Asparagus Quiche

by Sarah on April 27, 2009

This weekend I went hiking with my family near Bet Shemesh. Every time I want to go for a little hike, my boys and husband start packing ropes, flashlights, first aid, and compasses as if planning a major expedition but I had a cold and said “today we are going for a short walk.” I never learn. We walked for four hours, looking for a cave that “has to be around here somewhere.” Of course I only had a couple biscuits and three apples for the whole family and towards the end of the hike I was starving but my two older boys kept insisting on continuing, fixated on finding the cave. I had to lay down the law, “we are going back now!” I felt a bit old and unadventurous for being the only one to complain (besides my three year old) but I was hungry and….well, I don’t much like crawling into caves.
While they were searching for clues of the mysterious cave, I was happily taking pictures of the wild plants, still blooming in the lazy hot air. Sage, thyme, dill, fennel, asparagus and many more wild edible plants grow in Israel, but most of them will soon dry out before the summer even begins. Wild asparagus (Asparagus aphyllus) is a thorny disorderly bramble but in the spring it develops tender new edible shoots, perfect for making asparagus quiche if there were enough of them. However, this is not a feasible idea because on the entire walk I found only three shoots. Indigenous to the Mediterranean, asparagus was first cultivated by the Macedonians in 200 B.C., and later grown in ancient Syria and Spain. Now asparagus is much more popular in Europe and America than in the Middle East.


Just when my youngest son was beginning to tire and whine we met up with a small herd of goats, lead by a modern herdsman and his dogs. These goats belong to a small family dairy farm and their milk is used to make a variety of cheese products. Later at the farm we tasted soft goat cheese wrapped in vine leaves, delicious. With asparagus and cheese on my mind, here is a recipe I would like to share which reminds me of our weekend hike.

Asparagus Quiche
Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
100 grams cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons ice water
Pinch of salt
Filling
1 bunch asparagus, boiled for 5 minutes (or just enough to soften slightly) and cut into finger length pieces
100 pecorino cheese, grated
70 grams, kashkaval cheese, grated
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream (250 ml)
Salt/Pepper
1 tablespoon flour
22-24 cm pie dish
Dough:
In a food processor add the flour, salt and butter and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed in the flour, but not melted. Add the egg and pulse until mixed. It should look coarse and crumbly, don’t be tempted to continue pulsing. Add cold water if necessary to bind the dough. It is better to pour the sandy textured dough out and combine the dough by hand, adding cold water to help bind the dough. Flatten dough into a small square, cover in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 C.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, add the eggs and heavy cream and whip. Add the cheese, flour, salt and pepper and mix until well blended. Add the asparagus pieces and combine.
Assembly:
Rollout the pastry dough with a rolling pin. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the surface to keep the dough from sticking. Using the rolling pin gently place the flattened dough on the pie dish and flatten the dough to the bottom and sides. Pour the filling into the crust and cut away extra dough.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until the filling is set
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