When I decided to host a casual yet elegant weekend brunch for my book club, I knew immediately that the main dish would be a quiche. For me, quiche is the ultimate special brunch treat, combining flaky, buttery crust with a rich yet light egg custard studded with flavorful mix-ins — in this case, sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, fragrant basil and tangy bits of goat cheese. And while it seems like a lot of work, most of the prep can be done ahead of time, leaving you with plenty of time to get dressed and relax on the morning of the party.
If pie dough or custards scare you, fear not. Quiches aren't particularly difficult to make from scratch, just time-consuming, but if you break up the steps over the week leading up to the party, they are quite manageable. Here's my approach:
How To Make a Quiche in 15 Minutes a Day for 4 Days
Day 1: Make pie dough. Chill in refrigerator overnight.
Day 2: Roll pie dough. Freeze. (Can be done up to 3 months ahead.)
Day 3: Roast tomatoes. (I usually do this while I'm in the kitchen cooking something else.) Refrigerate.
Day 4: Blind bake crust. Make custard and prep filling ingredients. Assemble and bake quiche.
Obviously, if you have more time on any one of those days, you can combine steps. (You can chill the dough for an hour before rolling it out the same day, or roast the tomatoes the same day you assemble the quiche.) And blind baking the crust and the finished quiche take longer than 15 minutes, of course, but the actual active time of chopping, whisking and assembling do not. With this approach, a from-scratch quiche becomes a legitimate weeknight dinner option, or an impressive brunch main dish that doesn't require waking up in the middle of the night to start cooking.
This particular filling comes from my days as a personal chef, when I used to make two quiches a week for a client. As much as I love the bacon goodness of a quiche lorraine or the robust green flavor of a spinach quiche, the combination of bright roasted tomatoes, soft goat cheese and basil was always my favorite — and always resulted in the smoothest, most ethereal custard. (I know there must be some chemical reaction that explains this. An enzyme in the tomatoes? Food science geeks, any ideas?)
Whatever the reason, now that my contract-quiche-making days are over, this is the recipe I make for my own household. Or for wedding showers or weekend brunches, or any occasion that calls for a special, beautiful main dish to share with friends.
Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Quiche
Adapted from Apples & Onions, Serves 6-8
1 9-inch pie crust (I use Rose Levy Beranbaum's Basic Flaky Pie Crust)
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
1 3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup basil chiffonade
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
4 ounces goat cheese
Roll out pie crust and fit into a 10 x 1-inch quiche pan. Trim away overhang and reserve for patching any cracks during baking. Freeze crust for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 months ahead. (Wrap securely with plastic if freezing for longer than a few hours.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are puffy and lightly browned. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
Raise oven heat to 425°F. Remove crust from freezer and line with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights, beans or rice, pushing weights snugly against the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes and remove parchment and weights. If the crust has puffed up in spots, lightly press down with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the bottom crust is light golden brown. Lower oven heat to 375°F.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cream and 3/4 teaspoon salt until frothy. Mix in the basil and half the Parmesan cheese. Scatter half the tomatoes and half the goat cheese, crumbled, over the bottom of the quiche pan. Pour in the egg custard. (You may have a little custard left over, depending on how much the sides of your dough slumped during baking.) Scatter the remaining tomatoes and crumble the remaining goat cheese around the custard. Scatter the remaining Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the center is set, but still a little jiggly. If the crust starts to brown too much during baking, wrap foil around the edges of the pan to protect it. Let quiche cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
If quiche cools too much before your guests arrive, reheat in a 300°F oven until warm to the touch.