I most likely haven't mentioned it (probably because it's mildly embarrassing), but once of the reasons I began LoVBites was because I was inspired by the movie Julie and Julia. Now, I never had the intention of cooking my way through Julia Child's masterpieces, but I did think it would be fun to document my adventures in the kitchen. Hopefully, I've succeeded and at least one or two of you out there agree :)
Somewhere along the line, I may have divulged this sort-of secret to Stephanie, because I opened my birthday present last month to find two books authored by Julia herself: Mastering the Art of French Cooking and My Life in France. It's really a shame that these books weren't already in my collection, but leave it to Steph to help me fill out my library. With Easter just a couple weeks away at that point, I knew I have to sift through Julia's encyclopedic-sized collection and find the perfect brunch recipe. Leek Quiche, or Flamiche - Quiche Aux Poireaux, seemed like just the one.
I have to confess to one thing before we move on ... because Julia seems to rival Paula Deen in her love of butter, I made a few adjustments to this recipe. I've provided Julia's measurements alongside mine in case you are braver than I am and want to attempt the recipe in all of its full-fat glory. Your quiche might be more delicious than mine, but know that mine was also scrumptious and a bit less guilt inducing.
Leek Quiche (Flamiche - Quiche Aux Poireaux)
|Our entire Easter spread.|
For the Pastry Dough
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or for Julia, 1 1/2 sticks chilled and cut into 1/2-inch "bits")
2 tablespoons shortening (or for Julia, 4 tablespoons chilled)
(A scant) 1/2 cup ice water (plus droplets more as needed)
For the Filling
1 lb. white of leeks, sliced (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream (or for Julia, 1 1/2 cups)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or for Julia, Swiss)
(for Julia, 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pea-sized dots)
Measure dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Add butter pieces and shortening. Flick the machine on and off 4 or 5 times. Turn the machine on and add the scant 1/2 cup water. Immediately flick the machine on and off several times, and the dough should begin to mass on the blade. If not, "dribble" (I love Julia's very proper culinary terminology) in a little more water and repeat, repeating again if necessary. Dough is done when it has begun to mass, but do not over mix it. Scrape dough onto floured work surface and proceed to the fraisage.
The fraisage is a final blending by hand. With the heel of one hand (not the palm, which is too warm), rapidly press the pastry by two spoonful bits down on the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6 inches.
Gather the dough again into a mass, knead it briefly into a fairly smooth round ball. Sprinkle lightly with flour and wrap it in waxed paper (or plastic wrap ... because really, who used waxed paper anymore?). Freeze 1 hour or refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, roll the dough out quickly (its high butter content will make it difficult to handle if you're too slow). Lightly flour the dough and roll it into a 9-inch round (Julia goes on at length about the rolling technique, but I think you can figure it out). Butter your pie dish (or spray it with cooking spray, like I did) and gently lay your dough in the dish. Press the dough lightly into the bottom and up sides of the dish. Trim off excess, then use your thumbs to make an even rim around the top of the dish. Prick bottom of pastry with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals.
|Lola was very curious about what I served for Easter brunch.|
In the meantime, you can stew the leeks. Add leeks, water, salt, and butter to a heavy bottomed, covered saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat and stew gently 20 to 30 minutes until leeks are very tender.
Beat eggs, cream, and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in leeks. Pour into partially-cooked pastry shell. Sprinkle with cheese (and butter, if you're using Julia's recipe). Bake in upper third of oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed and browned (and center appears to be set). (Julia didn't tell me to, but I protected the crust with foil to keep it from over-browning. I highly recommend you do the same.)
Allow to cool for several minutes before cutting and serving.
By the way, this was extremely time consuming, but the end result was worth it. I may only attempt Julia's other recipes for special occasions, but I'm super proud to have accomplished at least one!