Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Lunch

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quails Egg Quichelets

So today, Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is called Green Thursday in Germany (not the only name, and no, I am not Catholic nor generally religious, so I am not going into the whole details of why, yadda yadda yadd… you all have the ability to google for yourselves), and some people eat green food today. Typically things that are leafy and herby and spring like. This year, given my work schedule, it kind of crept up on me (and Easter is particularly early this year) so I had to do what was in the house. Although, in my house, this involves quails eggs and smoked gouda. So, yeah, I’m a little odd when it comes to stuff in my fridge.

for the pastry
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

for the filling
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
20 quails eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
Dash nutmeg
6 ounces smoked gouda, finely grated

You will also need 4-6 mini-tart pans with removable bottoms.

First make your crust. Blend flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonful if dough is dry. Gather into ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Roll out chilled dough disk between two sheets of plastic wrap, until 1/8-inch thick and 2-inch wider than tart pans (so, about 6-7 inch circles). Invert dough into tart pans; press onto bottom and up sides. If dough is soft, chill until firm enough for remaining sheet of plastic to be removed. Trim edges of dough (patch up any holes or tears with extra dough). Chill until firm, about another hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line pastry in pans with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1-inch-2-inch overhang. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake tart shells just until dough has dried and does not look wet in any spots,
about 20 minutes. (If center still looks wet, bake crust without weights until dried and opaque, a few minutes longer.) Let cool while you make the filling. Lower the oven temperature to 325F.

While the crusts are baking, prepare your filling. In a large sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of the veggie oil and let come to a shimmer. Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until just fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add in the spinach. It may not look like it will all fit, but it will shrink down to very little. Once wilted (just a few minutes), remove to a paper towel-lined plate and using another paper towel, pat out some of the liquid.

Crack quail eggs into a large bowl and beat until well mixed. Wisk in remaining custard filling ingredients in, making sure there are no lumps. Add in spinach and about half the and stir until mixed well. If mixture seems too dry, add a little more milk, one tablespoon at a time.

Fill blind baked tart shells to 3/4 full. Top with smoked gouda. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until center are set and a knife inserted comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


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