Pear, Fig & Onion Quiche

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It’s been such a busy month, I haven’t had a second to breathe! Finally, though, middle school, elementary school, and now preschool have started, and I’m back to teaching at the university as well. That doesn’t sound like things are going to get less hectic! However, at least now there’s more of an enforced bedtime around here, and a chance to sit and look over what I’ve been wanting to post.

This recipe was an easy favorite of the last few weeks. I made it for a shower of a dear friend; it sounded like the perfect shower food, and perhaps a little too indulgent for just a weeknight meal. The recipe comes from Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen cookbook, but he titles it Pear and Blue Cheese Quiche. The blue cheese flavor was soooo mild, though, that I hardly think we need to mention it in the title, since it will turn away all those who think they hate the stuff, when they probably won’t be aware that it’s in there if they try it. So, I’ve retitled, and also added figs, simply because I could get them, and I don’t know of anything prettier on the top of a festive summer food.

Pear, fig & onion Quiche

Crust
1 c. (140g) all-purpose flour
1/3 c. (55g) cornmeal
1/2 t. sea salt or kosher salt
8 T. (4 ounces/115g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 large egg

Filling
1 T. olive oil
6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (I used two small red onions, hence the name!)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large, firm, ripe pear, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) cubes
1 c. (130g) diced cooked (boiled) ham (or bacon, or omit for vegetarian)
1 1/2 c. (375ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
8 oz. (225g) cream cheese
Freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. (150g) crumbled blue cheese or Roquefort (or goat cheese)
2 T. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 T. fresh thyme (my addition)
2 fresh figs, sliced, for decoration (also my addition)

  1. To make the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl, by hand with a pastry blender), combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the butter and beat on low speed until the butter is broken up and the mixture is sandy. Add the egg and mix until the dough begins to clump and come together. Use your hands to gather the dough and shape it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.)
  2. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s 14 inches (35cm) across. Wrap aluminum foil around the outside of a 9- to 10-inch (23 to 25cm) springform pan to catch any leaks, and then transfer the dough to the pan. Press the dough against the side, allowing it to come a bit more than halfway up the sides of the pan. If there are any cracks, patch them with a bit of dough from the edges—you don’t want the filling to leak out during baking. Chill the dough in the pan while you make the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots with some salt and pepper until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced pear and ham.
  5. In a large bowl, blend together the cream, cream cheese, a few gratings of nutmeg, the eggs, and the yolks until smooth. Stir in the blue cheese, the pear and ham mixture, and the parsley and thyme.
  6. Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the filling, using a spoon to make sure the ingredients in the filling are evenly distributed. Please figs in a pattern on top, if using. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned, the filling still jiggles, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool until firm enough to slice, then serve warm or at room temperature.

    Pear Fig Quiche

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