The egg is literally my favorite ingredient. It’s versatility is vast. It’s widely available and, like water, often an ingredient that is a bit taken for granted, under appreciated. I am fascinated by how it reacts when separated and whipped into fluffy pillows with the whites, or when yolks are spun into a golden ribbon when beaten with sugar. The texture of a tender, slightly jiggly custard is a thing I relish. The egg makes a meal unto itself, or, is happy to be a team player and serve as a binder for meatballs or can emulsify with oil into a luscious spread. It’s a satisfying protein and a humble thing.
Recently, at Chef Katie Averill’s Eat Street Culinary Cooking School, in Anaheim, we held a hands-on cooking class using several recipes from my Tea With Betty Book. One of my favorites is the egg cream filling for making individual egg tarts (or petite quiche).
This recipe I most enjoy using for mini quiche is so easy to make… add your favorite inclusions to your pre-baked pastry shell, then your egg mixture and voila…quiche. I don’t always add cheese as I just love the egginess to be like a custard, but feel free to pull anything you want from your refrigerator and garden to create your own tasty little pie. On this day, Chef Katie had found these darling, individual sized disposable tart pans for use in class. They worked well as a vehicle for students to carry home their extra cooked product. She found these at Home Goods.
Blind Baked Basic Pastry Shells (either store bought or homemade).
Egg Cream Mixture
Enough for 12 (2 ½” x 2 ½”) square tarts.
Preheat oven to 350º F.
¾ cup cream and ¾ cup milk (total 1 ½ cups milk product)
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Using a fork, beat all the ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.
Fill blind baked tart shells with various ingredients. Suggestions include:
A large pinch of shredded cheddar cheese, two roasted cherry tomatoes (skin removed), and a torn basil leaf placed in the bottom of the blind baked pastry shell. Then fill with cream mixture, carefully, just to the top of the shell. Bake about 20 minutes until cream mixture is set.
A large pinch of shredded mozzarella placed in bottom of blind baked tart shell and minced basil, parsley, thyme, and chives. Fill with cream mixture and bake approximately 20 minutes.
Note: Always use fresh eggs…check the dates. When possible, I use organic eggs. One day soon I plan on testing recipes with different eggs as there is a whole world of variety out there coming from our friend the chicken … a subject I am looking forward to researching…I can see a few “egg” test kitchen tasting experiments in my future.