SPINACH & MUSHROOM CHEESE QUICHES
There is this festive air around,the energy so vibrant when you step out in the open,lots of laughter,bright colors in-spite of the freezing temperatures outside,kids hopping around,frantic last minute shoppers,endless traffic….still a merriment in the air.Growing up in a land which had a festival at the drop of a hat,Christmas or holiday season is something I look forward to here,since it fills me with that same warm feeling of laughter & joy,of hope & peace & love.Amidst all this mood I elbowed my way into the crowd,just to be soaked in that energy and somehow found myself standing in front of an aisle filled with ready made pie crusts….believe me when I say this energy always drags me to the food aisle first:)….so here I was staring at these neatly stacked Graham pie crusts both large & mini cups & checking them out to see if they were free of eggs as an ingredient.Lucky for me, they did not contain eggs(those who know me know my egg allergy stories)…so as I walked out of the store with these pie crusts in hand I had absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with them but was certain that I’d come up with something that made them look so cute & yummy…thus was born my own version of Spinach Mushroom Cheese Quiche.
Quiche pronounced “Keesh” is a savory open faced crust dish with a filling of savory custard of cheese, meat or vegetables.This is known as a classic French dish which orginated in Germany where “quiche” means cake.Since it was part of the party food I decided to make my own version of Quiche,for the Christmas party at my friends.
American Quiches are supposedly heavy, filling & rich.It really doesn’t have to be that way. Quiche was never meant as a deep-dish repository for too much cheese, a lot of chopped meat and assorted odd vegetables. A proper quiche (also known as a tarte salée, or savory open pie) should have really good pastry and contain a soft, tender eggy custard. It should be light enough to serve as a first course, or in larger portions for a simple main course. It should be something to sing about…..I read somewhere,so I decided to put my Quiche on a diet & go the French way….there ought to be a secret behind the fashion conscious French after all!!So here is my recipe with a twist, a touch of Indian to a blend of American and French Quiche.It sure was a big success in the party,it sure will be in your homes too.
Graham ready made mini crust packs-2( each pack contains 6 cups)
Mushrooms- a packet ( any kind)
Spinach- a bunch
Onions- 1 big
Oil- 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder- 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Dry basil leaves – a few
Dry thyme leaves- a few
Nutmeg powder-1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Cheese- 4-5 sheets( I used Craft singles, you can use any cheese depending on the sharpness you want for the quiche)
Bell pepper- 1 ( any color,thinly sliced) to decorate on top
1.Warm the oil & sprinkle the Cinnamon powder into it, when the aroma wafts through add the finely sliced Onion & saute it for a few minutes.
2.Now add the spinach which is washed & cleaned & saute it for a few minutes till the leaves wilt a little, now add in the finely chopped mushrooms to this & saute it for 5-10 minutes until all the water that extrudes out of the mushrooms is evaporated.
3.Now add the turmeric & chilli powder to the above & mix it well.
4.Remove from the heat , then add the basil & thyme leaves along with the nutmeg powder.
5.Let it cool, then transfer them to a blender & make a fine paste after adding cheese into the blender.(Some prefer to skip the blender part & directly layer the ingredients into the pie crust layering them with sprinkles of cheese,I preferred to blend it).
6.Now fill these into pre-baked pie crusts( I preferred to bake the empty pie crusts for 10 minutes before I put the blended mix in, to prevent sogging of the pie crust base once baking is done).
7.Preheat oven for 400 degrees for 10 minutes before transferring these filled pie crusts into the oven.Now place the baking sheet containing the pie crusts & let it bake for 20- 25 minutes,you can check in between with a tooth pick to see if its baked well because the toothpick would come out clean.
8.Once baking is done, move them to a cooling rack & serve when warm or cold.The spiciness will give that edge for the quiche irrespective of the temperature.
9.It can be served as a snack or as brunch & is an easy recipe to make.The crunchiness of the crust with the soft jelly like filling makes it yummy.
Note: The consistency of the filling is soft & jelly like but not runny when completely baked.The difference between blending the ingredients & adding them directly is one’s preference,& the baked product would be a lot lighter color on top unlike the blended mix.