Monthly Archives: April 2014
I adore anything made in a tart pan: sweet or savory. Hands down, the most used piece of baking equipment used in my kitchen is my tart pan. Quiche is a popular option. It’s a great way to use up leftover bits in the fridge. A pastry shell filled with bite-sized vegetables or chopped meat covered in a custard filling with a little cheese on top, and you’ve got an ever-changing series of options.
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is the Quiche Maraîchère. A Google translation of Maraîchère says it means truck farmer, so we’re talking about a filling that honors farmer’s market style freshness. Not much is growing outside in my neck of the woods quite yet, but the filling for this quiche relies on vegetables that are at least readily available at the grocery store all year long: celery, carrots, leeks, and red pepper. I’m inspired to rename this Confetti Quiche based on the vibrant assortment of colors combined for this recipe.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again. I’m not a big fan of Dorie’s Pate Brisee. My go-to recipe is Mark Bittman’s though for this quiche, I tried out Maria Speck’s Whole Wheat Butter Pastry Crust (without the sugar) from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals or on-line here. The crust was a little chewy, but much better than other whole-wheat or spelt crusts I’ve tried. I don’t think I used quite enough water so overworked it, making it a bit tough. It is a crust I will try again.
As with Dorie’s other quiches, this one has a lower custard to filling ratio which I find quite pleasing (meaning, LOTS of filling bound together with just enough eggs and cream). The only complaint I had with the quiche maraîchère recipe is that, though we were encouraged to add as much custard as would possibly fill the crust without overflowing, the quantity I mixed up per the recipe didn’t even come close to the top of the crust. I could have perhaps doubled the custard to fill it up.
It didn’t really matter though. The end results was a feast for the eyes with all those great colors and for the belly too. We both really enjoyed this version of quiche. With a tossed salad, it made a light, but satisfying, dinner. Leftovers were good for lunch too.
Carrots and celery were vegetables I’d never thought to add to a quiche, so I’m glad to discover how well they worked. I will be making, if not this exact combination, certainly other versions that include these vegetable bin staples.
You can see what the other Doristas thought of this week’s quiche by following their links posted here. You can find the recipe online here, and, of course, it’s from Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table, a book you won’t be sorry to add to your collection.
Who wants cake? On deck this week for French Fridays with Dorie is a simple buttery cake called Visitandine, named after the order of French nuns who created this recipe.
I’ll admit, I had near tragedy with this one. I decided to halve the recipe and make two small cakes in 4-inch springform pans. All seemed to be going well. I browned the butter. I mixed the butter with the dry ingredients. It wasn’t as thick or hopeless as Dorie indicated it might be. I beat the egg whites until they were stiff. I folded the egg whites into the batter. I filled the cake pans. I put them in the oven. Then, I went down to the basement to move some laundry around.
I came upstairs to find a burning smell. I turned on the oven light and looked in the little window. The oven was filled with smoke. Uh-oh. I immediately turned off the oven and opened it up to retrieve my little cakes. I also opened a window and turned on the fans. The source of the smoke was a puddle of butter that had leaked from the pan onto the oven floor. I hadn’t thought to put the cake pans on a baking sheet.
I was so disappointed. The cakes seemed to have such possibilities! They were partially baked, but not all the way. I hated to throw them out, so I just stashed in the fridge overnight while I figured out what to do.
Overnight, I was weighing my options. Do I bake the saved cakes through and see what happens or do I start over? As I was reviewing the recipe in my head, I realized why the pans might have leaked. I halved the recipe EXCEPT for the butter. That probably explains why it mixed together more easily than expected. With that much butter, it might also explain why it exuberantly oozed out of the pan.
In the morning, I cleaned the bottom of the oven and decided to try just baking what I had. If it failed, I could start over. It worked!
The cake was light though rich-tasting (must be that extra butter). I’ll have to try it with the proper amount of butter, but this is just the sort of cake I enjoy. It reminded me of the financiers, and also an almond-browned butter cake I’ve been making when I have extra egg whites.
Howard wasn’t interested in this one, so I ate some cake plain (delicious) and also cake with rhubarb compote spooned over it (also delicious, but not very attractive). I still have one more cake to enjoy. I’ll be making Howard some chocolate pudding with the extra egg yolks, so he won’t feel left out.
If you missed it on Facebook or Instagram, here’s a photo of Mardi and I enjoying a fantastic meal at Coppa, a tiny enoteca (wine bar) in the South End neighborhood of Boston. We had a great time meeting though we missed the rest of you. Here’s to more Dorista meetups in the future.