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!


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