This version of spinach quiche, baked in individual portions in a muffin tin or pop-up pan, is perfect for a Sunday brunch get-together.
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter
4 to 6 tablespoons (2 to 3 ounces) milk or cream (half and half, light, heavy, or whipping)
1 medium onion (about 5 ounces), peeled and diced (1 to 1 1/4 cups)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter or vegetable oil
1 cup (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of thyme
1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 large eggs, whisked till mildly frothy
1 cup (5 3/4 ounces) cooked, chopped spinach (10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly wrung dry)
1 cup (4 ounces) grated cheese: Swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or your choice
1/3 cup (1 3/4 ounces) pine nuts, optional
To make the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then work the butter into the dry ingredients (using your fingers, a pastry blender or fork, a mixer, or food processor) till the dough is unevenly crumbly. Sprinkle in up to 6 tablespoons of water (or more, if necessary), continuing to mix till the dough is cohesive. Grab a handful; if it holds together willingly, and doesn’t seem at all dry or crumbly, you’ve added enough liquid.
Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a rough oval, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Allow it to warm a bit and become flexible, 15 to 30 minutes. Flour your work surface, and roll one piece of the dough into a 6" x 8" rectangle. Cut into a dozen 2" squares. Put one square in the bottom of each of the 12 wells of a square popup pan or square muffin pan. Alternatively, cut circles and put in the bottom of a standard muffin pan. Prick each piece of dough with a fork, and bake the bottom crusts for 12 to 14 minutes, till they’re barely beginning to brown. Remove them from the oven. They will have shrunk; don’t worry, it’s OK.
To make the filling: Sauté the onion in the butter till it’s soft and golden brown. Remove it from the heat, and add it to the remaining filling ingredients, stirring till well combined. Spoon a slightly heaping 1/4 cup filling into each well of the pan, atop the baked crusts. A muffin scoop works well here. Roll out the second piece of dough till it’s about 6" x 8". When it’s nearly big enough, sprinkle it with the pine nuts, and gently roll them into the dough. Cut into a dozen 2" squares or circles. Place the dough pieces atop the filling.
Bake the quiches for 20 minutes. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil atop the pan, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the edges of the crust are beginning to brown. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the quiche squares from the pan, and serve immediately; or wait a couple of hours and serve at room temperature. Or, if you’ve made them ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, let them come to room temperature.
Yield: 12 quiche squares.
Baker’s tip: Thawed frozen spinach is very wet, and needs to be drained as thoroughly as possible. Here’s an easy path to thoroughly dry spinach: Remove frozen spinach from its package. Place it atop a double-thickness of paper towel on a plate, and defrost in the microwave. Gather the edges of the towel around the thawed spinach, and squeeze/wring it dry. Open the towel, and drop spinach into a bowl; it won’t stick to the towel, neither will the towel shred. Magic!
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