Monday, January 5, 2009

The perfect Hors d'Oeuvre (that you can also eat for breakfast)

One of the things I absolutely hate is to still be cooking when my guests are arriving for a party. The more work I can get totally done ahead of time; the happier I am. Just take it from the fridge or the freezer and heat it up.

This recipe is for mini-muffin sized quiches that can be frozen for up to a month ahead of time. Whenever I make these things people swarm like dogs to get at them. Since you only have to cook what you need, any leftovers can be used at a later date (like another party or breakfast).

Bacon, Leek & Cheddar Mini Quiches
by Kate Hays

Yields around 4 dozen mini quiches

For this recipe you'll need mini muffin pans. You don't need four of them if you're going to freeze the quiches. Once they freeze simply pop them out of the pan and put in a freezer bag. I have found that the silicone trays are the easiest because it's easier to pop them out when freezing and especially cooking them.

  • 3/4# Bacon, cut into a medium dice
  • 3 C medium-diced leeks, washed and drained (about 3 leeks, white and light green parts only)
  • 1-1/4 C Half and Half
  • 1 C grated extra-sharp Cheddar (4 oz.) The extra sharp is awesome with the bacon!
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 large Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Cooking spray I prefer Canola
  • 2 1.1# packages frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions (preferably Pepperidge Farm brand)
  • Flour as needed for rolling out dough
  1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until browned and crispy (6-8 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. Pour off all but 1 to 2 Tbs of fat in the skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. While the leeks cool, combine the half and half, Cheddar, eggs, egg yolks, thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the cooled leeks and the bacon and stir to combine.
Assemble the mini quiches:
  1. Lightly spray four mini muffin tins (or however many you have. You can do these in batches and store the egg mixture in the refridgerator until the previous batch is sufficiently frozen).
  2. Working with one sheet of puff pastry at a time, use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface in to a 10" x 18" rectangle.
  3. Stamp out 3 inch circles of dough with a cookie cutter and gently press the rounds into the muffin tins. Make sure the dough goes all the way to the top of the cup, otherwise the egg will overflow and burn.
  4. Fill each with about a Tbs of filling. Try to make sure you have a good mixture of egg vs. bacon leaks, otherwise the mixture will be really chunky toward the end.
  5. You will most likely not use all of the dough, save it for another use.
To Freeze:
  1. Freeze the unbaked quiches in the muffin tins for about 2 hours, or until set.
  2. Remove them from the tins and transfer them to an airtight container, setting parchment or plastic wrap between layers, or seal them in a plastic bag.
  3. Store in the freezer, where they'll keep for up to a month.
To Bake:
  1. If frozen, do not thaw the quiches before baking. Put the quiches back into the muffin tins
  2. Heat the oven to 400F and position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven.
  3. Bake the quiches, switching the position of the tins halfway through baking, until the filling is puffed and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  1. If fresh bake about 20 minutes.

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