The best party foods are the ones you can prepare in advance, so you don't have to worry about them when your company is arriving. Quiche falls into that category. Prepare the simple but elegant dish a day ahead and serve it to any group of guests. Serve a single full-sized quiche or individual appetizer-sized quiches. All you need to do is choose suitable fillings, and pay attention to basic food safety.
Setting it Up
The basic formula for quiche is pretty simple. You need a crust to keep it together, and for every cup of milk or cream, you need at least two eggs to set it to a soft consistency. A quiche for a party might argue for a few changes in your basic recipe. For example, add an extra egg or two extra yolks to make the filling firmer, so it slices more cleanly. Alternatively, if you're planning individual mini-quiches, choose a crust that's sturdy enough to be eaten out of hand without crumbling.
Fill 'Er Up
When you're preparing a quiche ahead of time, choose the fillings carefully. For example, some cheeses are soft and aromatic while the quiche is hot, but become chewy and bland when it cools. Avoid ingredients that contain lots of moisture, because they'll leave soft spots in the quiche and may make the crust mushy. Avoid "wet" vegetables such as zucchini or cherry tomatoes, and inexpensive, watery hams. Fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and dry-cured meats are better choices.
It's possible to make a perfectly good quiche with an unbaked shell, but don't take that risk when company's coming. Instead, line the crust with parchment paper, fill it with pastry weights or dried beans, and pre-bake it until it begins to crisp. Brush it with a thin layer of oil as a moisture barrier, then add your fillings. Finally, pour in the prepared and chilled custard mixture. Bake the quiche until the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly. If the edges of the crust darken too quickly, shield them with aluminum foil. Use the same procedure for individual mini quiches, but watch them closely because they cook in a much shorter time.
Cooling and Reheating
Milk and eggs at room temperature are as good an incubator as any enterprising bacteria could hope for, so cool your quiche rapidly. Place it on a rack in a well-ventilated area when it comes out of the oven, and refrigerate it as soon as it reaches room temperature. Serving the quiche at room temperature is quite traditional in Europe, so feel free to simply slice it and serve it. Any that remains uneaten after two hours should be discarded, for food safety reasons. If you'd like to reheat the quiche, slide it into a preheated oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes, until it's hot.