Spinach & Feta Mini Quiches

Instead of using the time blocked off during finals week for one of my classes to take a final exam, my instructor opted to have a class pot luck instead. I’ll take a pot luck over a final any day! I happened to have some basic pie dough, aka 3-2-1 pie dough, that I made a little while back just hanging out in the freezer, and so decided to make mini quiches. 3-2-1 pie dough is very simple to make and easy to remember. It’s 3 parts all purpose flour, 2 parts butter, and 1 part water (plus a bit of salt) – by weight, not volume. I’ll add pictures when I make a new batch. You can use any type of pie filling with it.

Basic Pie Dough

Yield: 6 lbs of pie dough. I use it for all sorts of stuff and it freezes well, so I’m not really sure how many 8- or 9-inch pies or mini pies it’s good for. If you’ve got a standard Kitchen Aid mixer, I recommend cutting this recipe in half.

3 lbs All Purpose Flour

2 lbs Cold butter, cubed

1 lbs Ice cold water (16 fl oz)

1 oz salt

Step 1. Combine the flour and cold butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Periodically stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on low speed until butter is pea-sized. Don’t over do it – you want those little chunkies of butter in there. They’ll become the thin layers of fat dispersed throughout the dough that’ll give you a flaky crust.

Step 2. In the meantime, dissolve the salt into the cold water as best you can so you don’t get little grains of salt in the dough. Add salt water all at once to the flour and butter and mix on low until just combined. Periodically stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. You’ll want to keep an eye on it as it doesn’t take very long. It’ll look like a wet, shaggy, lumpy mess – but that’s perfect, just turn off the mixer and call it done! Over-mixing will promote gluten formation, resulting in a tough crust.

Step 3. Move the dough onto a floured surface and flatten out. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes to an hour before using. As the dough rests, the starches in the flour will get a chance to absorb all the water and that shaggy, lumpy dough will smooth out, with the exception of the chunks of butter. For long term storage, divide up into 6 pieces and wrap well in plastic wrap and store in freezer. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

Custard

Enough for 40 quiches in a mini muffin pan

1 egg

4 fl oz half & half or heavy cream

pinch nutmeg, salt, and pepper

Step 1. Beat eggs with a whisk and then add in the cream or half and half. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and whisk together.

To make the mini quiches

Step 1. roll out the dough to about 1/8″. I have these bands that fit onto my rolling pin help a lot to get a even thickness on the pie dough. Using a round cutter, cut into 2.5-3″ rounds, and press into mini muffin pan cavities.

Step 2. After letting it rest for about half an hour or so, dock with a fork and blind bake  it at 350 degF until it was just starting to get a little brown, about 10-15 minutes. Blind baking is to bake the shell with no filling – in theory pie weights should be used here to keep the dough flat instead of puffing up weirdly because of steam, but I don’t have the patience to do it for this many cavities.

Step 3. Now that the crust was ready and cooling down, I contemplated the filling. I opted to do a spinach and feta quiche filling. I had been thinking about making spanakopita to use up some leftover phyllo dough from the party earlier in the week and figured I could turn the leftover quiche filling into spanakopita. You can use whatever filling combination you’d like – it takes just a scant 1/2 tsp of filling per mini quiche. Pour the custard over the filling, and bake for 30-35 minutes at 325 degF, or until the crust is golden brown and the custard is just set.

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