I’d like to invent a whiteboard that operates in the shower. Genius has a habit of striking me between the shampoo and conditioner, and it would be helpful to jot down my bath-born epiphanies. Fortunately, the idea of Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola captivated me beyond forget.
Don’t ask me why I think about food while washing my hair—it’s probably the same reason I wake up at 2 a.m. consumed by thoughts of goat cheese pizza rolls. Fun twists on classic dishes are some of my favorite recipes to create, and I will take inspiration wherever it chooses to strike (though I do wish inspiration would develop a taste for locations near a pen and paper.)
Despite a shortage of writing utensils in my shower, the idea for Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola was too tantalizing to escape my consciousness, and I baked them for friends at a recent brunch. The combination of sweet caramelized pears, salty gorgonzola, and rich custard baked together in a flakey cinnamon brown sugar pie crust proved to be a trifecta of brunch euphoria.
To bake Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola, I used my new favorite kitchen toy: the Cake Boss Mini Pie Pan. I am such a sucker for mini dishes (reference: Mini Lemon Cheesecakes; Individual Gingerbread Bread Puddings with Bourbon Sauce). They are adorable, keep my dessert-inhalation to a more reasonable level (Ben’s lack of sweet tooth is my downfall—I have no one else to blame for the mysterious, rapid disappearance of a full-sized Peanut Butter Cake), and speak to the Happy Meal-loving kid inside each of us. Who wouldn’t love to have a personally-sized quiche to call their very own?
Plus, if the pie or quiche is mini, it’s open season on seconds…and thirds.
Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola are the perfect addition to a holiday buffet table: 1) They are surprising and scrumptious, and 2) They can be prepped entirely in advance. Bake Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola up to four weeks ahead of your celebration, cover with foil and freeze. On party day, pop them into the oven, and 25 minutes later you have piping hot mini quiches that taste every bit as fresh as if you had whipped them up that morning.
In preparation for holiday baking ahead, I’m teaming up with Microplane and Cake Boss for an exciting giveaway that will equip you to bake mini pies and quiches of your own. One lucky winner will receive:
One Cake Boss Mini Pie Pan: I was so impressed by this pan. My Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola lifted out with ease, and it was a cinch to clean.
One Cake Boss Beachwood Rolling Pin: A must-have tool for brown sugar cinnamon quiche crust. I’ve used this rolling pin many times over the past few weeks to fulfill my holiday pie and sweet roll needs, and I love how easily it handles.
One Microplane Zester/Grater: This baby has secured its place in my top-10 kitchen essentials line up. Grate hard cheeses, fresh spices, and citrus zest right into the bowl with no mess. It’s also perfect for adding fresh nutmeg to our Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola.
To enter the giveaway, follow the directions in the widget below. Please be patient if it takes a few moments to load (and don’t forget to complete the mandatory entry: leaving a comment below telling me your favorite dish with a crust.)
Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola are a savory, sweet, creamy breakfast gift wrapped in a flakey brown sugar crust package. Write yourself a reminder on a whiteboard, a notepad, or the back of your hand; just don’t forget to give these special quiches a try!
Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 (Will yield 6 mini quiches or 1 9-inch quiche)
Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola combine sweet caramelized pears, salty gorgonzola, and a luscious custard filling, all inside a flakey brown sugar cinnamon pie crust. Serve individual mini quiches for a fun brunch or dinner (everyone will love having their own individual quiche) or bake the recipe as a single, large quiche. Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola are also fantastic for entertaining, because they can be prepared up to 4 weeks in advance (see notes section below for make-ahead directions).
Cinnamon Whole Wheat Pastry Crust
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) very cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 to 4 tablespoons cold milk
Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 firm but ripe Bartlett pears, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 18 ounces)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup non-fat evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled
6 pecan halves, toasted
To Prepare the Crust: Dice the butter, then place it in the freezer while you prepare the other ingredients. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind oats for 30 seconds. Add all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and pulse again, just until combined. Add cubes of butter and pulse, just until the butter is the size of peas (about 8-12 pulses; not all butter pieces will be the same size.) With the machine running, pour 3 tablespoons milk into the feed tube and pulse just until the dough begins to form a ball. Add 1 additional tablespoon milk if the dough is not holding together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, form into a flat ball, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 6 mini pie tins (or a 9-inch pie shell) with cooking spray. If making mini pies: Divide the dough into 6 pieces (keep the pieces you are not working with in the refrigerator as you go). Roll each into a 6-inch circle, then transfer to the prepared pie shells. (If baking a single pie, roll into a 11 or 12-inch circle, then transfer to dish.) Crimp the sides, prick the crusts all over with a fork. Freeze the crust(s) for 15 minutes, then bake for 8-10 minutes (for mini pies) or 15 minutes (for a full size pie), until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
To prepare the quiche filling: Heat olive oil over medium high. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt, then add the brown sugar and cook until bubbly, about 3 minutes. Add the pear and sauté until tender, 3-5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, nutmeg, and salt, being careful not to create too many bubbles.
Scoop 1/4 of the pear-onion filling into each of the mini pie crusts (or place 1 and 1/2 cups in the center of a single pie crust. Pour the egg mixture over the top of each, until it nearly reaches the top, then sprinkle on gorgonzola cheese. (Any leftover filling or custard can be baked separately in a small dish or ramekin.)
Set mini-pie dishes (or single pie dish) on a large baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until the custard is set (for mini pies), checking at the 10 minute mark. If the crust is becoming too brown, tent with foil, then continue baking as directed. If making a single large pie, bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until the crust is brown and the filling is set. Garnish with pecan halves and set stand 5 minutes prior to serving.
To make ahead, fully bake the quiche(s), let cool completely, then cover the pan tightly with two layers of tin foil, and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To reheat: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Leave quiche pan covered with tin foil, remove from freezer, then place directly in oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until fully heated through (do not thaw.) Serve warm.