Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Quiche
We like to play with food, so carving pumpkins is always a hit around here. And this year, in honor of Slashfood's Great Pumpkin Day, we kept track of the carving scraps and used them to fashion a jack-o-lantern face on one of our favorite foods, pumpkin quiche.
Like all quiches, this is extremely easy once you have a blind-baked pie crust in hand, so it's a snap for a weeknight supper, or game-day spread, and with pumpkin, thyme and cheese it's always a great hit. A green salad on the side and a nice crusty French bread makes a quick, satisfying meal for Fall.
1 blind-baked pie shell (8")5 slices thick-cut lean bacon
12 oz pumkin, sliced thin
2 T thyme, minced
1-1/2 C cream
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot sauce
3 0z fresh mozzarella, shredded
3 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Pour out and discard all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat. Sauté the pumpkin slices in the remaining bacon fat on medium heat until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss the pumpkin slices with 2/3 of the thyme. In a bowl, beat the eggs briefly and then add the cream, salt and hot sauce, mixing well. Lay the pumpkin slices in the pie shell. Chop and add the bacon, then the cheeses, reserving 2 tablespoons of cheddar. Pour in the egg mixture. Scatter the remaining cheese and thyme over the quiche and bake about 30 minutes in a preheated 375º oven until a tester comes out clean. If adding decorations to the quiche as shown in the photo, cook them until just tender beforehand and place them on the surface after the quiche has baked about 20 minutes and the custard has started to set up.
Blind baked pie shell.
Use frozen ready-made dough if you like or make a better dough from the recipe below. Roll out the dough and lay into the pie pan or tart shell and finish the edges. Prick the bottom and sides of the shell with a fork at 1" intervals. Line the shell with buttered aluminum foil or a piece of waxed paper and fill the liner with a pound of beans, rice, dry pasta or anything of the like that can stand the heat and weight the liner. Bake the shell 10 minutes in a preheated 400º oven until the crust has just started to set up. Remove the liner and weights.
[note: this makes a double crust; for single crust pie use 2/3 of quantities given]
4 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 sticks cold butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup ice water
Process the flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor with a steel blade until the mixture is like coarse corn meal, using short pulses. Add the ice water and pulse processor a few times until dough begins to clump. Do not overprocess. Dough will be crumbly at this point. Scrape dough onto a board, divide in half and put each half in a plastic bag. Working through the bag, quickly press the dough into a ball. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour, [may be frozen at this point for future use] then proceed with the pie or tart recipe.