Monday, January 13, 2020
Mini-quiches for the lunchbox
I bought a recipe book last summer, in the hopes it would give me ideas for what to put in my son’s lunchbox, but I think the more I use it, the more I realize I probably should have just left it on the shelf. It did have a recipe for mini-quiches, but the quantities for the filling were way off (2 eggs for 12 muffin-sized quiches? really!?!) and the crust diameter for each quiche was much too small (getting baked egg out of a muffin tin is a fruitless endeavor; even if you succeed, the coating of the tin will come off with it, so nobody wins). I liked the idea, though, so I then tried this crustless version made with cottage cheese and flour, which calls for parchment paper liners in the muffin pan – a lifesaver! Unfortunately, the Little Prince didn’t like these, though the Fox and I did.
I decided to google a good recipe and ended up with this one from Culinary Hill. The recipe makes 24 muffin-sized mini-quiches, which is perfect for me because I can make one batch and have enough to feed both kids for a few days AND put some in the freezer for another time. (To reheat frozen mini-quiches, bake for 5-10 minutes at 400 °F, or microwave for 2 minutes.) You can also serve them for breakfast or brunch, obviously, and they are highly customizable depending on your tastes and what you have on hand. I made a quiche Lorraine version, which was *very* well received by everyone.
The thing I want to warn you about is this: in order to bake these in standard muffin tins without ruining said tins, you need to cut rounds of dough that are AT LEAST 3 5/16th of an inch in diameter – DO NOT go any smaller! You could even go up to 4 inches. This means that you get fewer than the recipe called for – I got about 10 rounds from each pie crust, whereas the recipe called for 12 rounds sized 3” each. This leaves you with two options: a) use 3 pie crusts (storebought or homemade), or b) supplement with, or use exclusively, parchment paper muffin liners. The latter can take almost twice as much filling as the crusts, but in my case, they were done baking at the same time, so it was perfect. (Starting with 2 pie crusts, I made 21 rounds of dough that were 3 5/16th inch in diameter and then used 3 parchment paper liners, for a total of 24 mini-quiches.)
12 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup lactose-free milk
salt and pepper, to taste
3 pie crusts, thawed (see note above)
8 oz. diced cooked ham
8 oz. shredded lactose-free cheddar cheese (or swiss)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Place the oven rack on the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 °F. Grease two muffin tins.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
Unroll one pie crust. With a 3 5/16th inch biscuit cutter (or larger), cut as many rounds of dough as you can (reroll leftover dough to cut more). I got about 10 from each pie crust with the smaller size. Repeat with the other pie crust. Press each small round of dough into the indentations of the prepared muffin tins. If you do not have 24 small rounds of dough, use parchment paper liners for the rest. (This should only happen if you have 2 crusts instead of 3.)
Place 1 tablespoon each of ham and cheese into each crust. Divide scallions evenly among the muffin cups. Pour egg mixture evenly over all 24 cups, filling to within ¼-inch of the top of the crust (do be careful not to go over, and keep this in mind as you transfer your muffin tin to the oven as well – no spilling!).
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. (You can always remove one mini-quiche to check that the crust is cooked completely on the bottom.) Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.