This Mother's Day, after a trip to Manhattan to see my mom, we returned home and prepared for our first experience hosting a Mother's Day brunch. Four mothers were in attendance: my mother-in-law, her mother-in-law (Elizabeth's grandma), Elizabeth's aunt and a friend of Elizabeth's mom. All wonderful women. We were honored to have them.
Our choice of cuisine to pay proper homage? Quiche seemed right. Nothing too fancy, but certainly a classy dish and one with a distinct motherly quality (quiche is a type of pie, after all).
Of course, we'd never made quiche before, so we had our work cut out for us.
It was a dual between a duo of quiches, in fact. Elizabeth's mushroom and shallot quiche with fontina and my crab quiche with herbs and gruyere. Elizabeth also knocked out her beautiful and delicious mixed macerated berries. Here's what we did (thanks to epicurious.com for the quiche recipes):
Mushroom and Fontina Quiche
1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2/3 cup chopped shallots (about 3 medium)
5 cups sliced assorted mushrooms (such as chanterelle, stemmed shiitake, oyster, crimini, and button; 12 to 14 ounces), large mushrooms halved
4 large eggs
2/3 cup half and half
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese (about 7 ounces), divided (we spent a LOT on fontina. You could get away with less expensive grocery store swiss cheese, though)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Unroll crust completely. Press firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish. Bake until light golden brown, pressing on sides of crust with back of spoon if crust begins to slide down sides of dish, about 17 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate; spread out to cool slightly.
Whisk eggs, half and half, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina cheese and sautéed mushrooms. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over quiche.
Bake quiche until puffed, golden brown, and just set in center, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. Cut into wedges.
For pastry1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
[NOTE: we skipped the homemade crust on this one and used refrigerated pre-made pie crust. Proud? No. Happy with the time savings? Yes. I'd do it again.]
For filling1 (1-lb) king crab leg, thawed if frozen, or 1/2 lb lump crabmeat, picked over (I went the canned crabmeat route as I've heard crab legs bought fresh in KC, if frozen in transit from the ocean, can be mealy, mushy and a huge waste of money.)
4 large eggs2 cups heavy cream (I used half and half instead and this turned out to be a good call)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (I omitted this since cilantro is such a polarizing ingredient.)
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning such as Paul Prudhomme's (a reviewer of this recipe says to use Old Bay instead, so I did.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (1/2 cup) (I omitted this)
2 oz coarsely grated Swiss cheese (1/2 cup) (I replaced both cheeses with good, expensive gruyere. Yes, it was good, but it didn't have a flavor distinct enough to justify the price. Go with less expensive grocery store swiss.)
Whisk together eggs, cream, herbs, seafood seasoning, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, then stir in cheeses and crabmeat.
Both of our quiches turned out wonderful. The mushroom and shallot had a lot of girth from all the mushrooms. It was filling, salty...satisfying. My crab quiche was a great contrast. Its sweet crab flavor was distinctive and distinguished at once. The bottom of the crust was a little soggy, as can often happen with quiche. We did not solve this age-old quiche conundrum. But the rich ingredients made for a luxurious meal that our guests either loved or acted like they loved.
Elizabeth's Macerated Berries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
Sugar to taste (we use approx. 2 tablespoons)
Approx. 1 tablespoon Gran Marnier
Rinse berries in cold water and add to bowl. Add sugar and Gran Marnier. Stir to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit in fridge for 30 minutes. Mix again prior to serving. Serve cold.
Thanks to Elizabeth's mom, Leslie, who supplied the coffee and its accompanying cream.
Thanks, also, to my mom - who always finds sneaky ways to care for me, even now as I approach 30 years of age - for sending us back to KC with a loaf of her delicious blueberry bread. It held over the guests for the hour they had to wait as our quiche finished baking and then cooled down to be served.
As rewarding as it was to cook this food for our guests, and to successfully cook quiche for our first time, the overwhelming sense of reward we experienced came from seeing how happy these wonderful mothers all were, sitting and comfortably chatting with each other while they ate. It was a beautiful Mother's Day for us. Happy Mother's Day Maggie, Frances, Paula, Leslie and Mary. Thanks for being such great moms.