Wednesday, October 17, 2007

over-the-top (irksome) quiche

quiche crust

Oh, hi. Did you miss me? Are you hoping for a new you’ve-got-to-make-this-omg recipe today? Well, I’m sorry, because apparently the flan was just the beginning of a string of cooking failures. It’s a shame because I was really excited about this one. First, it was quiche, and real women, you know, eat quiche. Second, it had two pounds of mushrooms in it, and I have a mushroom story (no, not that kind!) I have been meaning to tell you for a year, and this would have been my perfect chance to share it. Third, it was a Thomas Keller recipe, and although I may not be his number one fan, I hear that the man can really cook. Finally, it was called “over the top” and if there is one thing I can’t say no to, it’s a dish a simple as quiche made into something absurdly involved.

Okay, I was kidding on that last part. Or was I? As you can see, this cooking experience has left me all sorts of wobbly. The truth is that I knew it would be ten times fussier than your average dough + filling + bake = quiche but I was intrigued. The photo on Food & Wine looked so towering. Nobody would ever write a mocking tome about it.

slicing mushroomsmushroomsquiche crust twomushroom layer

But yet again, it was a dough that felled me. Or more specifically, the way it was supposed to be baked, which while we are on the topic, was ridiculous. Because this quiche was so big, Keller has you bake it in a springform instead of a tart pan. Fine, nothing too crazy yet, right? Well, keep reading: Keller has you do away with the springform’s base, placing it instead on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then brushing the inside of the ring, which you have left unclamped, with canola oil. Because you had nothing else to do with your evening than deconstruct and rebuild a baking dish. Evidently, I sure didn’t.

Because the original play-by-play of what went wrong with this quiche was so long-winded, even I dozed off reading it, I’ll try to keep this simple: I forgot to properly anchor the first crust I made to the outside of the springform ring, and the walls collapsed when I par-baked it. Then I took a deep breath and made a second dough (see: nothing else to do with my evening), this time anchoring the heck out of it, only to find that it instead broke in the oven, the overhang falling onto the baking sheet, and the interior walls floating down their mold, yet again. Out of ideas, I decided to fill this second shell as best as I could, only to learn that it had some mysterious leak somewhere, the pan flooded and the whole thing went in the trash. At this point, the first quiche shell was looking like my last hope, and with half of the remaining filling and custard, I managed at 10 p.m. to pull something out of the oven that was actually edible.

pate briseepate briseepate briseepate brisee

Did you hear that? Edible. I’ll even grant it “tasty.” And we’ll probably eat the leftovers, too. My god, after all that time and two crusts, we had better, or foist them on friends. But in the end, even with all structural concerns aside, it’s just okay. Good, not great. Save you energies for the mushroom and leek version I told you about in January.

Anyway, I could chin up about one disaster in a week, but when a second and third one strike in one night, I’m nearing my wit’s end. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, my friends, and that is what I made for dessert. I can’t wait to tell you about it tomorrow. It could cure anything. It almost did.

mushroom quiche arugula salad

Recipes: Thomas Keller’s Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche and Buttery Pastry Shell, for reference

Update 4/12/1: Guys, it only took four years, five months and 19 days but I finally conquered this quiche. I share the recipe with a ton of tips that I hope will make this task less daunting for the pastry-shy over here: Over-The-Top Mushroom Quiche

One year ago: Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons, Deb’s Apple Crisp/umble


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