A Christmas Quiche

Flaky Pastry, Dense Custard and Layers of Mushrooms, Spinach and Comte Cheese

I'm not even going to try to pretend that I only eat quiche at Christmas, because this delicious French classic has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered how easy it is to make over 30 years ago. The basic ingredients for making a quiche are a simple custard and a pastry, but don't despair if you haven't time to make the dough, because you can easily substitute a good quality frozen pie crust, shortening the preparation time even further.

You can add just about anything to the custard, but my favorites are thickly sliced button mushrooms sauteed in butter, sauteed spinach--squeezed dry--and an ample dose of a strong cheese, preferably Comte or Gruyere. Best of all, quiche is delicious served straight from the oven, at room temperature, or even eaten cold, straight from the refrigerator.

Quiche makes for an impressive addition to any brunch and is perfect for Christmas morning, since it can be made ahead of time and goes equally well with a good cup or coffee or a glass of champagne.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

1 pack white button mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced
4 cups of fresh baby spinach, washed if needed
2 T. butter
2 cups shredded Comte cheese

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
salt, pepper and grated nutmeg, to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 pastry crust, or frozen deep dish pie crust

1. In a heavy cast iron skillet, melt 1 T. of the butter and saute the mushrooms until caramelized and all the water evaporates; transfer to the pie crust and distribute evenly.
2. Put the skillet back onto the flame and melt the remaining 1 T of butter; add the spinach and cook until wilted.
3. Transfer spinach to a mesh strainer positioned over an empty bowl and let sit to drain; once cool, squeeze out as much moisture as possible and then distribute spinach over the mushrooms.
4. Top mushrooms and spinach with the grated cheese.
5. Mix together the eggs, whipping cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and Dijon mustard until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
6. Pour custard into the prepared crust, making sure mixture is evenly distributed throughout.
7. Bake in a 350 degree oven util the custard is set and the top is golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
9. Serve warm, at room temperature, or if you like, eat cold from the refrigerator.
10. Serve with coffee or for a more festive occasion, bubbles.

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