The first time I went to my in-law’s house when my husband and I were dating was for my husband’s birthday dinner. He told me that his mom (a Midwesterner) and sister (a former Pastry Chef) were having a pie off. Mom was making her shortening crust by hand and sis was making her all butter crust in a food processor. I thought, I LOVE this family. Two peach pies, two great bakers and I don’t have to make anything - yay. Then he told me I was supposed to judge which one was better. Cruel and hilarious at the same time and most definitely not okay. I declared it a tie of course. That same night I also walked into the screen door. I think that combo is why he asked me to marry him.
Pie crust is a pain. Even as a professional, I sort of hate making pie which is why I was excited about not having to make it. Problem is, we really like eating it. We had a selection of pies for our wedding instead of cake if that says anything. So I can’t even tell you how exciting it was when I discovered this oil and milk pie crust. LIFE CHANGING. No cutting in cold butter, chilling your flour, pouring in ice water, being careful not to knead too much, all the stuff I don’t want to fuss with. The original comes from one of my favorite books, The Homesick Texan. Not only are her comfort food recipes right up my alley, but they are flawless. Hard to come by in the world of recipes. I tried the original and loved it, which calls for white flour and vegetable oil, but I was confident I could sub in some goodness by way of whole wheat flour and olive oil. I’m telling you, you may never make another pie dough for the rest of your lives. And it’s vegan! I’m not even close to being vegan, but that's exciting for a pie dough.
With the filling, I understand having beet greens around is not the norm and these are just as yummy with any green - spinach, collards, kale, whatever sounds good to you or wilting in the crisper. I have a soft spot for Boursin cheese and I think it’s perfect for these little quiche. If it’s good enough for Ludo’s omelette, it’s good enough for me.
Not all my recipes will be mini things that are grab and go, by the way. With Mother’s Day around the corner, this can easily be made into a whole quiche for brunch, but you will likely have a little leftover egg mixture. I love a whole quiche, but it’s so much easier to store muffins and I eat less of it that way. Also, I purposely didn't line the sides of the muffin tin because I find I don't need that much pie crust, which is just about the only time you'll ever hear me say that. If you want to make it extra cheesy (because who doesn't?), sprinkle some shredded cheese on top before baking and it get all nice and brown and crispy.
BEET GREEN QUICH MUFFINS
with WHOLE WHEAT OLIVE OIL CRUST
~yields 12 standard sized muffins or one 12" quiche
Crust (adapted from The Homesick Texan):
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup + 2 tsp whole milk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium-sized white onion, finely chopped
2 cup chopped beet greens (finely chopped if you’re feeding a toddler)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 large eggs
1/4 cup Boursin cheese (I used Shallot and Chive)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
heaping 1/4 tsp salt
several grinds of pepper
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Grease a standard 12 cup muffin tin making sure grease the sides well.
For the crust:
In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour and salt. Whisk to combine.
Pour in the whole milk and olive oil and stir to combine with a rubber spatula.
Either in the bowl or on a lightly floured cutting board, gently press the mixture together until it is cohesive and no dry spots remain.
The dough can be used immediately, but I find it’s easier to cover with plastic wrap and let it rest either on the counter or in the fridge for about 15-20 min.
For the filling:
In a skillet (cast-iron or non-stick), heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat.
Add onion, beet greens, garlic and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions are translucent and the beet greens are soft, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to brown the mixture.
Transfer to a plate and spread out to cool. This mixture can be made a day ahead and kept covered in the fridge.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs.
Add the milk, cheese, thyme, salt and pepper and whisk to break up the cheese.
Fold in the cooled beet green mixture.
Assembly and baking:
Roll out the half the pie crust on a lightly floured bowl to about 1/8”-1/16” thick. Wrap the remaining dough with plastic and store for another use. It will keep for a few days in the fridge or a month if well-wrapped in the freezer.
Using a round cutter or a cup the size of the base of your muffin tin, cut out twelve rounds and gently press them into the base of the muffin tin. If it creeps up the sides, that’s okay. I actually prefer it that way.
With a fork, poke a few holes in the base of the crust.
Pour in the egg mixture leaving about a 1/4” of space at the top.
Place in your preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway, until the tops are lightly browned and the egg is firm, but not hard to the touch.
Remove from the oven onto a cooling rack until completely cooled.
Run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edges to release the muffins.
The muffins will keep covered in the fridge for a few days or a month in the freezer. Either way you store them, they can easily be reheated in a toaster oven or your standard oven until warmed through.