If you read my piece on baking with butter over at In Jennie’s Kitchen a few months ago, you already know that I am a big fan of Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio. It has definitely freed me from always being tied to a recipe or cookbook. That’s not to say that I never follow a recipe anymore, because I do. I have, however, gained a new found confidence when it comes to developing and adapting recipes.
So, as I was contemplating some Easter brunch ideas this week, I decided to try to make a whole grain tart crust for a ham, asparagus, and Gruyère quiche (one of my favorite brunch foods). I have never made a whole grain tart crust before. I found a few recipes in my cookbooks for whole grain tart crusts, but they all called for ingredients that I didn’t have on hand (barley flour, for example) or required chilling overnight (which isn’t an option when I am starting dinner at 3pm!). I remembered the basic 3-2-1 ratio for pie crusts and decided to wing it on my own (something that I wouldn’t have done before).
I decided to use part white whole wheat flour and part ground oats for the flour part of the recipe. The rest of the recipe is pretty standard for a savory pie crust. If you decide to use the recipe for a sweet pie or tart, you could add a tablespoon of sugar to the crust and go easy on the salt. Overall, I was pretty happy with how the crust turned out (especially for my first try). I think the key is weighing your dry ingredients instead of measuring by volume. I have included estimates for the dry ingredients by volume, though, in case you don’t have a scale in your kitchen.
Ham, Asparagus, and Gruyère Quiche
- 3 ounces (about 1 cup) old fashioned rolled oats
- 3 ounces (about 2/3 cup) white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) cold water
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 ounces cooked ham, diced
- 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup milk
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Process the rolled oats in a food processor for about 30 seconds, until finely ground. Add the whole wheat flour, salt, and butter. Pulse to cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles sand. Gradually stream in cold water, pulsing just until the dough comes together. Be careful not to over-process or add too much water.
Remove the dough from the food processor, shape into a disk, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
While the dough refrigerates, preheat the oven to 325°F, and lighly spray a 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray.
Once the dough has chilled, roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness so that it will cover the entire tart pan. Press the dough into the tart pan and trim off any excess. Line with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment, and place one pound of dry beans or pie weights in the tart. Blind bake for about 20-25 minutes. Remove the weights and the foil/parchment, turn the temperature up to 350°F and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute the asparagus and ham with the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat (about 4-5 minutes, just until the asparagus is slightly tender). In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, and pepper.
Once the crust has baked, remove from the oven and fill with the asparagus and ham. Pour the egg mixture down over the asparagus and ham, and sprinkle with Gruyère cheese.
Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted. Broil for a minute or to to make the cheese golden and bubbly. Serve warm, and enjoy!