Julia Child's Spinach Quiche
Julia Child's spinach quiche is sinfully delicious! It is rich, full of flavor, and the perfect proportions. If you want, you can cut down the cooking time by buying a premade shell.
When making a quiche crust, you have two options: make it at home or buy it at the store. The store is convenient. Making it at home has a better flavor. Depending on the day, I could go either way on which crust I would use; however, if you decide to make your quiche crust at home, a couple of points are worth noting.
- The longer you can allow your dough to rest, the more flakiness and flavor you will achieve. I made this quiche a couple of times. Each time the result was good. However, I found that when I let the dough rest a couple of hours vs. a couple of days, there was a big difference in texture and flavor. Overall, I much preferred the dough that had rested for three days before baking.
- Making dough can take time and preparation. If you prefer homemade dough but do not always have time. I recommend making a double batch and freezing half. Dough wrapped and stored in air-tight containers can last up to three months in the freezer.
- If you have never made dough before and are nervous about it, don't be. As Julia said, "No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing." She is correct; you will only learn by doing. Get in there and start trying. The worst thing that will happen is your crust will be terrible, and you run to the store to buy a prepared one. All cooks have had to make that emergency run more times than they care to admit. True story!
I have an entire blog post dedicated to the perfect crust if you are new to making crusts. There are a few differences between my recipe and Julia's, but the technique is the same.
This spinach quiche filling is surprisingly simple to make. There are five basic steps:
- Whisk together 2 eggs and ⅔rds cup of cream. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a skillet, add diced shallots and saute.
- Cook spinach to remove any excess water.
- Combine the spinach and shallots. Then mix in the eggs, but do not cook. You do not want scrambled eggs
- Pour into a pie crust, top with butter and Swiss cheese, and bake
So amazingly simple!
Note about the spinach:
In the book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume I, Julia provides two spinach options: fresh or frozen. She mentions that frozen spinach has a lot of stems, in fact, more stems than fresh spinach. I am sure this was true in the '50s. However, that is not the case with today's frozen spinach. (I feel like I committed an American cooking sin going against Julia. Please forgive me. )
The preparation of the two types of spinach is very different. I followed the instructions both ways, and hands down, I preferred the frozen spinach. The fresh spinach option involved blanching, placing the spinach in cold water to preserve the color, and cooking. However, the frozen involved chopping it up and cooking it a little longer so the water could evaporate. The frozen was so much easier!
Finally, by cooking Julia's spinach quiche, I am reminded how the best food is often the most uncomplicated food. It is about good technique and not a lot of complex flavors. Please take a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make this. I would love to know how it turns out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should Spinach Be Cooked Before Adding To QuicheYes! Cook spinach to reduce the water content. I recommend using frozen spinach and cooking it first. It is so much easier to cook than fresh spinach.
What Is The Secret To Good Quiche? Good quiche is all about ingredient ratios. I cannot rave about this quiche enough; Julia Child's ratios are simple and absolute perfection!
How Do I Make A Quiche Without A Soggy Bottom? Partial blind baking the crust (sometimes called par-baking) is the best way to avoid a soggy bottom. This step is necessary for homemade and store-bought crusts.
Can I Use Milk Instead of Cream?I do not recommend swapping any of the ingredients, including heavy cream. The result will not be as good and possibly watery.
Julia Child's Spinach Quiche
- ▢ 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ▢ 1 teaspoon salt
- ▢ 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- ▢ 6 ounces butter, chilled and diced into 1/4 inch bits
- ▢ 4 tablespoons vegetable shorting, chilled
- ▢ 1/2 cup water, cold
- ▢ 3 large eggs
- ▢ 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- ▢ 1 1/4 cups spinach, either fresh and blanched or frozen
- ▢ 3 - 4 1/4 tablespoons butter * amount of butter will vary by fresh or frozen spinach
- ▢ 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- ▢ 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ▢ 1 pinch pepper
- ▢ 1 pinch nutmeg
- ▢ 1/4 cup grated swiss
- Combine: flour, salt, sugar, butter, and vegetable shortening into a large bowl. Using the tips of your fingers, combine the ingredients. The result should look like breadcrumbs.
- Blend: Slowly add the ice water to the mixture and form a dough ball. Divide the dough into two and shape it into a flattened circle. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 3 days. ½ cup water, cold
- Rolling: Place dough on a lightly floured surface and begin to roll it into a circle about ⅛ thick and two inches larger than your tart or pie pan. You will want to work quickly to keep the butter as cold as possible. Using your rolling pin, lift and place the dough into your tart or pie pan. Press the dough into place and then run your rolling pin over the top and remove excess dough. Using your thumbs, push the dough ⅛ of an inch above the edge of the pan. Take a dull knife and made a decorative edge. Then take a fork and prick the pastry all over, including the sides, at ½ inch intervals. Refrigerate if not baking right away.
- Partial Blind Bake: Preheat oven to 400f. Line the pastry with tin foil or parchment paper. Cover the edges of the pastry if possible. Fill the pastry with weights (dried beans, lentils, rice, or pastry weights). The goal here is to weigh down the pastry, so it does not rise. Bake for 8 - 9 minutes. Remove pastry from the oven and remove the weights. Make additional pricks into the dough with your fork and bake for 2 - 3 minutes more. When the shell starts to turn golden or shrink from the sides of the baking dish, remove it from the oven.
Filling and Baking
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 375f. Whisk together eggs, cream, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Set aside.
- If you are using fresh spinach - Start a pot of boiling water. While you are waiting, clean the spinach to ensure all dirt is removed and de-stem the spinach leaves. A handful at a time, place the spinach in the boiling water and cook for two minutes. Remove the spinach and run it under cold water. Then, squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible and cut the spinach into small pieces. Repeat until you have 1 ¼ cups of spinach.
- If you are using frozen spinach - Defrost the spinach just enough so that you can slice it by bearing it down with your knife. Melt an additional 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in a saucepan or skillet. Stir in the spinach, cover, and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove the cover and cook until all the water has evaporated about 3 minutes.
- Shallots: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add diced shallots and cook until done about 1 - 2 minutes.
- Combine and Bake: Combine all the ingredients away from heat (shallots, spinach, and egg mixture). Pour into the pastry shell sprinkle the top with swiss cheese and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake at 375 for 25 - 30 minutes. You will know the quiche is done when you can insert a knife and it comes out clean. ¼ cup grated swiss
- For additional information including tips and storage, please visit the Sinful Kitchen blog post at: https://sinfulkitchen.com/easy-spinach-quiche/