Pancetta, Leek and Onion Quiche

So, quiche. My mom was always fond of it growing up, and I could never figure out why — the wedges she got out at restaurants didn’t seem very appealing, dense and full of heavy eggs and cheese. I started making my own when I was in high school, and that was better, but the recipe I had still made a rather weighty dish. (That one was sausage and cheddar, nary a vegetable in sight — this one may not have much veg, but it’s got more than that.) I cycled through several recipes (including Alton Brown’s!) before and after moving, and the one I’ve finally settled on — the one that makes a brilliantly-textured custard, shockingly light considering its ingredients — has a rather unusual ingredient list. The rest of the fillings are negotiable, of course; adding blanched asparagus or chopped broccoli helps in the greenery department. Or, you know, serve with a salad.

Ideally, you’ll make your own crust. I don’t have a food processor (not entirely necessary, but helpful) or a flat surface big enough to roll dough (necessary; damn you, ceramic tile counter), so I used a store-bought one. I seem to have better luck with the refrigerated ones in a small box that I pan myself.

The roommates both enjoy this a good deal. One enjoys pretty much any quiche, though, so I suppose he’s not a good reference.

Pancetta, Leek and Onion Quiche, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 pie crust, thawed, panned, and chilled
1/2 lb. pancetta, cubed
2 large leeks
1 medium onion
3/4 c. grated Swiss/Gruyere blend
1/2 c. plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sour cream
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch white pepper
pinch nutmeg

Brown the pancetta over medium heat. While it’s browning, slice the white and light green parts of the leeks thinly and wash them, and chop the onion. Remove the pancetta from the pan, leaving the fat behind, and set to drain (pro tip: wrap it in paper towels and foil to soak up extra fat and keep your greedy cook’s fingers out of it). In the fat left in the pan, caramelize the leeks and onion: that is, cook them over low heat for a long time until they’re lovely and brown and sweet. Stir a lot so they don’t burn.

Set the oven to 350F when the onions and leeks are getting near done. When they’re as brown as you’d like, mix the pancetta into them and set them aside to cool.

Whisk the heavy cream, sour cream and eggs together to form a smooth custard. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk again.

Retrieve your pie crust from the fridge. Layer in the leek/onion/pancetta mixture, then the cheese. Pour the custard on top. Set it on a pie pan and bake until pleasantly golden brown — I’ve had mine take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It will get puffy. Remove it from the oven and let it cool and fall. Serve in wedges with salad.

Obligatory panned Pacquiche:

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~ by iliadawry on 10 September 2012.

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