Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tri-Color Sweet Pepper Quiche

Don't be scared by this recipe. Its not too hard and no one will think less of you if you want to use store bought pie crust :)

Tri-Color Sweet Pepper Quiche
From “Fresh Direct”

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium bell peppers, preferably one each of red, yellow and orange, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced into 1/8 inch wide strips
1/4 cup water
1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup grated cheese (your favorite “white cheese” provolone, Monterey Jack etc..)
1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives (optional)

Easy Tart Crust (Makes one 10 to 12 inch tart crust)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoon (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoon (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons water

1. Prebake the tart crust as directed in note and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the peppers and sauté over medium-high heat, string occasionally, until the peppers are well wilted but not browned, about 10 minutes.

4. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the wine and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until the peppers are soft but not browned, about 15 minutes more.

5. While the peppers cook, put the basil, Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a food processor or blender and purée as fine as possible. Set aside.

6. Whisk together the eggs and yolks in a bowl. Add the half-and-half, heavy cream and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and whisk to smooth.

7. To assemble the quiche, spread the basil purée across the bottom of the crust. Top with half of the provolone, then all the peppers. Dot the olives, if using, over the peppers. Spread the remaining provolone over the peppers and pour in the egg and cream mixture.

8. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges of the crust are very golden. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

Easy Tart Crust (Makes one 10 to 12 inch tart crust)

1. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cut in the butter and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Continue to pulse while adding the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough adheres to itself when pinched.

2. Gather the dough into a ball and set the ball on a sheet of plastic wrap. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and roll the dough into an 11 to 13 inch circle. Remove the top sheet and turn the dough into a 10 to 12 inch tart or pie pan, pushing gently into the corners and up the sides. Place in the refrigerator to chill before baking, up to overnight. If chilling overnight, remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Note: Prebaking the Crust for Quiches and Savory Pies

For quiches and savory pies that have a moist filling and short cooking time, the crust should be prebaked until golden so the pie turns out with a crispy, not soggy, bottom. To prebake a pie crust:

1. Have the rolled-out crust slightly chilled.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

3. With a fork, prick all across the bottom of the crust and bake until beginning to puff up on the bottom, about 12 minutes.

4. Gently prick the bottom again to allow steam to escape. If the sides are beginning to collapse, press them up with the fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes more, until the crust is golden on the bottom and around the edges.

5. Remove and continue with the recipe, either right away or after the crust has cooled a bit but not longer than 1 or 2 hours never chilled.

Note: The dough can also be mixed by hand. You will need slightly more water with this method.

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