Many years ago, when I was just starting to cook in my first tiny kitchen, I made a quiche. This was before the wave of quiche mania swept across the US in the late '70s. This wave was so ubiquitous that there was even a book called "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche". (Heh, to which a friend of mine replied that REAL men ate whatever they pleased...)
But I digress. I made a quiche. I made this quiche for a dinner to which I had invited a guy that I had a huge crush on. (or, to be gramatic-y, on whom I had a huge crush). I made a Quiche Lorraine, because at that time this was the only quiche I had ever heard of (or of which I had ever heard) I'm sorry, this morning I can't seem to banish my evil twin, Battleaxe Grammatica. Perhaps because I'm reading a wonderful book, "Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue" by John McWhorter. If you're a wordie as well as a foodie, I recomment it highly. 'Course, if you're a wordie, you probably already have it.
Anyway, back to the quiche. My friend was very impressed by the quiche. I mean, imagine (if you can) that you'd never had one, and you will understand. He was even more impressed a few months later when the quiche craze was in full swing. He was convinced that I had started it. Do I have to say that I let him believe that?
In the intervening years, quiche has become such a cliché for brunches and ladies' lunches that we don't make it that often anymore. When I came across this recipe in The Avoca Cafe Cookbook, I knew I had to try it. This is not your grandmother's quiche. (ok, unless you're French, your grandmother probably didn't make much quiche, but you know what I mean) The first thing that I noticed is that it doesn't have a crust. Instead, it uses phyllo. What an interesting idea! Next, it has blue cheese instead of the traditional gruyère. And dried cranberries for tangy counterpoint to the blue cheese. and PECANS, my favorite nut. I HAD to try it.
I changed it, of course. I added leeks and rocket. I didn't have phyllo, and I didn't want to buy a big roll of it when I only needed a couple of sheets. Instead I used 'brick', which I'd never seen before I came here. Brick is like phyllo, but not as parchment-like. It's more like a super-thin crepe. It's also stronger than phyllo, but more porous. It's used here to make aumonières, little pouches filled with great stuff. Come to think of it, this recipe would make some awesome aumonières... If you don't have brick, you can of course use phyllo. Or puff pastry, baked as in this recipe.
I had high expectations for these, and they were exceeded. These were delicious. The flavors mixed together extremely well, and it wasn't too eggy as some quiches can be. I'd serve these to company. Heck, I'd serve these to the queen. They were simply splendid. You must make them. Now. Go.
Blue Cheese, Cranberry and Pecan Lunch Quiches
adapted from The Avoca Cafe Cookbook
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup rocket
8 pecan halves
2 sheets Brick
4 Tablespoons cream
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons blue cheese
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180 C / 375 F
- Clean the leek and chop it coarsely. Sauté it gently in the olive oil. You want to 'sweat' it, not brown it.
- Chop the rocket coarsely. The pecan halves too.
- Brush the sheets of Brick with melted butter and cut each one into four pieces. Line four muffin tins with two pieces each. You'll have to push them down a little, because the brick will try to pop back up. They'll behave better when you get them full.
- Mix the eggs and the cream, salt and pepper to taste. Remember, though, that the blue cheese can have a lot of salt in it, depending on which one you choose.
- Assemble the quiches: in each of the lined muffin tins, place some leek, some rocket, some cranberries, some blue cheese and some pecan pieces. Pour the egg mixture carefully over it all.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Serves 4 as an appetizer and 2 as a main course.
- I used Roquefort in these, because I really like blue cheese. You can use something milder, of course. A mild Gorgonzola or a Danish Blue would also be good here.
- If you're using phyllo, cut it to the right size (about ¼ of a big sheet), butter it and use three of four pieces to line each muffin tin. You'll bake it a little bit longer, I think – probably 25 minutes or so to brown the phyllo. Keep an eye on it.
- This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
'Nother note: My big project is still kicking my you-know-what (rhymes with that). I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, so I'm hoping to be back on a more regular basis soon. I can't wait to see what you've been up to! Thanks for sticking with me through this.