned). Set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, eggs, thyme, nutmeg, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
- Spread the cooked leeks over the pre-baked pie shell, taking care not to puncture the crust (it may be fragile around rim, or where there are air bubbles). Pour the egg mixture over top. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until the custard is set but still moist. Serve hot or warm.
- Notes: Be sure to clean the leeks well, especially between leaves where there can be a lot of grit. If your crust cracks during pre-baking, patch it lightly with a paste of flour and water before adding the filling, otherwise it will leak.