When I studied abroad in France, I lived with a host family. The French word for host family is famille d’accueil, literally “welcome family”. My host family took this role very seriously. The day I arrived, they threw a huge party and invited all their friends to come meet their awkward, sleep deprived, jet-lagged American daughter. From the moment I was picked up from the airport, I was woven seamlessly into their family, participating in every meal and family event, voting on selections for movie night and my favorite- baby sitting.
One day, my host mom asked me to help my four year old host brother to make a quiche. I agreed, expecting to do most of the work while he helped mix or find spices. I was terribly wrong. Upon entering the kitchen, Nils asked me to turn on the oven and dice an onion for him- he’s not allowed to touch the oven or knives. I happily complied. He looked over my shoulder as I prepared the onion. “Those pieces look big, maybe you should mince it?”. I raised an eyebrow. What four year old knows the word for mince? He was lucky I knew the word for mince. He went back to discussing the plot of Ice Age 4, and I returned to my onion.
“Could you sauté them?” he asked when I was done with my onion, “I’m not allowed to use the stove.” He was whisking eggs in a bowl. I offered to help, but he declined, and I again returned to my onions. As I sautéed, I watched as this petit chef strolled through the kitchen, measuring out ingredients and mixing the filling for the quiche. He added my onions to the mixture, poured it into his already-fluted pie crust, and handed it to me, asking if I would please put it in the oven while he set the timer. I was floored. This four year old had just made a quiche.
He had the entire quiche recipe memorized. He knew how to measure the ingredients, how to crack the eggs and mix the batter. He knew what temperature to cook it at and for how long. He could make almost the entire quiche by himself, save the “grown-up parts”, like using sharp knives and the stove.
I’ve adapted my quiche recipe based on the availability of ingredients in the states. The quiche I make most often is Spinach Quiche, or Quiche aux épinards. How easy is this quiche to make? So easy, a four year old could do it.
- 1 pie crust (I usually use pre-made to save time)
- 1 cup milk
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 9 ounces spinach
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Press pie crust into pie pan and pierce crust with fork. If using homemade pie crust, bake for 10 minutes or until crust is dry. This step is not necessary when using pre-made crust.
- Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until garlic is translucent. Add spinach and cook until wilted, remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, mix milk, eggs and flour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese and the cooked spinach/onion/garlic and mix well.
- Pour mixture into pie crust.
- Sprinkle the top of the quiche with nutmeg. For me, this is one of the marks of a true quiche.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent burned edges.
- Let stand until serving temperature, or about 10 minutes.