Julia Child's spinach quiche is sinfully delicious! It is rich, full of flavor, and the perfect proportions. If you want, you can cut down the cooking time by buying a premade shell.
Have you ever had Julia Child's spinach quiche? It is life-changing. It is also a surprisingly easy spinach quiche to make. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but it is so good that it reminds me of the rare joy of absolute perfection. Each bite is full of perfectly balanced flavor. It is the kind of dish where you instinctively want to savor every bite.
Julia's spinach quiche is so different from any quiche I have ever had before. (Yep, we are on a first-name basis now.) It has the perfect ratio of crust, egg, spinach, and cheese. Honestly, for me, there is no going back. From now on, I will only make Julia's quiches. Of course, I might add different ingredients or flavors. But I will always use her ratios. They are pure perfection!
BTW, I have never been a fan of quiche. My husband flat out did not even like quiche, but I made him try this spinach quiche. He loved it so much he ate ¾ in one sitting and asked me to make it again! How is that for an endorsement? I promise you; it is that good!
When making a quiche crust you really have two options, to make it at home or to buy it at the store. Both are good options. The store is convenient. Making it at home has a better flavor. Depending on the day I could go either way on which quiche crust I would use. However, if you decide to make your quiche crust at home a couple of points worth noting.
First point: The longer you can allow your dough to rest, the more flakiness and flavor you will achieve. I made this quiche a couple of times. Each time the result was good, however I found that when I let the dough rest a couple of hours vs. a couple of days, there was a big difference in texture and flavor. Overall, I much preferred the dough that had rested for three days before baking.
Second point: Making dough can take time and preparation. If you prefer homemade dough, but do not always have time. I recommend making it in advance and freezing it. Dough wrapped and stored in air-tight containers can last up to three months in the freezer. By freezing dough in advance, you will always have some on hand.
Third point: If you have never made dough before and are nervous about it, don't be. As Julia said, "No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing". She is right, you will only learn by doing. Get in there and start trying. The worst thing that will happen, your crust will be terrible and you run to the store to buy a prepared one. All cooks have had to make that emergency run more times then they care to admit. True story!
If you are new to making crusts, I have an entire blog post dedicated to the perfect crust. There are a few differences between my recipe and Julia's, but the technique is the same.
Easy Spinach Quiche Filling
This spinach quiche filling is surprisingly simple to make. Really there are five basic steps:
- Whisk together 2 eggs and ⅔rds cup of cream. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a skillet, add diced shallots and saute.
- Cook spinach to remove any excess water.
- Combine the spinach and shallots. Then mix in the eggs, but do not cook. You do not want scrambled eggs
- Pour into a pie crust, top with butter and Swiss cheese, and bake
So amazingly simple!
Note about the spinach: In the book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume I, Julia provides two spinach options: fresh or frozen. She mentions that frozen spinach has a lot of stems, in fact, more stems than spinach. I am sure this was true in the 50's, however today's frozen spinach is quite good. (I feel like I committed an American cooking sin going against Julia. Please forgive me. )
The preparation of the two types of spinach is very different. I followed the instructions for both ways and hands down I preferred the frozen spinach. The fresh spinach option, involved blanching, placing the spinach in cold water to preserve the color, and then cooking. However, the frozen involved chopping it up and cooking it a little longer so the water can evaporate. The frozen was so much easier!
Finally, by cooking Julia spinach quiche, I am reminded how the best food is often the simplest food. It is about good technique and not a lot of complicated flavors. If you make this, please take a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to know how it turns out.
Serving and Storage
Quiche stores surprisingly well, making it a great option to prepare in advance. Quiche can be served hot or cold. To be perfectly honest, I like quiche both ways.
When I store quiche, I wrap mine in cling wrap and store it in the refrigerator. Quiche will last between 3 - 5 days this way. To store quiche in the freezer, wrap it tightly in cling wrap and store in an air-tight container. Quiche can be stored for up to three months, but it never lasts that long in our home.
Season 2, Episode 2, Signature challenge - Quiche. This bake is part of my personal Great British Baking Show challenge. GBBO Count: 25 down, 255 to go!
Julia Child's Spinach Quiche
- Rolling Pin
- 9-inch tart pan or pie dish
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 6 ounces butter, chilled and diced into ¼ inch bits
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shorting, chilled
- ½ cup water, cold
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 ¼ cups spinach, either fresh and blanched or frozen
- 3 - 4 ¼ tablespoons butter * amount of butter will vary by fresh or frozen spinach
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- ¼ cup grated swiss
- Combine: flour, salt, sugar, butter, and vegetable shortening into a large bowl. Using the tips of your fingers, combine the the ingredients. The result should look like breadcrumbs.
- Blend: Slowly add the ice water to the mixture and form a dough ball. Divide the dough into two and shape it into a flattened circle. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- Rolling: Place dough on a lightly floured surface and begin to roll it into a circle about ⅛ thick and two inches larger than your tart or pie pan. You will want to work quickly to keep the butter as cold as possible. Using your rolling pin, lift and place the dough into your tart or pie pan. Press the dough into place and then run your rolling pin over the top and remove excess dough. Using your thumbs, push the dough ⅛ of an inch above the edge of the pan. Take a dull knife and made a decorative edge. Then take a fork and prick the pastry all over, including the sides, at ½ inch intervals. Refrigerate if not baking right away.
- Partial Blind Bake: Preheat oven to 400f. Line the pastry with tin foil or parchment paper. Cover the edges of the pastry if possible. Fill the pastry with weights (dried beans, lentils, rice, or pastry weights). The goal here is to weigh down the pastry, so it does not rise. Bake for 8 - 9 minutes. Remove pastry from the oven and remove the weights. Make additional pricks into the dough with your fork and bake for 2 - 3 minutes more. When the shell starts to turn golden or shrink from the sides of the baking dish, remove it from the oven.
Filling and Baking
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 375f. Whisk together eggs, cream, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Set aside.
- Spinach: If you are using fresh spinach - Start a pot of boiling water. While your waiting, clean the spinach to ensure all dirt is removed and de-stem the spinach leaves. A handful at a time, place the spinach in the boiling water and cook for two minutes. Remove the spinach and run under cold water. Then, squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible and cut the spinach into small pieces. Repeat until you have 1 ¼ cups of spinach. If you are using frozen spinach - Defrost the spinach just enough so that you can slice it by bearing it down with your knife. Melt an additional 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in a saucepan or skillet. Stir in the spinach, cover, and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove the cover and cook until all the water has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- Shallots: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add diced shallots and cook until done, about 1 - 2 minutes.
- Combine and bake: Combine all the ingredients away from heat (shallots, spinach, and egg mixture). Pour into the pastry shell and bake at 375 for 25 - 30 minutes. Sprinkle the top with swiss cheese and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. You will know the quiche is done when you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.
- When making the pastry shell, use only the tips of your fingers. You want the butter to stay as cold as possible. Use caution, not to over mix, bits of butter is a good thing with pastry.
- For more details on making pastry, visit my blog post 'The Perfect Pie Crust". The recipe is slightly different; however, the technique is the same. https://lifeonwesterlycreek.com/a-pie-crust-recipe
- This recipe was adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1.