Adorned with a flaky whole wheat and olive oil crust, this is quiche that looks like pie. Goat cheese, amid spinach sautéed with onion and fresh herbs, and rich custard poured over, it might be a savory flan. But there’s pastry on top of the filling, so I’m calling it upside-down quiche. Delicious spinach and goat cheese upside down quiche.
Real men don’t eat quiche. Yeah, right. Where did that come from? Men, women, grownups, children, and in-be-tweens love this quiche that looks like a pie. Serve it for brunch. Or a light afternoon lunch. Last night I ate 2 wedges, cold, for dinner.
Because it gets cold enough at night here in the mountains, spinach is abundant clear into July. I’m always mixing the nutritious green and leafy from our Ranui CSA box into eggs–spinach and eggs go so well together, and custards are easy to make.
All you do is cook up onions and garlic, throw in some chopped herbs, whatever is on hand, and wilt in the spinach. You rub a bit of oil in the bottom of a pan and spread the seasoned spinach around. Next sprinkle on some sort of cheese. Finally whisk eggs and milk or cream, and pour over the spinach and cheese. And bake. Ta-dah!
You can cook the mixture stove top, in a skillet—and call it frittata. If the savory combo is baked in a pastry shell, you’ve got quiche. When the crust goes on top, it’s upside down quiche—which looks like pie.
About the milk or cream. There are enough eggs and cheese in this recipe to set the custard—the choice of liquid is yours. Almond, soy and rice milk work. So do dairy milk and half and half cream.
Last Saturday, at the Salt Lake Downtown Farmer’s Market, the man at the Winder Dairy booth handed me a pint of heavy cream. I couldn’t let that beautiful cream go to waste. Guess what I made? Spinach and goat cheese upside down quiche!
The beauty of this wholesome whole wheat crust is you don’t have to worry about rolling it perfectly or getting into the pan with grace. Cut the rolled pastry into wedges and arrange on top. The custard seeps through, molding everything together. The dough comes together in 5 minutes and you can roll it out immediately—another bonus.
This recipe is an adaptation of Deborah Madison’s Spinach and Goat Cheese Pie in The Greens Cookbook. Another variation, but without crust, is this recipe for custard with feta cheese, almond milk, spinach and fresh herbs.
I’m grateful for the cool nighttime temperatures here in the mountains. I can heat up the oven to bake quiche and the house will be cool the next morning. What are you grateful for today?
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This filling is a basic vegetable custard recipe. Feel free to substitute any greens, such as chard or kale, and your choice of herbs. The crust is a winner with rustic olive oil and whole wheat flavors, and just enough saltiness to keep you wanting another bite, and another.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped, about ¾ cup
- 1 garlic clove, minced or ¾ cup chopped garlic scapes (see note)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 8 ounces spinach, stems removed, and leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon Real Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk or cream (see note)
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- ¾ teaspoon Real Salt
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and scapes, if using, and cook for a few minute, until the onion is translucent. If you are using fresh garlic, let the onion cook several minutes before stirring in the garlic. Stir in the chopped herbs. (see note)
- Add as much of the spinach as the skillet will hold, stir a minute until it wilts and then add the rest, adding and wilting until it is all wilted. Season with the 1/8 teaspoon of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 10-inch quiche mold.
- Distribute the spinach mixture over the bottom of the mold. Sprinkle with about half the cheese.
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Whisk in the other half of the cheese. Stir in the milk and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and the cayenne.
- Pour over the spinach and cheese.
- Make the crust:
- Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.
- Stir the flour and salt together in a bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk the oil and water until it is thick and creamy. Pour over the flour, all at once. Mix with your fingers until blended, and then form into a flattened ball.
- Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or waxed paper to about 1/8-inch thick. Gently remove the top paper. Cut into rough wedges. Arrange on top of custard.
- Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until the custard is set and beginning to show brown color on top.
- Serve warm, after letting the custard rest 5 minutes. The quiche is also delicious at room temperature or cold.
- If it is early season, and they are available, use garlic scapes.
- Use fresh herbs of your choice--from your garden, or herbs you find in your CSA box or at the Farmer’s Market.
- You can use dairy milk or half and half cream or heavy cream. Almond, soy and rice milk are fine as well.