It seems that I haven’t written about food in a while – time to catch up! I made this quiche twice this season, and served the second on Easter. But I will be making it again… and again… through the summer. I’ve always been fond of making quiches, pies, tortes, and tarts, because who can resist a buttery crust. I was very happy to learn this new way to make a pie crust that defied the rigorous steps of all other recipes, including Julia Child’s adaptation from the French.
The recipe comes from my dear step-mother-in-law, Patti, who is a wonderful baker with LOTS of experience making pies. I’ve tweaked the recipe to include spelt flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour, and have a user-friendly way of rolling the dough. For the filling, I decided to go traditional with eggs, gruyere and heavy cream, but used the abundant rainbow swiss chard from our garden and a ton of caramelized onions. It was hearty, savory and creamy at once.
Making the quiche was also a great way to break in our new Jenn-Air range. My old Maytag had been on the fritz for quite some time; my last attempt to bake scones involved turning off and on the broiler to maintain temperature, resulting in more-or-less melted dough. I went to Kiva pretty much the next day to consider my options. Out of all the ones I’ve specified in kitchens for other people, I’ve heard rave reviews about the KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Bertazzoni, Viking, Dacor and DCS. I decided to pick from one of these lines, and my absolute max budget including install was $3000.
The first decision to make is between a professional or standard range. Professional is distinguished by a BTU output (Viking does 18,500 BTU), knobs instead of touch-panel screen, and freestanding from the adjacent cabinets. When I considered how I like to cook, one thing baffles me about the professional ranges is the lack of temperature indicator and timer for the oven. I live and die by the timer /temperature beep and oven clock to keep things moving efficiently in the kitchen, and I was not keen on finding a new timer to set on a shelf somewhere. The only exception I’ve seen is this Wolf range, which incorporates a temperature reading into the knob and a pop-out control panel (but way over my price range).
The other thing about the pro ranges is they lack the drawer below the oven. In our small (80 sf) kitchen, that drawer is essential for bakeware storage. Finally, the fire output of these pro ranges would take some adjustment after our 9,000 BTU Maytag. I love to cook, but I don’t love feeling the flame on my wrists.
Now the choice was between the Jenn-Air and KitchenAid, since both are available with pro-handles (that nice straight bar). Both have continuous burner grates, which is essential to keep pans from tilting and convenient for moving things off flame. The Jenn-Air grate design was a little better, with a third, center grate about 7″ wide – this makes lifting three components easier than two heavier grates, as in the KitchenAid. I liked the ergonomic feel of the KitchenAid knobs, but the JennAir knobs just looked cool. Two points for Jenn-Air.
The ultimate decision came down to the design of the ovens. Both had a convection feature, which pushes hot air around the oven and cooks things more evenly. I keep a pizza stone in the oven on the bottom level, but the KitchenAid has some sort of cover plate at the bottom, making that impossible. Ultimately I decided that the Jenn-Air was the winner. And here it is!
Our new range was delivered and installed to great effect. My only gripe is that the beep has a grating sound… but maybe I’m just so used to the Maytag’s tone. The cooking power is the most important thing, and I’m really loving it so far. I also spent about $2700 including install, so I feel like it was a great improvement for the cost.
1 cup King Arthur white flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick SOFT butter
1. Sift 3/4 cup white flour, all of the spelt flour, and salt together in a large bowl.
2. Throw in soft butter and ‘fork it in’… meaning, start mashing the butter around until you have flour and butter coming together in a large crumbs. This takes 3-5 minutes.
3. Mix remaining 1/4 flour with 3 tbsp room temperature water to make a paste. Mix this into the butter / flour to make a fine dough.
4. Roll dough with you hands into a ball, wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes to firm up. Remove and flatten dough, then place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Roll dough with skinny rolling pin to a thin 14″ round circle.
5. Lay dough over glass pie dish so that the edges overhang a little. Cut the dough 1/4″ beyond the pie dish so that when it shrinks it doesn’t fall into the form.
6. Create a pretty edge detail with a fork, and poke several holes in the bottom. The crust is ready to be filled (note: do not pre-bake!)
Rainbow Chard and Gruyere filling:
1 bunch swiss chard, washed and de-stemmed
1 1/2 red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup whipping cream
1. Bring a large shallow pan of water to boil – add swiss chard and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and chop fine on a cutting board.
2. In the same pan, melt butter and olive oil. Add onions and sautee over low-medium heat for 15 minutes. If they are singing, cover the pan and let steam a bit.
3. Preheat oven to 350.
3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs together with salt & pepper. Add cheese, cream, nutmeg and chopped chard. Pour into quiche crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just browned on the top.