You can find premade mini quiches in the freezer section of the supermarket if you’re in a rush to throw together a party, but mini quiches lend themselves well to innovation. By definition, a pie filled with a custard made from eggs and milk, seasoned with cheese and meat or vegetables, homemade quiche takes well under an hour to prepare and bake.
If you have a favorite pastry recipe, use it to line muffin cups and bake for 5 or 6 minutes. The pastry will continue cooking after it’s filled and put back into the oven. Premade shells are typically available in the freezer section of the supermarket, or you can buy piecrust, unroll it and cut it to fit muffin tins. Bake piecrust for 5 or 6 minutes before filling. Read the package directions for premade shells. They may already be fully baked.
Make classic quiche Lorraine by combining equal parts heavy cream, milk and shredded Gruyere cheese, cooked, crumbled bacon, and salt and pepper to taste. Add lightly beaten eggs in a ratio of one part milk to three parts eggs. Pour the mixture into the shells and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until the custard is set. Make quiche for your vegetarian guests by substituting lightly sauteed vegetables for the bacon. Add finely chopped, caramelized onion, cooked and drained spinach, or experiment with other cheeses and cooked meats.
While quiche is traditionally a savory food, there’s no reason not to make a sweet version if you want to present both sweet and savory appetizers. Sweeten the custard with sugar and add a few drops of vanilla extract, or simply use your favorite pie filling. Or, bake the crusts through and fill with fresh fruit dusted with powdered sugar or drained canned fruit. Make chocolate tarts by pouring hot cream over bittersweet chocolate pieces. Fill fully baked crusts with the chocolate mixture and chill until firm.
Baking and Storing
The process of partially baking an empty piecrust is called "blind baking". Adding a layer of dried beans or rice to the bottom of the pastry shell before you put it in the oven keeps it from puffing up while it’s cooking. Don’t overfill the crusts -- the custard-based filling will rise as it cooks. Wrap leftover mini quiches tightly and store in the refrigerator for three to four days or place them in freezer bags and freeze for up to two months.
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