With Russ making Crème Brûlée French Toast and sausage links for the kids for Christmas Eve brunch (neither of which I eat), I wanted to indulge myself with a holiday treat that appealed to my culinary senses. I’ve always loved quiche, especially if it’s full of healthy veggies, so after a little online research, I concocted this festive looking Christmas Quiche using asparagus, mushrooms and shallots.
Of course, what’s a fabulous quiche without a great cheese? Here’s where you can zero in on what strikes your fancy, in my case it was Oscar Wilde Aged Irish Cheddar.
It may be a bit tricky figuring out what lengths to cut the tree “branches” but just make sure to cut two of each size for both sides of the tree. I used both the asparagus tips and some of the cut stalks to assemble mine, but you could also use only tips. Any leftovers save for a salad or stir-fry.
For ornamentation, I used the smaller end of my large circular pastry bag tip to cut out little circles from a roasted red pepper. Originally I planned on using a piquillo pepper but we were fresh out and the store wasn’t carrying any. (This is an item Russ often orders online from a Spanish supply company.)
The name piquillo means “little beak.” Traditionally piquillo peppers are grown in Northern Spain and are hand picked then roasted over open fires. The peppers are then peeled, all by hand then packed in jars or tins. The roasting of the pepper gives it a rich, spicy-sweet flavor. Jarred roasted red peppers make a fine substitute.
Merry Christmas from our table to yours!!
- 1 9″ deep dish Pie Crust, precooked
- 1/2 bunch thin Asparagus
- 1/2 cup sliced Mushrooms
- 1 large Shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 Piquillo or Roasted Red pepper for ornamentation, cut into small circles
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
- 5 Large Eggs
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt, divided
- 1/4 of white Pepper, divided
- Precook your pie crust according to package directions and let cool.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Precook the shallot, mushrooms and thyme in a medium-low sauté pan with the butter for about 5 minutes to soften—this helps bring out their flavors. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper.
- While doing this, blanche the asparagus pieces in boiling water for 1 minute, then quickly cool under cold water, drain thoroughly. This will help preserve the bright green color.
Layer the shredded cheese first, then add the mushroom mixture in the pie crust.
Mix the eggs, cream, milk, and remaining salt, and pepper. Either beat them by hand for 2 minutes, or use a mixer for 1 minute. You want the eggs to be light and fluffy.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese and into the pie crust. Fill the crust as much as possible, without letting the egg spill out; but saving a little room for the asparagus.
- Arrange the asparagus pieces into a tree formation and gently place the red pepper circles, slightly overlapping the branches, to resemble ornaments.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the center of the quiche has firmed up. Check halfway through the cooking time and if the crust is starting to get too brown, cover very loosely with a sheet of tinfoil. My quiche took the entire 55 minutes.
- Cool for 20 minutes before serving; or cool completely then cover with plastic wrap to refrigerate.
- When you are ready to reheat the quiche, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap and place the quiche in the oven in its original pan for about 15-20 minutes or until the center is warmed through.