All right, so technically speaking, we should use a pâte à croûstade, but Tante Julia says that the pâte brisée fine is appropriate for quiche as well.
So your tart crust has been chillin’ in the icebox for at least two hours (preferably 24), now’s the time to make it go to work.
Roll out the dough with sharp short pushes on a lightly floured surface. Keep rotating the dough (not yourself, don’t work around it, keep moving the dough) by quarter turns, ensuring that the area below it stays lightly floured — otherwise you’re not going to be able to pull it up and put it in the pan. If you find your dough getting sticky and fighting you, slide a cake knife underneath it, drop it on a baking sheet and put it back in the fridge for a half an hour or so.
To check size, plop your intended pan in the center of the dough. I like to have at least an inch extra around the pan circumference to ensure that the dough covers the sides of the pan and I have some to fold down.
Oh, I probably should mention, if you use a regular tart pan and not a pie or quiche pan, it will have a removable bottom. At this point, place your tart pan on a baking sheet. Why? Well, we all do it, once. A removable bottom will… pop up through your tart crust if you don’t pick up your pan without touching the bottom of it. Save yourself some heartache and put the pan on a baking sheet and gently, gently roll your dough onto your rolling pin, then roll it out over the pan. Gently press the dough into the corners and bottom of the pan, take the excess dough from the edge and fold it over to create strong sides.
Then where do you think this goes? That’s right, back in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Chilling the dough will relax the gluten and reduce the amount of shrinkage your crust will suffer in baking. True: crusts will always shrink, but you can reduce it a bit with… time and temperature.
What you do next will depend upon the recipe you’re using. Some pie recipes do not require pre-baking (also called blind baking) the crust; some do, but only halfway; some require that the crust be entirely cooked before you bake it again with the filling — most recipes call for at least some pre-baking to prevent a soggy bottom (heh). Quiche only requires a partial baking of about 10 minutes.
After your oven is pre-heated to 350°, remove the shell from the refrigerator and prick the bottom with a fork.
Line the shell with tin foil or parchment paper, and throw in your pie weights (if you don’t have pie weights a bag of dried beans/peas should do), put the shell in the oven (it should still be on its baking sheet), and bake for 10 minutes.
If it chilled in the fridge long enough, there should be very little shrinkage. Let it cool down some, then add your quiche filling. In our house, quiche is what you make when you have a heel of cheese and some deli cold cuts to get rid of. Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup heavy cream (or you can do half and half)
salt and pepper
Blend the dairy and eggs thoroughly.
With a cheese base, usually about a cup of cheese, this should fill a 8-inch tart or quiche pan (same thing, really). I don’t have an 8-inch quiche dish, I have a 9-inch tart pan. Line the bottom of the pastry shell with cheese and/or ham, or spinach, lightly cooked broccoli, asparagus… almost whatever you want. Add a grind or two of pepper.
Now here’s a little tip from me to you. Pull out the oven rack halfway, put your quiche shell (still on its baking sheet) on the rack, THEN pour the eggy-milk mixture in the shell. If I must explain why you should do it this way, then you are obviously not as spectacularly klutzy as I am. Sprinkle the top with any leftover bits of cheese (or as I do, some finely grated romano). Gently slide the oven rack back in and bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
You’ll know it’s done when you insert a knife into the center of the custard and it comes back clean and the edges of the crust are a golden brown.
Oh, and why the removable bottom of the pan?
Presentation! The quiche just slides off that bottom bit and you can slice into it without damaging your nice non-stick tart pan.