This recipe is adapted from the Lavender and Leek Quiche in The Herbal Palate Cookbook, by Maggie Oster and Sal Gilbertie (Storey Publishing, 1996). For a holiday brunch, serve it with a salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and artichoke hearts, and a plate of fresh grapes.
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- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
- 3/4 cup coarsely grated Gruyère, Emmenthaler, or low-fat Swiss cheese
- 1/3 stick unsalted butter
- 2 small leeks, washed well and sliced in quarter-inch coins (1-1/2 to 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon dried Herbs of Provence, or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 piece (4 ounces) plain chèvre (semisoft goat cheese)
- 1-1/2 cups light cream
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 4 to 5 extra-large eggs (to fill 1 cup)
- pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika
Instructions:Buy or make a piecrust to fit a quiche pan or a 9-inch glass pie plate, crimping the edges so they will hold the filling. Preheat oven to 425° F.
Gently press an 8-inch cake pan over the crust (to hold it in place during baking) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cake pan, sprinkle 1/4 cup of the grated cheese on the bottom of the crust, and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove crust from oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the herbs and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, reduce the heat slightly, and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, crumble up the chèvre. With a wire whisk, gradually pour in the cream and beat until smooth. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and beat into the chèvre mixture. Beat the eggs and add to the mixture, then add the cooled leeks.
Pour into the prepared shell, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup grated cheese and cayenne over the top. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If possible, let the quiche cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the turned-off oven to minimize surface cracking. Let it cool another 15 minutes at room temperature. Then cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate.
To serve: Let it warm to room temperature for about 30 minutes and serve. Or, if you prefer, after it reaches room temperature, reheat in a 350° F oven for 15 minutes.