For the longest time, I disliked beets. It was a bunch of freshly pulled spring beets from a friend’s garden that turned me from a beet hater to a beet lover, and now I grow them every year. Since we don’t have a root cellar, I roast or cook the beets right after harvest and freeze them. The beet leaves, if they are still young and tender, go into the freezer as well.
My favorite beet recipes that I make often are Martha Rose Shulman’s Mushroom and Beet Borscht from The New York Times, Beet Green Risotto – and this Beet Quiche. The combination of beets and quiche might sound a bit odd at first. Don’t be deterred. Over the years I have gotten so many rave reviews for it, chances are that if beets are your thing, you will like it.My recipe is based on the beet quiche that I had once at a friends’ house. I tweaked it over time and swapped the rich butter pie crust with a terrific, easy-to-roll-out German low-fat pie crust called Quark-Ölteig that I adapted for the American kitchen using Greek yogurt.
The quiche is equally good with red or golden beets, or a combination of the two. If you think you must make it more palatable for carnivores, you can add some fried bacon or turkey bacon bits, but I see no need for it, it is quite substantial and tasty without.Beet Quiche
For the pie crust:
1/3 cup (3 ounces/80 g) 0% Greek yogurt), more as needed
2 tablespoons 2% milk
2 tablespoons oil (canola, sunflower, or any other oil with neutral flavor)
Pinch of salt
1 cup + 3 tablespoons (6 ounces/165 g) flour (all-purpose, whole wheat flour, or whole grain spelt flour, or a 50:50 mix of whole grain and all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 stalk leek, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly and washed thoroughly
2 cooked medium-size beets (about 12 ounces/350g), sliced thinly
½ cup (120 ml) 2% or whole milk
3 large eggs
¼ cup (30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
2. Mix all ingredients for the pie crust in a bowl with a wooden spoon until they form a ball. If the mixture is dry and crumbly, add more milk or Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Transfer to the countertop and knead with your hands until smooth.
4. Roll out on a lightly floured countertop, or between two sheets of wax paper. Grease a round 10-inch (25 cm) quiche dish and line the bottom and the sides with the pie crust. Trim any overhang or crimp it.
5. For the filling heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the leek over low to medium heat until soft but not browned. Let cool.
6. Arrange the beet slices in an overlapping pattern on the pie crust, starting at the outside. Sprinkle the leek on top.
7. In a bowl whisk milk, eggs and Parmesan until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour this over the beets.
8. Bake in the preheated oven till set and lightly browned, about 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting.
Makes 6 servings
Photos by Ted Rosen