Chef Ali West's Ramp and Goat Cheese Quiche Recipe

Ahh, spring! The laying hens are back to work after a somnolent winter. Farmers’ markets, co-ops and roadside stands abound with cartons of eggs in a riot of colors: blue, green, tan and ivory. And after months of hearty soups and stews for dinner and carb-heavy breakfasts, our thoughts turn to lighter fare like quiche, frittata and soufflés. Pick up some of the tender greens now emerging from the fields, or judiciously forage a handful of seasonal ramps and fiddleheads, and have fun blending these golden yolks with spring’s emerald hues. Ali West, formerly of H. N. Williams Store in Dorset and now at the fabulous Wells Country Store, suggests a quiche with caramelized ramps and fresh goat cheese. Now that the layers are back at work, pick up a dozen eggs and make them both!
Photography By Brent Harrewyn | July 14, 2016

Instructions

 
“This recipe looks like a lot of work but it truly showcases these incredibly fresh spring ingredients,” Ali West explains. “You can substitute a deep-dish store-bought crust, although taking the time to make your own will yield not only superb results, you’ll also have two extra crusts for the next round of quiches!”
 
Serves 6
 
Pie Crust 
(Note that this recipe yields three 8-ounce balls of dough, enough for 3 deep-dish pie crusts. Any unused dough freezes beautifully.)
 
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup ice cold water
 
Stir flour and salt in bowl. Cut in cubed butter with a hand pastry blender, two knives or a stand mixer. Mix until butter forms biggish chunks. Add ice water and mix to combine. If dough seems too dry, add a few drops more water; if too wet, add a bit more flour. Dough should be slightly tacky to the touch. Divide into 3 dough balls, each weighing about 8 ounces. Wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator to chill for two hours. This step allows the moisture to be completely distributed throughout the dough ball and also allows the gluten in the dough to relax. 
 
Quiche Filling
 
1 bunch ramps, approximately 16 ramps
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 whole eggs, preferably farm-fresh
2 egg yolks (you can freeze the whites in a small ziplock bag for another use, or feed to your dog)
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
 
Preheat oven to 375°.
 
To clean ramps, fill your sink (or a pan large enough to accommodate them) with cold water and swish ramps in the water. Let sit for a few minutes. Any grit should sink to the bottom and your clean ramps will float on the top. Remove from sink and pat dry in a paper towel to remove excess water. Separate the leaves from the thin stalk and bulb. Shred the leaves finely and reserve. Chop the stalks and bulbs.
 
Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and let it foam and sizzle a bit. Add the chopped stalks and bulbs to the pan and lower the heat to medium. Let the ramps relax and wilt. Don’t let them color too much, but a bit of gold around the edges is nice. Remove from heat.
 
For the crust: Remove a dough ball from the refrigerator. Dust the table liberally with flour where you will be rolling out the crust. Flatten the ball slightly and dust it lightly with more flour. With your rolling pin, roll the ball out to a 12-inch circle. You are more interested in getting the dough evenly rolled than the exact dimension of the circle. Carefully transfer to a 10-inch pie dish (preferably deep-dish). Tuck the overhanging dough under the edge of the dough that’s against the pie dish. Crimp this thick edge so it looks nice and won’t burn as the quiche bakes. 
 
For the custard: Beat 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks with the milk and heavy cream. Whisk in a bit of salt and pepper at this point, too. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese across the bottom of the chilled pie shell. Top with the cooled sautéed ramps and the shredded ramp leaves. Carefully pour the custard over top.
 
Place filled quiche dish on a baking sheet and slide into a 375° oven. Bake for approximately 35 minutes. The quiche should soufflé (puff up) and brown lightly. It will still wiggle a bit in the center but not look like waves rolling. Bake longer if need be. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting. Quiche should be served slightly warm or at room temp. Really cold quiche is just bleck ... and hot quiche is an accident waiting to happen!
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