It’s A Keeper

A few garden vegetables continue to give me fits but not the leeks. No, not any longer do they challenge me. Starting them from seed a few years ago was challenging. Then my friend Pat gave me a bundle from her garden to plant and for some reason it’s been smooth sailing since.

Leeks went to seed last fall and are now self sowing here and there and I just transplant those wispy stray plants to a suitable location and leave them be. The slips given to me are Giant Musselburgh and they send up little side plants that can be transplanted. I have conflicting info about these plants actually doing this but mine do so, maybe they are a different variety??? It’s a puzzle.

I dug seven leeks this morning.

So I went to the garden yesterday to harvest some leeks for a Quiche. I ran across a recipe I remember writing down many decades ago but had never made. Now seemed the time to make it.

Aren’t these beautiful!

After trimming and washing the leeks on the potting bench outdoors they got a more thorough cleaning in the kitchen sink. Once they are chopped up you should give them a good rinse in a colander and let them drain well. They do tend to pick up a bit of sand and soil as they grow.

After the final rinse.

This is my original hand written recipe copied from a magazine, most likely in the late 70’s or 80’s.

You might notice I take a lot of shortcuts when copying a recipe. Sometimes that can be a problem…

Leeks sauteing in butter in my favorite cast iron skillet.

The pie plate collection. They aren’t much to look at but they each have a story.

The only recipe I use for pie crust – either savory or sweet – comes from the 1974 edition of Better Homes and Gardens cook Book and this is what it looks like ready to go in the oven.

I always pre-bake the pie crust when making a Quiche or a custard type pie. You know there are a LOT of ways and recipes for pie crust and many claim the only proper crust for a Quiche is made with butter but use what you like. I grew up using Crisco and it makes a fine pie crust. But I love using lard and we make our own from some well raised local hogs. If you are very careful with the making of that lard the best of it will give you pie crust to talk about, even for a fruit pie or a Quiche.

Here you see the partially baked crust with the sautéed leeks piled in.

The custard filling is poured in and the whole mess is topped with a bit of Swiss cheese to bake.

Fresh from the oven!

Lets talk about this recipe which has a lot of fat in it and what changes I made.

The crust: use a frozen crust if you want or your favorite pie dough recipe. Do pre-bake the crust for about ten minutes at 350 F to avoid a soggy bottom crust.

The leeks: I did not cook them in water! Instead they were sauteed in 3 tablespoons of butter for about 15 minutes on low to moderate heat. Stir them so they don’t burn. A little browning is fine.

The custard filling: I saw no need to use 1 1/2 cups of cream! My goodness! I did use 1 cup of whole milk and a half cup of cream. Next time I make this Quiche I will use 1 1/2 cups of milk and expect it will still be rich and delicious. Do scald the milk and let it cool before mixing with the eggs and seasoning.

The topping: surprisingly the 1/4 cup of grated Swiss was a perfect amount of cheese (that is about 1 ounce of cheese). About that 1 tablespoon of butter dotted on top – there doesn’t seem to be any reason to add more fat to the top of this pie with all that it already contains unless it is to brown the top. I left it off and will continue to do so. Not needed.

Baking: The Quiche was done in thirty minutes to my surprise. I owe that to the amount of eggs. There is a big difference between a scrambled egg pie and a Quiche! This one turned out a little “eggy” by my understanding of Quiche which is usually of a jiggly custard like consistency and quite delicate. A scrambled egg pie is more hearty and dense. This tended toward egg pie a bit. I think cutting back on the amount of cream (maybe none) OR using one less egg would do that. That will likely increase the bake time some also.

Eating of the quiche:! Oh my gosh we loved this pie! It was so delicately flavored and divine! If one can say rich and delicate it was every bit that. I served it with a garden fresh salad dressed with an herb vinaigrette and some fruit at the end of the meal. The next day’s leftovers were even better – cold with a hefty side of asparagus and some fruit.

Gene declared of this recipe, “It’s a keeper!”

Click here for the revised recipe.

In other go’ins on I made a batch of peach butter from the last of the frozen peaches and the leek stems went in the freezer to be added to the next batch of chicken stock.

What’s go’in on in your kitchen!


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6 Responses to It’s A Keeper

  1. Mary Badiny says:

    Sarah, you are amazing. I so love your blog and all the information you share about your love for gardening. The leeks look amazing!!! I have just discovered the joys of growing leeks also…they survived all winter under plastic wonderfully. I am going to order this variety…found it at Bakerscreek. I like the size. I tried the Lancelot they are not that big. The recipe sounds simply divine. I am going to try it. Thank you so much for sharing. Love it!

    • S says:

      Ah Mary you are wonderful! The photo doesn’t show it too well but they are about 2 1/2 inches wide, huge! And so delicious. We overwintered them here a zone south of you with no cover but several inches of chopped grass and pine mulch. I got mine from Pat H. Much luv 🙂

      • S says:

        P.S. I am awake thinking about leeks! I will start some additional seeds beginning of June to set in the ground by the end of August for harvest starting in December. With a little luck and a moderate fall they should harvest good through December. Then in the spring what small ones are still in the ground will bulk up nicely for spring harvest. That’s my plan anyway. Good luck with yours!

  2. rebelquilter says:

    This looks wonderful! I am curious about your reasoning for scalding the milk and cooling before adding. Why scald?

    • S says:

      Ohhh, good challenge to learn something where I really know nothing kind of thing. I do not know. Upon first inspection I see there may be no reason whatsoever. I’m gonna do a little research and see if there is a reason in this age of pasteurized milk. Thanks for looking in AND for asking Susan. I always expect you to have a deeper understanding of food science than me. My knowledge barely scratches the surface but I’m learning 🙂

  3. S says:

    Rebelquilter, pointed out to me that scalding milk might not be needed. And guess what? That is totally correct. Scalding milk is a holdover from the days when milk was fresh and you wanted to maximize food safety. So no more scalding for me then! You might want to set your measured amount of milk out on the counter to come to room temp as a very cold dose of milk will effect the bake time and outcome of the pie. Happy baking!

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