Recent Posts

Sweet Potato Burritos

Sweet Potato Burritos

With such a simple list of ingredients, it’s surprising how addicting these sweet potato burritos are. The sweet potatoes, combined with almost-caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, cumin, oregano and chili powder, have that crave-worthy sweet and savory flavor profile. In fact, I find the pronounced flavor 

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Even though school is already back in session in Colorado, I can’t let the last weeks of summer slip by without sharing one of my favorite summer salad staples: caprese salad with balsamic reduction! Caprese is made with fresh mozzarella, juicy summer tomatoes, fresh basil 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This is the quick bread I make for breakfast almost once a week in the summer, when zucchini handouts are easy to come by (thank you, family and friends!) and we want something easy and sweet to munch on in the mornings. It also makes a wonderful snack. I’m sure you don’t need me to list all the ways you can blow through a loaf of this delicious double chocolate zucchini bread!  The best part about this recipe is that it makes two loaves, one for you and one to share with a neighbor. Or, freeze one and pull it out in a few weeks. 

sliced chocolate zucchini bread with butter

Full of two kinds of chocolate and lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, this recipe was given to me by my friend Mary when we lived in Oregon.  I’ve tweaked it over the years, reducing the amount of oil and sugar and swapping in whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour. Seriously, you would never know this is made entirely with whole wheat pastry flour, but this bread so much more nutritious than if it were made with all-purpose flour.  For me, that means I can justify chocolate zucchini bread as breakfast on an average Tuesday morning in our house.

What is the difference between whole wheat pastry flour and whole wheat flour?

Whole wheat pastry flour, also known as white whole-wheat flour, is ground from soft white wheat instead of the usual red wheat. It has a lower protein content than whole wheat flour so it’s well suited for pastries like biscuits, quick breads, pie crusts, cookies, pancakes, etc. It’s more nutrient dense than white flour because it hasn’t been refined to remove the bran and the germ but it still yields pastries with a desirable, tender texture. 

A note on loaf pan sizing…

This recipe calls for 2 – 8.5 by 4.5 loaf pans but you can also use a 9 by 5 size. You’ll just want to reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes and start checking at 45 minutes. If you’re not sure which size you have, pull out a ruler, and measure the broad, top portion to double check. This is important to get the time right!

4.5 by 9.5 size loaf pan
9 by 5 size loaf pan

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread – makes 2 loaves 

4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup plain yogurt
8 tablespoons butter
¼ cup avocado oil (or coconut or walnut oil)
1 ½ cup buttermilk
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)
1 cup chocolate chips

Prep

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle racks. Butter two 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pans.

shredded zucchini

2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy and the butter is visibly lighter in color. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.

creamed butter, sugar, and oil

3. Stir together dry ingredients with a whisk to make sure they’re fully combined, including the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 

dry ingredients for chocolate zucchini bread

4. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, yogurt, vanilla and zucchini. 

5. Stir in 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture, followed by ½ of the zucchini mixture, another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the remaining zucchini mixture, and finally, the last of the dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl between each addition. Try not to overmix. 

6. Gently stir in the chocolate chips (these are my favorite!).

Bake

7. Pour into prepared loaf pans as evenly as possible. Place on loaf on the upper-middle rack and the other on the lower-middle rack. Bake for 55-65 minutes, rotating loaves from bottom to top and top to bottom halfway through bake time.

8. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and removing to the cooling rack to cool completely. Slice with a serrated knife.

9. Store this bread at room temperature for 2-3 days or refrigerated for up to 5 days. It freezes beautifully. Just wrap it in foil and place in a re-sealable bag. Thaw at room temperature overnight or pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes to melt the chocolate chips. 

A few notes…

  1. For Muffins: Line a muffin tin (or 2!) with muffin liners or grease a muffin pan and fill a little more than 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes. Makes about 30 muffins.
whole sliced loaf of chocolate zucchini bread
slice of double chocolate zucchini bread with butter
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: Two kinds of chocolate + grated zucchini + nutmeg & cinnamon
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate zucchini bread, zucchini bread
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour aka white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil walnut or coconut oil also good
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini about 2 small zucchini

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle racks. Butter two 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pans.
  • Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy and the butter is visibly lighter in color. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
  • Stir together dry ingredients with a whisk to make sure they’re fully combined, including the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 
  • In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, yogurt, vanilla and zucchini. 
  • Stir in 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture, followed by ½ of the zucchini mixture, another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the remaining zucchini mixture, and finally, the last of the dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl between each addition. Try not to overmix. 
  • Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour into prepared loaf pans as evenly as possible. Place on loaf on the upper-middle rack and the other on the lower-middle rack. Bake for 55-65 minutes, rotating loaves from bottom to top and top to bottom halfway through bake time.
  • Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and removing to the cooling rack to cool completely. Slice with a serrated knife.
  • Store this bread at room temperature for 2-3 days or refrigerated for up to 5 days. It freezes beautifully. Just wrap it in foil and place in a re-sealable bag. Thaw at room temperature overnight or pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes to melt the chocolate chips. 

Notes

  1. For Muffins: Line a muffin tin (or 2!) with muffin liners or grease a muffin pan and fill a little more than 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes. Makes about 30 muffins.
  2. You can use 2-9X5 loaf pans instead. Just reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes. You’ll want to start checking them around 45 minutes. 
Fresh Peach Pie

Fresh Peach Pie

Last year, my mom probed me to dig through some of my Grandpa Norm’s old recipes to locate a peach pie recipe she remembered.  I didn’t remember eating it before, but with a counter full of ripe Palisade peaches, it seemed like a worthy endeavor.  I’m proud 

Spicy Banh Mi Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Spicy Banh Mi Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Grilled chicken and quinoa meet a colorful bunch of vegetables including radishes, cucumber, serrano peppers, carrots, green onions and avocado in this spicy and beautiful summer salad.  The dressing for this spicy Banh Mi chicken & quinoa salad is bright, slightly sweet and ever so fresh 

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

A classic, homemade margherita pizza topped with easy, blender tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes and lots of basil.

Friday nights have become a weekly pizza and movie night around here.  The tradition started with frozen Trader Joe’s pizzas interspersed with an occasional Friday night pizza pick-up, and a night “off” from cooking, but it’s morphed into all kinds of amazing homemade variations over the past 4 months, in trying to stretch our budget and our ability to make due with fewer trips around town.  I’m not ashamed to admit I now look forward to Fridays even more as we test different combos of homemade pizza, even though it’s no longer a night off.

Now that store-bought yeast is plentiful again and that challenge has been eliminated, the summertime heat presents a new hurdle for our weekly tradition: turning on the oven to its max temp when it’s 90 some degrees outside.  Enter this incredible grilled margarita pizza! (The oven still turns out a beautiful margherita pizza, so don’t shy away from this recipe if you’re not near a grill or not trying this pizza in the middle of summer.)

sliced and served Margherita pizza

With fresh basil now prolific, and tomatoes making their entrance into the season, we’ve fallen in love with this classic margarita pizza, adapted from Bonnie Ohara’s Bread Baking For Beginners. Here’s how to make it:

Make the dough:

Scale out your ingredients for more accuracy into four separate bowls, using small bowls for the salt and yeast, and larger bowls for the water and flour. Get the five-year-old to help and practice measuring with some big numbers! You’ll need 8 grams of instant or quick-rise yeast, 10 grams of salt, 375 grams of water (about 75 degrees warm, or warmer if your air temperature is cooler in your house…you want your dough temperature to be 76 degrees), and 500 grams of all-purpose flour. If you don’t have a scale, you’ll need about 2 ¼ t. instant yeast, 1 ½ t. salt, 3 ¾ cup flour, and 1 2/3 cup water. Since we’re in Colorado, we made some high altitude adjustments for the dough: reduce the yeast to 5 grams (1 1/2 t.) and increase the water to 400 grams (1 3/4 cup).

Pour the water into a large bowl and gently sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. You’ll start to see it activate as it swells. Let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the flour on top of the yeast & water, and lastly, add the salt.  Mix until well incorporated with a wooden spoon. It will be sticky. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Make the blender tomato sauce: 

Pulse 1-pound cherry tomatoes (or 1-14.5-ounce can of no salt added diced or crushed tomatoes) with a scant ¼ cup of good extra virgin olive oil until it’s to your desired consistency. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt. 

Fold the Dough:

With your hands, fold the dough over on itself 8-10 times, turning it around as you fold. It will be sticky and messy, but you want to develop the gluten some. Let that sit, covered with a kitchen towel, for 1½ hours. 

Check the dough:

If it’s grown considerably and looks bubbly and well risen, you’re ready. If not, give it another 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough at this point until you’re about 30 minutes from when you want to eat.

Prepare your grill:

Heat grill to at least 450 degrees or preheat your oven to 450 or hotter (lowest oven rack setting) and place your pizza stone in the grill or oven while it heats. Your stone should be on grill or in the oven at temp for at least 30 minutes.  

Shape your dough:

Working on a generously floured counter, divide dough in half and work with the first half. Shape into a ball with your hands and flatten on the counter, making sure it won’t stick to the counter while it rests. Shape the second half of the dough into a ball, and then gently flatten into a disc shape as well. Place a floured towel over the shaped discs to rest for 30 minutes while your grill/oven heats.

Flour a pizza peel or the back of a large cookie sheet.  Lift the first disc in your floured hands and spread it gently on the peel, making a bigger circle and forming a crust around the edge by dimpling around the outside with your fingers.  Pick up the dough and stretch it over your fists, alternating and letting gravity stretch it, being careful not to let it get too thin in the middle.  You want to stretch it to a diameter of about 12 inches before placing the dough onto the pizza peel. Give the dough a little shake on the peel to ensure it will slide off onto the grill easily. If it doesn’t move easily, lift the edges and add more flour underneath. 

Top your pizza:

Spoon the tomato sauce over the dough, followed by the fresh mozzarella, red pepper flakes, fresh basil leaves, and finally, a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse kosher or sea salt.

uncooked margherita pizza

Transfer to the grill:

Working quickly, slide your pizza onto the edge of the hot pizza stone on the grill or in the oven by giving it a little shake (a spatula can help guide the pizza).  Once the edge of the pizza is in line with the edge of the stone, pull the peel away quickly and your pizza should slide fully onto stone.

margherita pizza being transferred to grill

Grill/Bake your pizza:

Watch it closely. Ours took about 8-9 minutes, but it could take up to 16 minutes, depending on the heat intensity. 

sliced margherita pizza
sliced and served Margherita pizza
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Margherita Pizza

The perfect, pillowy crust + garden tomatoes & basil + fresh mozzarella. A delicious classic!
Prep Time2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 45 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: grilled margherita pizza, grilled pizza, homemade pizza, margherita pizza, pizza
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Dough

  • 8 grams instant or quick-rise yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 375 grams water 1 2/3 cup – about 75 degrees, or warmer if your kitchen is cool (you want your dough temperature to be 76 degrees
  • 500 grams all-purpose flour about 3 3/4 cups
  • 10 grams salt 1 1/2 teaspoons

Fresh Tomato Blender Pizza Sauce

  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes or 1-14.5 ounce can of no salt added diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil scant (a little less)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Pizza Toppings

  • fresh mozarella
  • sea salt to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves or to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste

Instructions

  • Scale out your ingredients for more accuracy into four separate bowls, using small bowls for the salt and yeast, and larger bowls for the water and flour.
  • Pour the water into a large bowl and gently sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. You’ll start to see it activate as it swells. Let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the flour on top of the yeast & water, and lastly, add the salt.  Mix until well incorporated with a wooden spoon. It will be sticky. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make your tomato sauce. Pulse 1-pound cherry tomatoes (or 1-14.5-ounce can of no salt added diced or crushed tomatoes) with your olive oil until it’s to your desired consistency. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt. 
  • With your hands, fold the dough over on itself 8-10 times, turning it around as you fold. It will be sticky and messy, but you want to develop the gluten some. Let that sit, covered with a kitchen towel, for 1½ hours. 
  • If it’s grown considerably and looks bubbly and well risen, you’re ready. If not, give it another 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough at this point until you’re about 30 minutes from when you want to eat.
  • Heat grill to at least 450 degrees or preheat your oven to 450 or hotter (lowest oven rack setting) and place your pizza stone in the grill or oven while it heats. Your stone should be on grill or in the oven at temp for at least 30 minutes.  
  • Working on a generously floured counter, divide dough in half and work with the first half. Shape into a ball with your hands and flatten on the counter, making sure it won’t stick to the counter while it rests. Shape the second half of the dough into a ball, and then gently flatten into a disc shape as well. Place a floured towel over the shaped discs to rest for 30 mins.
  • Flour a pizza peel or the back of a large cookie sheet.  Lift the first disc in your floured hands and spread it gently on the peel, making a bigger circle and forming a crust around the edge by dimpling around the outside with your fingers.  Pick up the dough and stretch it over your fists, alternating and letting gravity stretch it, being careful not to let it get too thin in the middle.  You want to stretch it to a diameter of about 12 inches before placing the dough onto the pizza peel. Give the dough a little shake on the peel to ensure it will slide off onto the grill easily. If it doesn’t move easily, lift the edges and add more flour underneath. 
  • Spoon the tomato sauce over the dough, followed by the fresh mozzarella, red pepper flakes, fresh basil leaves, and finally, a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt.
  • Working quickly, slide your pizza onto the edge of the hot pizza stone on the grill or in the oven by giving it a little shake (a spatula can help guide the pizza).  Once the edge of the pizza is in line with the edge of the stone, pull the peel away quickly and your pizza should slide fully onto stone.
  • Watch it closely. Ours took about 8-9 minutes, but it could take up to 16 minutes, depending on the heat intensity. 

Notes

  1. Recipe adapted from Bonnie Ohara’s Bread Baking for Beginners
  2. High altitude adjustments! Reduce the amount of yeast to 5 grams (about 1 1/2 teaspoon), and increase the water to 400 grams (about 1 3/4 cups).
Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie “Milkshakes”

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie “Milkshakes”

Banana peanut butter smoothie “milkshakes” are a staple in our house.  They’re full of protein with yogurt and peanut butter, have no added sugar thanks to the magical sweetness of a banana, and my kids think they’re drinking a milkshake. It’s the recipe I go to 

Blueberry Streusel Pie

Blueberry Streusel Pie

My favorite summertime pie, blueberry streusel pie, is probably also my favorite blueberry recipe. Fresh, summer blueberries cook down to a gorgeous purple, jammy confection, studded with a generous amount of cinnamon-sugar streusel and balanced by a buttery, flaky crust. Soooooo good!  My grandma Tina 

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Lemony quinoa salad with almonds and dried cherries is a wonderful make-ahead summer salad, perfect for backyard and picnic dinners alike. It’s best served at room temperature and packs well, which always makes things easy, plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan. The leftovers taste wonderful over a bed of lightly dressed mixed greens or spinach, and I’ll bet you will have no trouble finding plenty of convenient times to snack on this throughout the week if you want to be bold and make a double batch!

With the parks in our city reopening in the past week, it feels like a piece of summer has been restored! Consistently warm (hot even!) weather, coupled with a need to be outside, has changed things up in a good way around here. We’ve been taking picnic breakfasts, lunches and dinners to all sorts of parks around town, and even up into the foothills. As much as I love the usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich, there are times when that standard just doesn’t cut it. That’s where this lemony quinoa salad with almonds and dried cherries comes in. It’s filling and full of protein with almonds and quinoa, plus it gives off a summery vibe with the dried cherries and bright, lemony dressing. If quinoa isn’t your favorite, it’s also delicious with orzo or couscous. 

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries (Inspired by Weeknight by Williams-Sonoma) – serves 4

Ingredients:
2 lemons
4 T. olive oil
small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ t. ground cumin
¾ t. ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
3 cups water (can also use chicken broth, but reduce the salt)
1 t. salt
2 cups quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
¼ cup cilantro, minced
½ cup sliced almonds

  1. Toast the almonds in a stainless steel frying pan over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Grate the zest from the two lemons and squeeze the juice from both as well (should be about ¼ cup of juice).
  3. Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cumin and cinnamon and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, dried cherries and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until quinoa is cooked through. 
  4. Pour cooked quinoa into large bowl and fluff with a fork, while gently stirring in the cilantro and toasted almonds. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve warm or refrigerate until 1 hour before you plan to eat.
plated lemony almond and dried cherry quinoa
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Easy, make-ahead summer salad perfect for picnics and backyard dinners alike. Toasted almonds, dried cherries & lemon zest pair with cumin & cinnamon. So delicious!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: gluten free salad, picnic salad, quinoa salad, summer salad, vegan salad
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • small yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cherries chopped
  • 3 cups water (or sub. chicken broth but reduce salt)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups quinoa rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
  • 1/4 cup cilantro minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Toast the almonds in a stainless steel frying pan over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
  • Grate the zest from the two lemons and squeeze the juice from both as well (should be about ¼ cup of juice).
  • Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cumin and cinnamon and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, dried cherries and water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until quinoa is cooked through. 
  • Pour cooked quinoa into large bowl and fluff with a fork, while gently stirring in the cilantro and toasted almonds. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve warm or refrigerate until 1 hour before you plan to eat.

Notes

Recipe inspired by Weeknight by Williams-Sonoma
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes

Wondering what to make with all those ruby, ripe strawberries filling your garden or local farmer’s market?  Look no further than these decadent chocolate strawberry shortcake sundaes! Chocolate strawberry shortcake sundaes have all the components of the classic you love, but with a chocolate-y twist.  Buttery, not-too-sweet 

Chocolate-Coconut & Fig Popsicles

Chocolate-Coconut & Fig Popsicles

Time for some chocolate-coconut & fig popsicles. Summer break is officially here!  Consuming a few more popsicles in the heat of the afternoon just feels like a good idea all around.  After all, aren’t popsicles summer on a stick? June is my favorite month, hands down. Flowers 

Deep-Dish Spinach Quiche

Deep-Dish Spinach Quiche

Close up deep-dish spinach quiche

Three years ago, I tasted a deep-dish spinach quiche that has been beguiling me ever since.  It was found at a quaint little French bakery in Pacific Grove, California called Patisserie Bechler.  My husband and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  Thanks to my mother and father-in-law, we took the opportunity to revisit our honeymoon locale, play some golf, and also enjoy some kid-free conversation.  We discovered this little bakery near our hotel in Monterey on our first morning, and returned each day of our trip, four days in a row. 

It was so simple, as the best things often are.  The filling was rich, but also well balanced by the presence of spinach.  There was a faint flavor of cheese but it didn’t overpower the silky egg custard.  This quiche was quite thick.  The top was bronzed with a deep brown color, a French bake as Dorie Greenspan likes to call it. Lastly, the crust was perfect: a flaky, somewhat thin, buttery base to hold the rich spinach filling.  I’ve been dreaming of it ever since, and trying to recreate it’s magic.  I’ve tried several spinach quiches since then that have turned out too thin.  Others are just too full of spinach (perhaps trying to check the healthy category), so much so that the custard was lost completely.  In celebration of our anniversary this year, I set out to crack the code!

The crust: 

I like the flavor of an all-butter crust and know it’s possible to get a nice flaky texture with a brisee recipe I’ve used since taking pastry classes at the University of Richmond.  My recipe for an all-butter pie crust, brisee, can be found here.  The thing I’ve also struggled with is getting the look I want.  The crust always seems to slump on me in the oven.  For a long time, I just assumed it was the all-butter type making this happen.  I knew I needed to figure this part out first since a deep-dish quiche was sure to slump even more than my normal-depth quiches.  

My solution was to borrow a technique I found on Cook’s Illustrated for a deep-dish quiche lorraine. Cook’s Illustrated includes details on how to gently press pie weights into the corners of the pastry shell and also to completely fill the crust dough with weights.  Like, up-to-the-very-edge-of-the-crust fill!  I finally decided it was time to triple the amount of pie weights I usually use.  I used about 3 pounds of dried beans.  Like magic, no slumping!  I blind-baked the brisee twice, to ensure a crisp bottom, also suggested by Cook’s Illustrated.  Lastly, I discovered I needed more pastry to fill a deeper quiche. As such, I used 1.5 times my brisee recipe. 

The filling:

The Way to Cook by Julia Child outlines a basic formula for quiche filling.  For each egg used, she says, blend in enough liquid to reach the ½-cup mark.  For my deep-dish spinach quiche, I wanted to use 8 eggs.  Therefore, a quick calculation indicated I should have about 4 cups of liquid total, including the eggs.  I decided to use half cream and half milk for a rich, silky custard.  For a traditional French flavor, I used gruyere cheese. Not too much though!  For flavor, I used half a cup of thinly sliced shallots, slightly caramelized.  The last step was to decide how much spinach to use.  I landed on 16 ounces of spinach, enough to disperse throughout the filling but also let the custard shine. 

Here it is, my perfected deep-dish spinach quiche: 

All-butter Pie Dough (Pate Brisee) Ingredients:
(I scaled up my usual Brisee ratios to accommodate a deeper quiche filling)

12 ounces all-purpose flour
5 ¼ ounces unsalted butter (10.5 tablespoons), cut into small cubes
¾ t. salt
a few drops of lemon juice mixed with ice water to make ½ cup total liquid (may not need all of this depending on your humidity levels)

Filling Ingredients:

½ cup thinly sliced shallots
16 ounces spinach, blanched, well-drained and chopped
5 ounces (1 ¼ cup) gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs
1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg yolk (save the white too, for brushing the crust)

butter cubes in food processor
All-butter pie dough in food processor
all butter pie dough in cake pan

To make the pie dough:

  1. Add flour and ¾ t. salt to a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to combine.
  2. Add butter and pulse 5-6 times, until butter is starting to be incorporated and is about the size of peas.
  3. Slowly add lemon juice/water combination through pour spout while pulsing.  You want the dough to look a littledry but it should be wet enough to hold shape between two fingers when you press it.  You may not need all the water/lemon juice mixture!
  4. Dump slightly crumbly dough on a lightly-floured surface and push together slightly, until you can form a 6-inch disk.  Wrap tightly with plastic or silicon wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours or up to 24 hours, until firm.
  5. Remove dough from refrigerator and let it sit on the counter until it’s soft enough to roll out, but still cold.
  6. Cut two lengths of foil or parchment paper and place them into the bottom of 9-inch cake pan, crisscrossed, pushing into all corners and sides and overhanging the top slightly.  This will make it easy to remove quiche after it’s baked.
  7. Roll out the disc of dough on floured counter into circle, until just under ¼ inch thickness, and about 15-inches in diameter.
  8. Roll dough up around rolling pin loosely, and gently center it in cake pan.
  9. Press dough firmly into corners and up the sides of pan.  Trim dough around the top, with up to 1 inch of overhang.  Use extra dough to patch any holes or cracks. 
  10. Chill prepared cake pan in fridge for 30 minutes, and then freeze for another 20 minutes.
sautéed shallots
egg custard and fresh spinach

To Make the Filling and Blind-Bake the Crust:

  1. Place the oven rack in the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit. 
  2. With a fork, prick the bottom of the crust at ¼ inch intervals.
  3. Place the prepared, chilled crust on a rimmed baking sheet and line with foil before filling completely with pie weights.  Press the weights firmly into the corners of the crust and press the overhang of dough against the outside of the cake pan to ensure there is no slumping!
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until lightly golden brown around edges.
  5. Remove pie weights and foil or parchment and bake crust for another 15 minutes, until bottom is golden brown. 
  6. Remove crust from oven and brush interior with reserved egg white.
  7. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees farenheit. 
  8. While the crust is blind-baking, saute the shallots in the 2 T. of butter over medium-low heat until softened and slightly caramelized, 6-8 minutes. Add the blanched, chopped spinach and cook briefly, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  9. Whisk the 8 eggs plus the extra yolk in a large mixing bowl until foamy and well combined.
  10. Mix in the heavy cream.
  11. Whisk a small portion of the milk (about 3 T) with the cornstarch until completely smooth. Pour the cornstarch/milk mixture and the remaining milk into the eggs and heavy cream. 
  12. Add the ½ t. salt and the ¼ t. pepper, along with the grated nutmeg.
  13. Gently stir in the cooled shallot/spinach mixture as well as the gruyere. 
  14. Pour the filling into the chilled, prepared pie crust. Gently push down the vegetables and cheese into the custard in an attempt to remove any air bubbles and disperse filling evenly.
  15. Place the quiche back onto the rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 for 1 and ¼ hours up to 1 and ½ hours, until the top is deeply browned and puffed, and the eggs are fully set. 
  16. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 30-40 minutes.
  17. Gently pull tabs of foil out of the cake pan to remove the quiche. Carefully, slip foil out from under crust and slice into 8 servings. A serrated knife works best. Enjoy!
sliced deep-dish spinach quiche
close up of sliced deep dish spinach quiche
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Deep-Dish Spinach Quiche

perfect all butter-crust + silky custard filled with fresh spinach, gruyere & shallots
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Chill Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: French
Keyword: all-butter crust, breakfast, brunch, deep-dish quiche, deep-dish spinach quiche, quiche, spinach quiche
Servings: 8
Author: Lane Bakery

Ingredients

All Butter Pie Dough (Pate Brisee):

  • 12 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 10.5 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water mix a few drops of lemon juice into water for 1/2 cup total liquid (may not use all of this depending on your humidity levels!)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shallots thinly sliced
  • 16 ounces fresh spinach blanched, well-drained and chopped
  • 5 ounces gruyere cheese (1 1/4 cup), shredded
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper freshly ground prefferred
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg freshly ground preferred
  • 1 egg (separated) yolk for filling and white for brushing on crust

Instructions

To make the pie dough:

  • Add flour and ¾ t. salt to a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to combine. Add butter and pulse 5-6 times, until butter is starting to be incorporated and is about the size of peas.
  • Slowly add lemon juice/water combination through pour spout while pulsing.  You want the dough to look a little dry but it should be wet enough to hold shape between two fingers when you press it.  You may not need all the water/lemon juice mixture!
  • Dump slightly crumbly dough on a lightly-floured surface and push together slightly, until you can form a 6-inch disk.  Wrap tightly with plastic or silicon wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours or up to 24 hours, until firm.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and let it sit on the counter until it’s soft enough to roll out, but still cold.
  • Cut two lengths of foil or parchment paper and place them into the bottom of 9-inch cake pan, crisscrossed, pushing into all corners and sides and overhanging the top slightly.  This will make it easy to remove quiche after it’s baked.
  • Roll out the disc of dough on floured counter into circle, until just under ¼ inch thickness, and about 15-inches in diameter.
  • Roll dough up around rolling pin loosely, and gently center it in cake pan. Press dough firmly into corners and up the sides of pan.  Trim dough around the top, with up to 1 inch of overhang.  Use extra dough to patch any holes or cracks. 
  • Chill prepared cake pan in fridge for 30 minutes, and then freeze for another 20 minutes.

To Make the Filling and Blind-Bake the Crust:

  • Place the oven rack in the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit. 
  • With a fork, prick the bottom of the crust at ¼ inch intervals.
  • Place the prepared, chilled crust on a rimmed baking sheet and line with foil before filling completely with pie weights.  Press the weights firmly into the corners of the crust and press the overhang of dough against the outside of the cake pan to ensure there is no slumping!
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until lightly golden brown around edges.
  • Remove pie weights and foil or parchment and bake crust for another 15 minutes, until bottom is golden brown. 
  • Remove crust from oven and brush interior with reserved egg white and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees farenheit. 
  • While the crust is blind-baking, saute the shallots in the 2 T. of butter over medium-low heat until softened and slightly caramelized, 6-8 minutes. Add the blanched, chopped spinach and cook briefly, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk the 8 eggs plus the extra yolk in a large mixing bowl until foamy and well combined. Mix in the heavy cream.
  • Whisk a small portion of the milk (about 3 T) with the cornstarch until completely smooth. Pour the cornstarch/milk mixture and the remaining milk into the eggs and heavy cream. 
  • Add the ½ t. salt, the ¼ t. pepper, along with the grated nutmeg. Gently stir in the cooled shallot/spinach mixture as well as the gruyere. 
  • Pour the filling into the chilled, prepared pie crust. Gently push down the vegetables and cheese into the custard in an attempt to remove any air bubbles and disperse filling evenly.
  • Place the quiche back onto the rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 for 1 and ¼ hours up to 1 and ½ hours, until the top is deeply browned and puffed, and the eggs are fully set. 
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 30-40 minutes.
  • Gently pull tabs of foil out of the cake pan to remove the quiche. Carefully, slip foil out from under crust and slice into 8 servings. A serrated knife works best. Enjoy!