Friday, June 3, 2011

Baby Bacon, Leek, and Cheddar Quiches

For my coworker's baby shower, I made mini quiches.  Since it was a baby shower, I decided to call them baby quiches.  I thought they'd just be an adorable treat for everyone!

I decided to try to lighten this recipe up a bit. Instead of pork bacon, I used turkey bacon.  As a result, I had to add in a little vegetable oil when I went to sauté the leeks.

Man, I love leeks.  They are just one of the most wonderful things I've ever discovered.  Remember that soup I made back in March? This is like a spring version.

I have to find some more leek recipes after this one - they add another dimension to every meal that you can't get from similar ingredients.  They aren't oniony but they do have that carmelized texture.

As long as I was lightening up this recipe, I also used fat free half and half.  I think it didn't affect the taste at all. How do they make it fat free without it getting watery?

The hardest part of this recipe was keeping the filling moist.  I had to stir it between filling each and every quiche to spread the egg evenly.  I also filled a little too much so I was about 6 quiches short.  I also had extra puff pastry - I probably rolled it too thin.

The preparation is pretty simple, although filling all of the muffin tins does take forever. I finished one of my 24 muffin tins and then baked them off while I filled the rest so I didn't have to spend too much time in my hot kitchen.  It's amazing how hot it gets in the summer with the oven on!

These were definitely a hit at the baby shower.  They are salty and a little bit sweet, and definitely savory.  Plus they're so much easier to serve than a full quiche. Mine weren't quite as pretty as Tracy's but they sure were tasty! I tried one hot, which was really good, but they were just as good cold or at room temperature.  They're the perfect appetizer to bring to a baby or bridal shower.  Since 3 people we work with are having babies in late July, I imagine you must know someone getting married or having a baby too!

Baby Bacon, Leek and Cheddar Quiches
Lightened from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures

3/4 lb turkey bacon, cut into medium dice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups medium-diced leeks, washed and drained (about 3 leeks, white and light green parts only)
1 1/4 cups fat free half and half
1 cup (4 oz) grated extra-sharp Cheddar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1.1-lb packages frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (homemade puff pastry would work too)

Set a skillet over medium to medium-high heat and cook the bacon until crisp.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.  If there is almost no fat in the pan (which is likely) add 1 tablespoon in the skillet (if there is fat, add oil to have total 1 tbsp of liquid).  Return the pan to medium heat and add the leeks.  Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, then set aside to allow the leeks to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, add the half and half, cheese, eggs, egg yolks, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg to a medium bowl.  Use a fork to break up the eggs and yolks and mix the ingredients.  Add the bacon and leeks (both of which should be cooled) and toss to distribute evenly.  Set the filling aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray your mini muffin pans with cooking spray.

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the sheet into a rectangle approximately 10x18 inches big. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter (or the top of a glass cup), cut 12 circles from the sheet of puff pastry. Fit each round into one well of the prepared mini muffin pan, making sure that the dough extends to the top of well. Fill each well with about 1 tablespoon of filling (it's fine to fill it just about to the top). Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling puffs and the crust is golden brown. Remove the quiches from the pans and serve.

Alternatively, you can prep the quiches ahead of time and freeze them (for up to a month). After assembling them, pop the mini muffin pans in your freezer for a few hours, until the quiches are set, then transfer them to resealable freezer bags. When you are ready to bake, transfer the frozen quiches from the bags to the mini muffin pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes. 

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