Growing up, each Easter my sister and I received a hollow milk chocolate bunny from our Grandparents. We’d bite the ears off and inside, neatly rolled and hidden, was a twenty dollar bill. I kid you not.
I still don’t know how they did it. The bunny was whole and untouched. Never a trace of tampering. I recently asked Grandpa about it. He told me he didn’t do it and that it was all Grandma. A magician never tells his secrets. Not even when he’s 90.
Money filled chocolate. Not bad Grandpa. Definitely a pleasant surprise.
Like a pearl in your oyster, vodka in your lemonade, or bacon in your quiche crust. Yes, bacon…in your crust.
Aside from chocolate bunnies, nothing says Easter quite like quiche. This quiche is simple enough for a casual family breakfast yet impressive enough to take to a more formal brunch. The makings of a fresh caprese salad are chopped and baked with fluffy eggs on top of a crisp crust. A crisp crust that surprises you with a mouthful of flavor.
The crust. The crust gets its own paragraph. The crust is the star of this dish. Laced with pancetta, an Italian bacon, you might just find yourself going in crust first. Normally plain and easily forgotten, this crust steals the spotlight with the addition of a little pork belly. It’s crisp and salty, full of unexpected flavor.
This quiche is outstanding. I mean, lets be real. There’s pancetta in the crust. Make this and you’ll be the hit at any Easter brunch…even without chocolate covered money.
Caprese Quiche with Pancetta Crust
For the crust (adapted from How to Cook Everything):
1⅛ cup flour, plus some for dusting work space
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons butter, cold and chopped into a few pieces
3-4 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup pancetta (4 oz), cooked and chopped
- Heat oven to 350°. Lay the pancetta flat on a broiling pan (or cookie sheet). Bake for about 10 minutes until crisp. Remove. Let cool. Chop into small pieces to use in the crust.
- Add the flour, salt and butter to a food processor. Pulse a few times. Process for about 10 seconds. The mixture should be mealy. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix with a wooden spoon. The dough should start to stick together into a ball. Add the pancetta and up to 1 more tablespoon of water if the dough seems dry and is not sticking into a ball. Using your hands, continue to form the dough into a ball.
- Once the dough is in a tight ball, cover it with plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or freeze for 10). You can keep the dough refrigerated at this stage for a day or two or freeze it for any length of time.
- Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and on a floured surface, roll the dough out to fit the pan you’re using. Use flour liberally, making sure the dough is not sticking to the surface. A silicone mat can also be used for a rolling surface.
- Move the dough to a pie plate or tart pan by rolling it up on the rolling pin or by folding it into quarters to make it easier to move. Press the dough along the bottom of the pan and up the sides leaving about 1/2 inch hanging all around the edge. Tuck the trim under itself around the edge of the plate. Using your fingers or a fork you can make a decorative edge in the crust if using a pie plate. Poke the crust with a fork in numerous places.
- Bake the crust at 350° for about 10 minutes until slightly browned. Remove.
For the filling:
2 egg whites
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 skim milk)
1/2 cup (4 oz) fresh mozzarella, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 large tomatoes)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Seed the tomatoes (see note 5 below). Chop the seeded tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Pat the tomatoes and mozzarella with a paper towel and let them sit on a paper towel while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and milk until foamy. Add the chopped ingredients. Add freshly ground pepper, and whisk again to combine all ingredients.
- Pour the mixture into the pre-baked crust (you may have some extra filling). Top with more freshly ground pepper. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes until the eggs are set and a knife inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean. Remove and let cool a few minutes before slicing.
- I used an 11 inch tart pan because I wanted it thinner (and bigger). Using a pie plate would definitely work and would leave you with a thicker quiche.
- This could easily be a vegetarian dish by replacing the pancetta with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- I used 4 eggs and 2 whites, but any combination of 5-6 eggs will work. I also used 1/2 skim milk and 1/2 whole milk because that’s what we had. I would have used all skim, but we ran out. Obviously, the fattier the milk the heavier the mixture. If desired, heavy cream can be used.
- Be sure that when forming the crust, the edges are thick and create a lip on the side of the dish that you’re using. If it’s too thin or doesn’t have a lip, it may start to slip down while baking.
- Be sure to seed the tomatoes and pat them dry along with the mozzarella. Otherwise the quiche will get much too watery and the crust will get soggy. To seed the tomatoes, cut the top off and squeeze. The inside should easily come out. Or scoop out the wet seeds with a spoon.
- I’ve used the terms “bacon” and “pancetta” interchangeably here. Either will work. Pancetta and bacon are the same cut of meat but bacon is smoked and to me, has a much stronger flavor. I actually like pancetta betta. I was able to find pancetta without added nitrates at our local grocery store, but I had to ask the butcher. They kept it in the back for some reason.
- I now understand why putting bacon in everything was/is such a trend. It crossed my mind to thinly roll out the crust on a cookie sheet and bake for crisp, salty, bacon crackers. I think this might happen soon. Our next batch of pizza dough will most certainly be pancetta speckled.
Here are a few other great dishes for Easter:
Roasted Asparagus with Walnut Crema
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Lemon Blueberry Babka
Coconut Cream Cupcakes
Carrot, Olive and Feta Salad
Look who came to visit in the backyard while I was making this!
Have a Happy Easter!