Christine Ferber is a famous French pastry chef in France (and internationally) who was named the jam fairy; she also specialized in tarts and quiches inspired by her native Alsace. I had one of her paperback books Mes Tartes sucrées et salées (Sweet and Savory tarts) laying around and this quiche is loosely inspired by one of her recipes.
Filling a quiche with cauliflower instead of, say, broccoli, makes for a lighter-tasting tart despite its richness. If you like to make a gratin with cauliflower, you will adopt the quiche idea. The cauliflower is steamed or boiled first, drained, cut into florets and set on the pre-baked crust on top of shreds of prosciutto or ham. A rich custard encases the pastry and baked till puffy and golden.
- Crust: 2 cups of flour, dash of salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (4 ounces or 125 g.)
- 1 tbsp of whipping cream or milk or more as needed
- 1/2 of a large cauliflower
- 3/4 cup of shreds of prosciutto or ham
- 6 eggs plus 2 egg whites
- 2 cups of whipping cream or 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
- 1 1/2 tbsp of grainy mustard
- Spices: 1/4 tsp of white pepper, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, 1 1/2 tsp of paprika, 1/4 tsp of black pepper
To make the crust:
- Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor; mix to combine well. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture looks sandy. Add the egg and mix, adding the tablespoon of cream or milk through the feed tube. As soon as the pastry holds together, stop the machine and transfer onto a piece of wax paper; gather the dough into a bowl, wrap and place in the fridge for one hour or overnight.
- When ready, bring to room temperature. Roll out on a large piece of wax paper. Flip onto a greased and floured pie plate. Prick all over with a fork, cover with a piece of foil and a mound of beans and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes or so until the pastry is dry and almost completely baked.
- Steam the cauliflower (or boil in salted water) until tender. Drain well and cool then cut into small florets and chunks to fit the pie plate. Place the prosciutto shreds all over the crust then cover with the cauliflower pieces. In a large bowl, beat the eggs then pour the cream (or cream and milk), then cheese, then add the spices and mix well to combine. Pour the custard over the cauliflower and bake in a preheated oven at 350F till puffy and golden. Serve.
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