Ham, Blue Cheese, and Pear Quiche
Recipe from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup (55g) cornmeal
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
• 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/115g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
• 1 large egg
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 large, firm, ripe pear, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) cubes
• 1 cup (130g) diced cooked (boiled) ham
• 1 1/2 cups (375ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
• 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese
• Freshly grated nutmeg
• 4 large eggs
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 1/2 cups (150g) crumbled blue cheese or Roquefort
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. To make the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl, by hand with a pastry blender), combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the butter and beat on low speed until the butter is broken up and the mixture is sandy. Add the egg and mix until the dough begins to clump and come together. Use your hands to gather the dough and shape it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.)
2. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s 14 inches (35cm) across. Wrap aluminum foil around the outside of a 9- to 10-inch (23 to 25cm) springform pan to catch any leaks, and then transfer the dough to the pan. Press the dough against the side, allowing it to come a bit more than halfway up the sides of the pan. If there are any cracks, patch them with a bit of dough from the edges—you don’t want the filling to leak out during baking. Chill the dough in the pan while you make the filling.
3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
4. To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots with some salt and pepper until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced pear and ham.
5. In a large bowl, blend together the cream, cream cheese, a few gratings of nutmeg, the eggs, and the yolks until smooth. Stir in the blue cheese, the pear and ham mixture, and the parsley.
6. Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the filling, using a spoon to make sure the ingredients in the filling are evenly distributed. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned, the filling still jiggles, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool until firm enough to slice, then serve warm or at room temperature.
Variations: For bacon-lovers, substitute 1 cup (125g) cooked diced bacon for the ham. For a vegetarian version, leave out the ham. You can also add to taste whatever fresh herbs appeal to you, such as chervil, thyme, tarragon, dill, or marjoram.