Freddie asked this question: “When I try to make a quiche, the bottom of my crust (pastry) never seems to cook properly. How do I get the perfect pastry case?” Let’s dive in to learn how to avoid a soggy crust quiche and other tips to fix common quiche problems.
Freddie, you’re not alone. A soggy bottom crust is one of the most common reasons that people struggle with baking pies, not only quiche lorraine. No matter how many times I make homemade pie crusts, I’m still terrified. It’s intimidating to attempt a flaky pie crust that’s perfectly golden and doesn’t crumble into thousands of pieces.
While baking and pie making are art forms, I’ve learned a few tricks for handling pie crusts and pâte brisée to ensure the greatest chance of success. While it’s still possible to fail, with practice and an experienced eye, I believe you can achieve Freddie’s goal of making the “perfect pastry case”. Let’s dive in to learn what you can do to save your quiche!
How to get the perfect pastry crust
- Pay attention to making the pâte brisée correctly: If it’s too dry, your pie crust may crumble. Note the texture if you’re unsure. If it’s too wet, you’ll end up with a pasty crust that has trouble getting flaky. The solution is to add liquid one spoonful at a time. If you live in a humid area, you’d unlikely to need all the liquid called for in the pâte brisée recipe.
- Remove extra moisture from the filling ingredients: Thoroughly cook any vegetables you add to the filling to avoid moisture which will destroy your bottom crust. This is the #1 reason for soggy crusts.
- Blind bake your crust: Baking your pie crust without the filling is the surest way to ensure a flaky golden crust.
- Apply an egg wash to the blind-baked pie crust: You can brush a layer of egg white over the pie crust about 10 minutes before it is done blind baking. This should seal any extra imperfections in your pâte brisée (it’s easy to tear it when rolling out) that could lead to a leak.
- Apply a foil shield: When you begin baking your quiche, your pie crust is fully cooked (thanks to blind baking). This can lead to burning the edge of the pie crust, which would be an utter disappointment. The solution is a foil tent to protect the edges. Bake the quiche for 15 minutes to allow the egg a chance to set. Then apply the foil shield. A foil shield is like a foil tent for fruit pies except instead of a tented piece of foil, I cut the middle square out of foil tent. I ended up with a foil stripe layout (the lazy alternative to a foil ring), which work well to allow the quiche to brown in the middle.
(If you were ever curious, as I was, why the foil shield works, my father-in-law, David, explained it acts like a mirror to reflect the heat/radiation away from the crust to prevent it from getting too brown. It’s the same concept behind why silver foil keeps parts of spacecraft cool.)
How to fix quiche problems
Go with a crustless quiche: Skip the quiche dough and bake it directly in a buttered pan or line the pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Make sure the ingredients are dry: If you’re adding vegetables, make sure raw veggies are cooked thoroughly. Mushroom and spinach are popular quiche fillings that will release a lot of liquid when cooked. Pan fry mushrooms and blanch spinach. Squeeze out all the extra liquid from your spinach before adding to the egg filling.
Problems with the quiche filling texture
If the filling is too wet and breaking apart: Add 1/2 cup less dairy. Experiment with the ratio between eggs and cream (or crème fraîche). Or the vegetables are to blame.
If you’re adding vegetables: Sauté them thoroughly and make sure they are as dry as possible to avoid additional moisture in your filling.
If the filling is too rubbery: Did you overcook the quiche? It could also be the egg-dairy ratio. Try removing an egg which should make it less rubbery. Or bump up the amount of dairy.
If the filling is too dry and the texture looks spongy: Take the quiche out of the oven before it’s overcooked. Test it 10 minutes earlier than the baking time specified in the recipe. Your quiche is done when it jiggles and still looks wet in the middle. If you insert a cake tester, it should come out mostly clean with a bit of egg custard clinging to it. Check whether your oven temperature is miscalibrated. If you live in a drier climate, you may want to err on the side of cooking the egg for less time.
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