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Food
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Eggplant Quiche a savory summer keeper

Thursday, August 05, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

We've been holding a great recipe for just the right time of the year. And that time is now, because tomatoes and eggplant are readily available at all of the farmers' markets. Eggplant Quiche With Tomatoes and Olives ("Fannie Farmer's Cookbook," 12th edition) was sent in by Jennifer Kiley of Lawrenceville. We're running the original recipe along with a few changes Kiley made.

Kiley uses Pillsbury's All-Ready Pie Crust ("always with good results"); she never seeds the tomatoes and she substitutes canned tomatoes in the winter months (make sure you drain well). She reduces the cream amount to 1 cup and the eggs to 3. "A tart pan, quiche pan or 9-inch pie plate all work well," she writes. For readers concerned with fat intake, Kiley states, "Half and half, or even reduced-calorie or fat-free coffee creamer can be used."

We tested the original recipe and Kiley's version. Both were delicious, but there are differences. We tested Kiley's version first. Using All Ready Pie Crust was OK with us, as we've done it when pressed for time. We didn't seed the tomatoes, but found we had to drain them a little longer. Following Kiley's suggestion, we substituted half and half for the heavy cream, with good results. Of course, the filling wasn't as rich- tasting. But all in all this quiche was flavorful and made a beautiful presentation.

As for the original recipe: We must warn you that the preparation time is at least 1 1/2 hours. Don't let that stop you -- this quiche is delectable. We do suggest that you read the recipe before beginning and don't forget to drain the vegetables and filling when the directions tell you to do so. We forgot the final draining, which left us with a soggy crust.

Either version of Eggplant Quiche With Tomatoes and Olives makes a perfect dish for hot summer days. Serve hot or cold.

Eggplant Quiche With Tomatoes and Olives

1 small eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped and drained (about 1 1/2 pounds), see note
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup pitted black olives, sliced
Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crumbled
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 unbaked tart pastry shell, without sugar (recipe follows)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the eggplant on an oiled pie plate and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a fork. Turn up the oven to 425 degrees. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel it and coarsely chop the pulp. Put in a colander with the tomatoes, press once gently to drain, and let stand for 15 minutes.

Heat skillet and sauté the onions in the oil slowly until soft; add the garlic, eggplant and tomatoes and sauté 2 minutes, then add the olives, salt, pepper and oregano. Cook 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Put the eggplant mixture in the colander and drain 2 to 3 minutes.

Beat the eggs and cream in a bowl until mixed. Spread the eggplant mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the egg mixture over the eggplant and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 300 degrees and bake for 30 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve in wedges, hot or cold.

Note: To seed tomatoes, halve the tomatoes horizontally, hold each tomato half over a bowl and squeeze to remove seeds.

Tart Pastry

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound cold butter, in small pieces
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons ice water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal or tiny peas.

Whisk the egg yolk and water together in another bowl, add to the flour mixture, and blend until the pastry is smooth and holds together in a ball. Food processor method: Process first the flour, salt, and butter quickly together, then add the egg yolk and water through the funnel and process until the dough balls up around the blade.

Wrap in foil or plastic and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. You can roll this dough out with a rolling pin, but you would have to chill it, wrapped in plastic, for at least 20 minutes. We find it easier to pat it into a pan or springform pan with our hands. Pull pieces of dough from the ball and press them over the bottom and sides of the pan, using the heel of your hand. The dough should be thick enough to hold the filling, but be careful that it is not too thick around the bottom edge or the finished tart will seem coarse. If there's time, cover the lined pan snugly with foil and refrigerate it before filling and baking it. Bake as directed in the filling recipe, or prick the bottom with a fork and bake it unfilled for 12 minutes in a preheated 425-degree oven. If you use a springform pan, do not remove the sides until you are ready to serve the tart.

Requests

?????Annette Fulena of New Castle writes:

"I read your article all the time and enjoy it very much. Even though I am 63 years old and have raised four children and have 10 grandchildren, I love to cook and still find marvelous recipes in your articles.

"I am looking for a recipe for blackberry brandy. We just picked raspberries and made jelly, but we want to pick some blackberries and make brandy this year."

Readers, if you have a recipe for blackberry brandy, send it in quickly before the season is over.

?"It is the best hummus I've ever tasted, very tangy, lots of lemon and garlic. My mouth waters just thinking about it," said Karen Newell of Deer Lakes of the hummus sold in the gourmet deli of the Giant Eagle, Waterworks. Karen would like the recipe or something very similar.


If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.



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