Spring Is the Perfect Time to Start Making Quiche Again
Dorie Greenspan shares her recipe for a bright asparagus-lemon quiche.
There’s something about baking quiche that makes me feel like I’m in a Nancy Meyers film. Rustic yet chic, comforting yet light, quiche is that treat at the boulangerie that tastes even better when it’s made from the rummages of your fridge.
And while it would be easy enough to turn to a classic cheese and bacon combo, spring has tempted us with its vibrant greens.
Seasoned baker Dorie Greenspan believes quiche is the kind of versatile recipe everyone should have in their back pocket. In her recent newsletter, xoxoDorie, Greenspan shared the Asparagus-Lemon Quiche recipe from her cookbook, Baking with Dorie.
“In every recipe that I possibly can, I like to add a touch of surprise,” she says. Here, the unexpected takes the form of lemon chunks and sour cream, which give the custard that little bit of zing.
But equally important are the in-season asparagus, which add an earthy, subtly sweet flavor. “When buying asparagus, you want to look for stalks that are smooth and firm—not wrinkled,” Greenspan says. And the tips should be tight. “Pretty as it is to see the tips kind of opening like a flower, that's not a young, fresh asparagus.”
Once you bring your asparagus home, you can test for freshness by breaking the lower woody section off with a snap, rather than a chop. “The asparagus will break at a natural point,” Greenspan says. “You don’t want wiggly, wobbly asparagus.”
As for the crust, you’ve got a few options, from pie crust to puff pastry. But Greenspan likes to opt for a pâte brisée, or tart dough, which is on the crisper side. Puff pastry, while nice and flaky, can feel too rich alongside the filling. “The custardy part is so creamy and wonderful, but it needs something to play against,” Greenspan explains. “I like when the crust is well-baked, so there's that contrast.”
And to achieve that hearty texture, Greenspan pre-bakes her quiche crust, using dried beans and rice to weigh it down. “It helps to avoid what the people on The Great British Bake Off call a soggy bottom,” she jokes.
Because quiche presents such an adaptable format, you can really have fun with the filling. To honor the season, you might want to add some peas, but if you don’t have time to run to the farmer’s market, pantry staples like chopped walnuts would make an excellent, textural addition.
Or play around with the herbs. “Something licorice-y like tarragon would be wonderful with asparagus or peas. Chives are great, too,” Greenspan explains. “If you think of the quiche almost as a salad, you can get creative about what you might want to add."
“If you think of the quiche almost as a salad, you can get creative about what you might want to add."
And when it comes to serving your custardy creation, it’s best alongside some leafy greens, a ton of herbs, and a simple olive oil-lemon dressing. Not only will this pairing be oh-so-French, but it will also allow the tart to be the shining star.
This quiche is best enjoyed day-of, but if you happen to have some leftovers, don’t be afraid to eat a slice cold—Greenspan actually prefers it this way. “When it’s chilled, the custard firms and you don’t get quite so much play, but it still holds more flavor than it would if reheated.”
It’s this no-fuss nature that makes quiche perfect for enjoying in warm temperatures. “Now that the weather’s getting nice, it’s a great dish for outdoor parties. It’s good for brunch. And it even makes a nice, light supper,” she says. “Bring back the quiche!”
Asparagus-Lemon Quiche Recipe
Yield: 6 servings
- One 9- to 9 ½ -inch tart shell, homemade or store bought, partially baked and cooled
- 6 stalks asparagus (see above), trimmed
- 1½ teaspoons unsalted butter
- 2 small shallots or 1 small onion, finely minced
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One ¼ -inch-thick slice lemon (including rind), cut into slivers
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) sour cream
- ¼ cup (10 grams) minced mixed fresh herbs (see above)
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan (optional)
- Olive oil for brushing (optional)
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400°F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
2. Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil. Drop in the asparagus and blanch for 3 minutes—blanch for just 90 seconds if you’ve got pencil asparagus (the asparagus shouldn’t be completely cooked), then drain in a colander, run under cold water and pat dry.
3. Cut off the asparagus tips—make them about 3 inches long. If your asparagus are thick, slice them lengthwise in half. Cut the remaining stalks on the bias into slices about ¼- 1to ½-inch wide. Wipe out the skillet.
4. Put the skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When it’s melted, toss in the shallots or onion and cook, stirring, just until softened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and scrape into the crust, spreading them evenly. Scatter over the lemon and sliced asparagus stalks.
5. Whisk the eggs, cream, sour cream and herbs together in a bowl just until blended. Season with salt (about ¼ teaspoon) and pepper, then pour the mixture into the crust. Arrange the asparagus tips (cut side down if you’ve halved them) any way you’d like on top of the filling.
6. Bake the quiche for 25-30 minutes, sprinkling on the Parm, if using, after it has been in the oven for 20 minutes. The quiche is done when the custard is set—a tester will come out clean—and puffed. Transfer to a rack and if you like, brush some olive oil over the top, using only enough to give it a gloss.
7. Serve the quiche when it’s just warm or has come to room temperature.