I can be quite compulsive obsessive when it comes to cooking. This usually manifests itself through repeated (obsessive) preparation of a dish that I just “discovered”. When I was thirteen, I made crêpes every day for about a year and although I am nowhere near this bad these days, my husband could tell you some interesting stories… like about the time I discovered Jamie Oliver’s Piri Piri Chicken* and we had it every single night for a week and every single day the dish woud get spicier than the one I made the day before (*do buy this book, by the way, it’s fantastic). Fortunately, the husband has a good sense of humor about it and upon entering the house and smelling the Piri Piri or whatever was the obsession du jour, he’d say something like “You know, I’ve been craving this whole day long, actually, on my ride home I was just thinking how wonderful it would be to have some Piri Piri”. So by the time I got obsessed with quiches of all sorts, he already had his routine down and just silently braced himself for another tasty yet monotonous week. And after a while, something strange yet sweet happened, the intensity of my quiche obsession subsided but the husband still helpfully suggests, at least once a week, that I should make some quiche for dinner. Yup, that’s how tasty it is.
250g (1 cup) flour
½ tsp. salt
125g (4.4 oz.) butter
2-3 Tbs water
900g (2 lbs.) leeks (about four large leeks)
4 egg yolks
300ml (1¼ cups) heavy cream
75 g (2.6 oz.) butter
Making the dough is the same as for Quiche Lorraine: Sieve the flour and the salt into a bowl. Add the butter (you can replace half the butter with lard aka schmalz for a more savory taste). Rub the butter with your hands for a few minutes while mixing it with the flour till it forms sandlike crumbs. Add the water, mix and lightly knead into a flat ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Take the dough out of the fridge, roll out with a rolling pin till thin and place in a 22cm (9 inch) form. (I actually used a regular cake form which gave my quiche height and assured that no tasty dough would go to waste.) Pierce the dough with a fork all over the bottom and fill with ceramic pie weights (also charmingly known as the baking beans). Bake for about 10 minutes, remove the pie weights and bake for another 5-7 minutes till golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the crust bakes, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Cut the green part and the roots of the leeks off. Slice the white part lengthwise and then cut in 2cm (1 inch) slices. Leeks are notoriously dirty and tricky to wash. Fortunately my friend Martha Stewart provided me with some guidance on the topic back when I was making her potato leek soup. According to Martha, after trimming and cutting, leeks should be soaked in a bowl of cool water, lifted and soaked again in fresh water till no grit remains at the bottom of the bowl. So yeah, do that. Once cleaned, throw the leeks into your buttery saucepan, add some water and salt, cover with a lid and steam for about 30 minutes till soft. Take the lid off and fry a little longer to let some of the liquid evaporate. Cool down and distribute evenly on the crust. Mix the yolks, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and pour the mixture over the leeks. Bake for 30 minutes till golden brown and serve warm.
A quick hint: I always wonder what to do with leftover egg whites and after making this quiche, I have found the perfect answer – Coconut Macaroons, they are simple, quick and oh so tasty. In fact, they make life worth living.