chef Amy Kelsch's prepared quiche, made with feta,
leeks and lemon
that culinary darling of the 1970s, suddenly seems to be
appearing on menus everywhere.
Empire Coffee + Pastry in northeast Minneapolis, quiche —
truly impressive quiche, it must be said — has been a top
seller since sisters Amy and Chrissy Kelsch opened for
business in December.
why not? "It’s a classic," said Amy Kelsch, the
shop’s baker. "I’m always surprised by the wide
range of people who get really excited about it. You know,
young dudes who walk in and say, ‘Wow, you have quiche.’"
the restaurant industry might not want the world to know is
that this open-faced custard pie is a snap to prepare, even
for novice bakers. Here’s Amy Kelsch’s quick
Step away from the pie crust: For quiche, Kelsch prefers an
eggy, tart-like crust. "An all-butter pie crust with a
quiche custard is really, really rich," she said.
"This dough is crumblier — which is great for quiche
— and I like the lemon in it." Another bonus, for the
rolling-pin wary: "It’s not as fragile as pie crust;
it’s much sturdier," she said. "So rolling it
out is easier."
handle-free: Forget about using those rolling pin handles.
"You get so much more force — and so much more
control — if you push from the middle of the pin"
when rolling, Kelsch said. To prevent cracking, place the
roller in the center of the dough and move the roller
outward, rather than rolling from edge to edge across the
length of the dough. With every roll, turn the dough a
Smooth it out: After mixing the custard, Kelsch enlists a
mesh strainer. "I really push the custard
through," she said. "It doesn’t take any time,
and it makes the custard super-smooth. I’m paranoid about
chunks of egg in custard."
Fill it up: Most quiche ingredients should be precooked:
sautéed onions, blanched kale, steamed broccoli, fried
bacon, roast chicken. The trick is to select ingredients
that will add big flavors but not a lot of moisture. At
Empire, recent combinations have included leek-feta-lemon
zest, butternut squash-Parmesan-caramelized onion, bacon-chèvre-leek
and ham-Gruyère-leek. "Quiche is incredibly
flexible," said Kelsch. "We use whatever is on
hand, and whatever is in season."
Add dairy: For the vast majority of the quiche community,
grated or crumbled cheese is an essential quiche filling.
Basics include Cheddar, provolone, Monterey Jack and Swiss.
The classic quiche Lorraine contains bacon but no cheese.
Make ahead: Quiche works at breakfast, lunch, brunch and
dinner, served warm or at room temperature, and it’s
definitely a friend of the time-crunched. Un-rolled dough
can be refrigerated overnight; remove it from the
refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling. It will
keep in the freezer for a month; let it thaw overnight in
the refrigerator, and remove it for 10 to 15 minutes before
rolling. The rolled-out dough can also be par-baked in
advance and frozen for up to a month; thaw to room
temperature before adding the custard. Once the custard is
baked, a quiche can be refrigerated up to 24 hours.
Warm it up: Kelsch rolled her eyes at the mention of a
microwave oven. "No, absolutely not," she said
with a laugh. "Microwaves have their place, but they
turn anything with a crust instantly soggy and
rubbery." Instead, allow the refrigerated quiche to
come to room temperature (about 15 minutes), then bake in a
350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes. "It’s a perfect
make-ahead dish," she said. "You just pop that guy
in the oven and you’re ready to go."
ONE-WOMAN BAKED-GOODS EMPIRE
those unfamiliar with Empire, Amy Kelsch’s work is a real
find. After eight years of baking around Chicago — from a
Michelin two-star restaurant to a neighborhood French bakery
— the Twin Cities native returned to Minnesota last year
to create an outlet for her plain-spoken,
bursting-with-deliciousness baked goods, both savory and
sweet: a modest selection of turnovers, scones, biscuits,
coffee cakes, pies, sticky buns, cookies, Danish and a
nothing-short-of-glorious a.m. muffin brimming with bacon,
green onions and Cheddar. Quiche, too. If the prospect of
preparing a quiche is as daunting as proving the existence
of the Higgs boson (not to worry, it’s a nearly foolproof
recipe), then let Kelsch handle the details, at $4 per
slice, or $30 for a whole pie.
Empire Coffee + Pastry online at
4 to 6.
From Amy Kelsch of Empire Coffee + Pastry of Minneapolis.
cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
cup heavy cream
cup whole milk
ground pepper to taste
2 cups grated or crumbled cheese, herbs, cooked vegetables
and/or cooked meats
prepare dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer on
medium-high speed, cream butter and salt. Add egg yolk and
mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and add
flour, water and lemon juice and mix until just combined.
Shape dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and
refrigerate for 30 minutes.
ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly
floured work surface, roll dough (1/8-inch thick) to a
12-inch round. Transfer dough to a deep 9-inch pie pan. Fold
over excess dough to create an edge; trim excess dough and
crimp edge. Line pan with parchment paper, fill with pie
weights and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove pie
weights and parchment paper and prick bottom of pastry with
a fork. Return pan to oven and bake until crust is lightly
and evenly brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven
prepare custard: In a large bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks
to break them up. Add cream, milk, salt and pepper and whisk
well. Pour mixture through a mesh strainer to eliminate
prepare quiche: When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350
degrees. Place the baked tart crust on a baking sheet.
Arrange cheese, vegetables, meat or other filling
ingredients in an even layer over the baked crust. Pour egg
mixture over fillings. Bake until custard is slightly
puffed, golden brown and feels firm when patted in the
center, about 45 to 60 minutes. If quiche begins to get too
brown, cover with aluminum foil. Remove from oven to a wire
rack and serve warm or at room temperature.