A versatile dish for any time of day

The best thing about quiche is that you can eat it at any time of day, at any temperature and with anything in it, as long as you have a good base recipe.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with quiche, it’s a simple egg dish baked in a crust. It usually contains cheese, vegetables and meat, but is also simple enough to improvise and include only what you want. The base recipe I use is from Joy. I know I’ve posted a few recipes from the book so far, but there’s a reason it’s an American classic. I use Joy’s Pat-in-the-Pan Butter Dough for the crust and the Cheese Quiche recipe for the filling.

Gouda is my favorite cheese to use and I like to add red bell peppers, crispy prosciutto and chives to the filling. I’ve found that sauteing the vegetables and herbs ahead of time helps them cook better. If you choose to use spinach, make sure you cook it before throwing it in the filling. The general rule of thumb is not to leave the pieces of chopped vegetables too thick and not to overload the quiche — don’t use more than about 1 1/2 cups total of additions. If you use more, there may not be enough egg mixture to hold it together.

Once the quiche is done, you’ve got a meal that you can eat hot or cold at any time. It’s a good standby to have in the fridge, whether you’re expecting company or just know you won’t have time to cook during the next couple days.

Crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into eight pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 beaten egg yolk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir flour and salt together. With your hands or the back of a fork, mash butter in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle heavy cream over the top of the crust and mix in until the crumbs look damp and hold together. Pat dough into a pie dish or tart pan. Prick crust with a fork so it won’t bubble up while cooking. Bake crust for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.

After the crust comes out of the oven, turn the heat down to 375 degrees and brush the warm crust with the egg yolk.

Filling
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (Gouda, cheddar, Monterey Jack and Swiss work well — you can use more than one kind if you’d like)
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
1/2 small onion, grated
1/8 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
(1 1/2 cups total of any chopped vegetables, meat or other additions)

Sprinkle the cheese onto the crust. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until no streaks of egg white remain. Pour the mixture evenly over the cheese in the pastry shell. Bake until the filling is puffed around the sides and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

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Layer up for a weeknight meal

Pesto, red peppers and cheese are three of my favorite things to eat, so when I saw them all used in AP Food Editor J.M. Hirsch’s Deep-dish Pesto and Prosciutto Tortilla Pizza, I knew I had to make it.

The recipe requires two different layers to be used three times each. One layer has tomato sauce, prosciutto and onion; the other has pesto, red peppers and olives. The prosciutto and peppers provide a nice contrast to the texture of the cheese.

Biting in to a too-thick slice of onion can ruin the dish, so take the time to slice it as thin as possible. A mandolin is a great tool to use for this recipe, as it will help to slice the onion and red pepper really thin. But be careful not to slice your hand in the process — been there, done that.

It’s also important to make sure you press down on each layer before you build the next; otherwise, the ingredients tend to heap in the process and will slide out during the baking process.

Deli meat can be used in place of prosciutto, but I prefer prosciutto because it adds a nice bit of saltiness amid all the cheese and vegetables. There is a substantial amount of cheese used in this dish so that can be reduced. It’s a rich meal but, depending on how many will be eating, you’ll have leftovers for days.

This pizza would be good to make with kids, too, because most of it requires sprinkling ingredients on a tortilla and ingredients they don’t like can easily be substituted. It can also be constructed ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to pop it in the oven for dinner, which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients
7 large (about 10-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup prepared tomato or pasta sauce
6 slices prosciutto
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
3 cups (two 6-ounce packages) shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups (two 6-ounce packages) shredded mozzarella cheese
7 ounces of pesto
1 large red bell pepper, cored and very thinly sliced
3.8-ounce can sliced black olives

Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place one flour tortilla in the center of the baking sheet. Spoon a third of the tomato sauce evenly over the tortilla, then top with two slices of prosciutto and a third of the sliced onion.

Sprinkle a bit less than 1/2 cup of each cheese over the pizza. Place a second tortilla on top and gently press the tortilla to compress and flatten it. This helps the pizza stack evenly.

Spoon a third of the pesto over the tortilla, then top with a third each of the sliced pepper and black olives. Top with more cheese, then another tortilla, pressing gently again.

Repeat with remaining ingredients, alternating the fillings for a total of six layers (three of each), gently pressing the stacked tortillas before adding each new layer.

Top with a final tortilla, a bit more tomato sauce or pesto and the remaining cheese.

Bake on the center rack for 35 minutes, checking frequently during the final 5 to 10 minutes to make sure the top doesn’t burn. If the top browns too quickly, tent it with foil.

Remove the pizza from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut the pizza as you would a pie.