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Looking for an eye-catching, delicious addition to the buffet table? These mini-quiches are easy to make, and we guarantee everyone will love them.
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 ounces) ice water
diced cooked mushrooms; cooked, crumbled sausage; grated cheese; pesto (traditional, or sun-dried tomato); cooked (or thawed frozen) broccoli; diced red pepper; smoked salmon; or whatever else sounds good to you
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) half and half
1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes, and work it into the dry ingredients (using your fingers, a pastry blender or fork, or a mixer) until the dough is evenly crumbly.
Sprinkle up to 3 tablespoons ice water over the butter and flour mixture, mixing until the dough is cohesive. Grab a handful; if it holds together willingly, and doesn't seem at all dry or crumbly, you've added enough liquid.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape it into a disk. Roll its edges along a floured work surface (as though the disk were a wheel), in order to smooth them out. This will result in a rolled-out crust with smooth, rather than ragged edges. Pat the disk till it's about 1-inch thick, and roll it like a wheel again. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight.
To assemble the quiches: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Select a pan: we use a pair of silicone mini-muffin pans (the quiche bites release from the pans beautifully), set on a baking sheet for stability. But feel free to use your own mini-muffin pan, or any mini-type muffin or quiche pan whose wells are about 4-teaspoon capacity.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, to soften. There are two ways to proceed. If you feel comfortable rolling dough, flour your work surface and roll the dough into a 14-inch circle. Use a 2 3/4" cutter to cut 24 rounds out of the dough, gathering and re-rolling the scraps. Center each round of rolled-out dough over a well of your chosen pan. Gently press the round into the bottom and around the sides of the well, making a built-up edge that extends just slightly over the rim of the well.
If you're a bit wary of the rolling process, divide the dough into 24 pieces, and roll each piece into a ball; each ball should weigh about 3/8 ounce (11g to 12g). Press each ball into the bottom and up the sides of the wells of your chosen pan.
Now for the filling. Drop a scant 1 teaspoon (measuring teaspoon, not a coffee spoon) filling into each of the dough pockets. Any little savory will do, from chopped ham or bacon bits to diced bell peppers, finely diced onion, olives, a cube of hard cheese... whatever your pleasure. Make the custard by whisking together the eggs, half and half, and salt. Fill each quiche bite to just under the rim with the custard.
Baking: Bake the bites for about 25 minutes, until the edges of the crust are brown, and the filling is puffed. Remove them from the oven, and after 5 minutes, remove them from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. Or serve immediately, if that's your pleasure. Yield: 2 dozen quiche bites.
Note: This recipe is easy to double, if you want to bake and freeze a bunch of these. To serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and heat briefly (8 to 10 minutes), lightly tented with foil, in a 350°F oven.