Pie crust proves to be difficult to make, even when it’s not gluten-free (GF). Working on perfecting the GF pie crust, I went back to basics and used my professional baking textbook from culinary school to find two different types of pie crusts: A flaky one and a mealy, enriched pie crust. I thought to myself, doesn’t everyone want a flaky pie crust as opposed to a mealy one? That tends to be the first complaint about GF baked goods: They’re mealy.
Regardless, I made up the two texturally different types with my GF adaptation magic and, low and behold, the flaky one was the winner. Well, as flaky as we’ll achieve being gluten-free. The mealy one turned out to be only slightly mealy, but was more like shortbread with egg yolk. (Maybe we will revisit that later.)
While looking at produce for the filling, I was struck at how beautiful leeks look this time of year. Leeks have a great, mild flavor that is slightly sweet with a light, almost chive-like character. So a leek and goat cheese quiche sounded like the perfect filling for my new pie crust as they are a great flavor pairing.
Keep it simple when making the quiche. I don’t recommend soft goat for this recipe – too much water and not enough flavor. Go for something that you can grate, with more character to it. While shopping, ask a cheesemonger for samples of different types of a semi-hard to hard goat cheese. You will be amazed how many different kinds there are. Pick your favorite and don’t worry about the strength of the flavor; the goat cheese and the leeks will be the stars of the quiche no matter what.
For the gluten-free pie crust:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, millet flour, salt, and sugar. Put the shortening into the food processer bowl, fitted with the blade attachment. Add in the mixed dry ingredients. Pulse until incorporated. (It will look mealy.) With the processor running, slowly pour in the cold egg whites. Stop immediately when it looks like uniform dough. Turn out the dough onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Place another sheet on top. Using a rolling pin, roll out into an even ¼-inch thickness. (The less you handle it, the flakier it will be.) Place in the refrigerator, as is, for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove top sheet from the pie dough. Carefully flip into your pie pan, exposed side down. Remove the other sheet. Carefully press into the bottom and the corners, pressing up the wall. Trim off the excess around the edges. (To give it a fancy edge, pinch, using the thumb and forefinger of one hand with your other forefinger between those two. It takes practice, but it is very pretty especially if you’re using a plain pie tin/pan.) If there are any gaps in the dough, just carefully patch up with excess dough. “Dock” or poke the bottom with a fork, to evenly distribute the dough to keep the crust flat and prevent it from rising. Prebake for 10-12 minutes until just barely lightly golden. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool, bringing it to room temperature before putting in filling. (Keep the oven on to bake the quiche.)
For the quiche:
The most tender and flavorful part of the leek is the white stalk. Since that part that was in the ground, it can be very sandy. Make sure to rinse it well. Trim the leek: Cut it length wise, then rinse, well. Cut into thin strips. Cook in a sauté pan with a teaspoon of vegetable oil (for a little flavor) over medium-low heat until they become soft and semi-translucent. Allow to cool.
To assemble, evenly sprinkle the sautéed leeks and the grated goat cheese into the cooled pie crust. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Pour the egg-milk mixture into the pie, covering the cheese and leeks completely and evenly. Carefully place the pie on a lined baking pan and place in the center of the oven. Bake at 375degrees until the filling is set, turning as needed for even cooking, until it is a light, golden brown color on top, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting (or it will not hold shape).