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Take the complicated out of quiche

By: J.M. HIRSCH The Associated Press
May 8, 2013 Updated: May 8, 2013 at 8:00 am
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photo - In this image taken on April 22, 2013, a slice of ham and cheddar quiche for Mother's Day is shown served on a plate in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this image taken on April 22, 2013, a slice of ham and cheddar quiche for Mother's Day is shown served on a plate in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) 

Quiche has a reputation as a complicated dish. And yet quiche really is such a simple dish that is both versatile and forgiving.

Not even the least skilled home cook has an excuse for skipping it. Especially come Mother's Day. Quiche is perfect for breakfast in bed. It's easy enough for the kids to help with. It even can be prepped the night before.

So let's demystify it step-by-step, starting with the crust. Homemade is fine, but I just don't bother. Purchased pie is completely respectable for a quiche crust. As for the pan, I prefer a tart pan with a removable bottom. It is easier to slice the quiches and remove each serving. But a pie pan works fine, too.

Next up, the fillings. I like to keep it simple with ham or sausage. But whatever meat you use, keep the chunks small. Veggies should be at least partially cooked before they go into the crust. Whatever mix you use, aim for about half a pound.

Cheese should be grated or shredded. Cheddar and gouda are nice, as is Gruyere. Robust cheeses such as feta or Parmesan work better as accent cheeses. In other words, combine them with a good melting cheese. Aim for a total of about 1 1/2 cups of cheese.

The final step is the eggs and milk. For a large quiche, you'll want about 8 eggs and 1/3 cup of milk. Don't have that many eggs? Use what you have and up the milk. Don't have milk? Up the eggs and add a splash of water or half-and-half.

HAM AND CHEDDAR QUICHE

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Yield: 8 servings

1 prepared uncooked pie crust room temperature

8 ounces deli-sliced ham, chopped

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) grated cheddar cheese

8 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Procedure:

Heat the oven to 425 F. Coat an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. Alternatively, use a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Set the pan on a baking sheet.

Unroll the pie crust and set it into the prepared pan. Gently push the crust into the corners and up the edges of the pan, crimping and trimming as needed.

Scatter the ham and cheese evenly over the crust.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, fennel, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the ham and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until puffed and set at the center and lightly browned at the edges.

Cool slightly or completely before slicing and serving.

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