I’ve never been much of an egg person, which I realize sets me apart from most people. I’m already unable to be a true foodie since I don’t eat red meat, but the egg thing means I don’t even have a go-to egg casserole recipe (and makes it really hard to eat anything besides
mimosas pastries and/or fruit at brunch). Up until recently I assumed my egg aversion equaled a quiche aversion, but when served a slice at a plated luncheon last summer I was forced to try a little bite, lest I risk revealing my unsophisticated palate to the room. And guess what? It turns out eggs, when mixed with cream and cheese and veggies, and baked in a deliciously buttery crust, aren’t so bad.
This leek and swiss chard tart recipe is incredibly easy – due in large part to the store-bought tart shell, but the veggies and custard aren’t at all difficult. Deb (from Smitten Kitchen) of course made her own crust, but I used store-bought per the instructions and it was just fine. I used an all-butter puff pastry (get a step above Pepperidge Farm if available), and the only thing I would do differently next time is to parbake the crust before adding the filling – the crust wasn’t soggy without par-baking, per se, but it wasn’t crisp.
To parbake, place the crust in your tart pan (or quiche pan, or pie pan), poke holes in the crust with a fork, line the pan with buttered or oiled foil, fill with pie weights or dried beans or rice, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Then remove the pie weights and foil and bake the crust for 5-10 minutes more, until lightly browned. Remove from oven, add the filling, and then bake for 30 minutes as instructed. That’s what I’ll do going forward and I think it will help – but if you’re crunched for time, it’s not a necessary step. You could also make your own crust, like Deb, but who has that kind of time? Using a store-bought crust (or pre-made homemade, if you’re really on top of things), this could be an easy weeknight dinner. (Full disclosure: I actually think homemade crust can make a big difference, but when the recipe calls for store bought puff pastry I have no problem following those instructions. And I’ve never pre-made crusts and then stored them in my freezer…but maybe someday).
You can make a similar tart or quiche with any type of filling you like, but I think now is the perfect time to make this recipe, with the chard still in the markets as winter draws to an end, but the leeks representing the beginning of spring produce (I realize you can find leeks year round, but they seem springy to me). And with Easter coming up, and wedding shower/baby shower season about to kick into high gear, it’s a great dish to add to your repertoire.
On a related note, does anyone know the difference between a tart and a quiche? This recipe is technically a tart (per the name), but it seems a lot like a quiche to me, so I did a little google research. In case you’re interested, a tart is “an open pastry case containing a filling” (or “a promiscuous woman,” incidentally), whereas a quiche is “a tart with a savory filling thickened with eggs.” So, I guess technically this is both a tart and a quiche. Hopefully that clears up any confusion.
If anyone has a favorite tart and/or quiche recipe, I would love to hear it. I bought some mini tart pans today and I’m pretty excited to make some non-quiche (egg free!) tarts, preferebly fruit filled. You know the kind with the glaze, in the pastry cases at French bakeries (and Whole Foods)? Bring on shower season!