You may think of dessert when you think of baking. But there are plenty of ways to incorporate the food preparation method into your meal planning. And if you need some tasty ideas, baker Erin Jeanne McDowell, who hosts Food52’s “Bake It Up a Notch,” has you covered.
McDowell’s “Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Everything in Between” arrives Tuesday. And her “Wee Quiches” are as cute as they look – the perfect food for serving guests at a dinner party or gathering.
While McDowell isn’t new to writing cookbooks (she’s published two others: “The Book on Pie” and “The Fearless Baker”), her latest offers cooking ideas for any time of the day.
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The book focuses on savory dishes, but for readers and chefs with an affinity for sugar, there are “foodie breaks” throughout the text. The book also aims to help home bakers with tips and basic technique lessons throughout.
Publisher Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, shared McDowell’s recipe for “Wee Quiches” (plus the crust needed to make them) from The Last Baker with USA TODAY.
Excerpted from Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Everything in Between © 2022 by Erin Jeanne McDowell. Photography © 2022 by Mark Weinberg. Reproduced with permission from Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Makes: 12 mini quiches
While the word mini can sometimes mean difficult, mini quiches are simple to make. Because they’re small, you can get away with not baking the crust like I would a full size quiche. They are perfect for parties since they can be served warm or at room temperature. My versatile combination of tomatoes, scallions and cheddar cheese can be replaced with any combination of vegetables, meat or cheese you like. When serving a very large group, I prepare several platters, each with a different filling. Looking for an even smaller treat (two bites)? Try the Extra-Wee Quiches below.
- 2 recipes Shortcrust Pastry, prepared in double batches, formed into a 1-inch-thick disc, wrapped and chilled (Can be made ahead *see Shortcrust Pastry recipe below)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 3/4 cup grated firm cheese, such as cheddar, asiago or gruyere
- Very lightly grease a 12 muffin pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick; don’t worry about the exact dimensions of the dough, just try to keep it roughly rectangular and focus more on the thickness. Use a 3 and 1/4 inch round cookie cutter to cut 12 rounds from the dough. (You can press the pieces of dough together and re-roll them to cut out more rounds if needed.)
- Place a circle of dough in each of the cavities of the prepared pan and press the dough firmly onto the base and sides of the cups. Transfer the mold to the refrigerator and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle; place a baking steel or pizza stone on the rack, if you have one (this will ensure a crispier bottom crust when not cooked).
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, cream, milk, salt and pepper until well blended. If you have a large liquid measuring cup or similar container with a pour spout, transfer the custard into it.
- Take the muffin tin out of the fridge. Spread the green onions, tomatoes and cheese evenly over the crusts. Carefully pour the pastry cream over the vegetables/cheese, filling the crusts almost to the top.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the edges of the crusts are deeply browned and the cream is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around the edges of each quiche and gently remove them from the pan. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Makes: 1 nine-inch crust
Shortcrust pastry, a classic French pastry dough, is easy to prepare and always tender and flaky. I often recommend it as a great starting point for anyone who has struggled with pie crust in the past. Although you can mix the batter by hand, the food processor handles it quickly. It’s the best crust when I want to go from zero to pie as quickly as possible. The result is versatile enough for many pie preparations, and it works wonders for decorating work, too.
- 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
1. In the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse flour. Pour the water over the flour and pulse to incorporate, stopping before the dough comes together into a ball. If the dough is dry or crumbly, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until it comes together.
2. Turn the dough over, form a disc and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 days) before using.
3. This dough is best baked at 400°F. Pre-bake, blind bake or fill and bake as directed.
Prepare in advance and store:
The tightly wrapped disc of dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Wrapped in plastic film then aluminum foil, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use.