caramelized onion and thyme quiche – creamy decadence
I’ve been thinking about do-ahead breakfast/brunch items to have ready for Christmas morning. Because really, after this month-long frenzy, all I want to do is turn on the coffee pot and heat up a ready-made dish while the presents are opened.
This is a fantastic option – slowly caramelized onions, fresh thyme and copious amounts of gruyere cheese in a flaky crust. I deliberately did this one as a vegetarian quiche because my grandmother’s caretaker is a vegetarian and I knew she would want a slice, but if you added some crispy diced bacon, ham or pancetta – I wouldn’t complain.
It’s always amazing to me how slowly (and I mean s-l-o-w-l-y) cooking onions can turn piles of eye-stinging allium into meltingly tender, caramelized unctuousness. It’ll take upwards of 45 minutes, sometimes longer, but there is no way to fast-track this if you want truly tender, genuinely sweet, fall-apart-in-your-mouth caramelized onions.
So after slicing the onions and getting them into a pot, you can concentrate on the rest of this dish, which is pretty straightforward.
A couple of housekeeping notes for you, dear reader. The recipe requires blind baking the pastry (essentially, baking the crust before you put the quiche ingredients into it). The oven temperature to blind bake is higher than the the quiche’s baking temp. Don’t forget to turn the oven down after baking the crust!
I recommend baking the quiche on a foil lined baking sheet to catch any spills. To make it easier and safer on yourself, place the shell on the baking sheet and then fill it with the quiche ingredients — especially if you’re using a frozen pastry crust in its own tin. Sufficed to say that if you hold a liquid-filled aluminum pan by the edges and lift it to transfer to a sheet pan – the pan can (and will) sag and even fold in half, like a taco shell — and there goes all your hard work all over the kitchen floor. (Yeah, it might have happened to me before).
Let the quiche rest a bit after baking and serve — or let it come to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until you want to serve it — like say on Christmas morning. Start the coffee, heat the oven to 300 degrees – and warm the quiche for 20 minutes or so and enjoy!
- 1 9-inch pie crust
- 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
- 1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place pie pastry into glass or ceramic 9" pie plate. Press bottom and sides into plate and finish the edges of the crust by pressing the tines of a fork against the rim or by pursing the edges together between your thumb and forefinger. Refrigerate crust until oven has heated completely. Place pie plate into the oven and bake for 6-7 minutes until crust is set and just starting to brown. Remove crust from oven and set aside.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium to medium low heat. Add sliced onions and sprinkle with the salt. Stir and cover. Let the onions caramelize in the pot, stirring occasionally. This may take 40-45 minutes. You don't have to hover over the pot, just check on it every 7-8 minutes and stir, adjusting heat if too hot or cool. You want the onions to slump after they've given off their liquid, then begin to caramelize and brown slightly.
- While the onions reduce, in a large bowl combine the eggs, milk, cream, black pepper and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
- Add the cheese to the egg mixture and stir.
- When the onions have finished caramelizing, add the thyme to them and stir well.
- Take a spoonful of the onions and add them to the egg mixture, stirring well. Continue to add the onions to the eggs a spoonful at a time, to temper the egg mixture.
- Place a piece of aluminum foil on an edged baking sheet. Set the pie shell on top of the foil.
- Pour the egg mixture into the prepared pie shell.
- Cut a piece of foil about 10" square.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and carefully set the foil on top of the pie crust (not touching the egg mixture. (this will prevent over browning the crust). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes, until quiche is set.