Monday, October 4, 2010

Ham & Parmesan Quiches

My husband and I have friends who always serve an abundance of delicious appetizers when we're visiting their home. Being that we are exceptionally more portable than they (with three young children to our one), we visit their home (two cities away; just under an hours drive) far more than having them to ours.

Not long ago, the stars aligned just so, and children were shuttled off to grandparents so our friends could attend a dinner - in our city. We decided that they should stop by our place afterwards for a few drinks, seeing as they were in town anyway.

Although they would be coming directly from dinner, I thought a few small appetizers might be appreciated. These quiches were a spontaneous idea inspired by a recipe found in a Fine Cooking magazine my husband had given me several Christmases ago, along with a miniature muffin tin.

I thought the quiches needed something more, perhaps a bit of good smoky paprika or even cayenne. In hindsight, I could have sprinkled on either of those spices even after they were baked but as you can see from the photo, I went with a small spoonful of sour cream instead.

The puff pastry was rolled out, cut out, pricked with the tines of a fork and baked, in the mini muffin tin, prior to adding the egg mixture. I used a tablespoon measure to transfer the egg mixture into the pastry pockets - far easier than attempting to successfully (and neatly) pour it.

Ham & Parmesan Puff Pastry Quiches
Makes 24
Inspired by Best of Fine Cooking Appetizers

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup minced ham
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Spray or otherwise lightly grease a miniature muffin/tart pan. Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Cut into 24 squares approximately 1 inch by 1 inch. Gently press each pastry square into a baking tin pocket. Prick the bottoms and sides of the pastry with a fork. Bake until lightly golden but not too dark as they'll be baking a second time. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, blend cornstarch, milk, cream, eggs, Parmesan and ham with a whisk. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Using a tablespoon measure, fill each pastry cup with approximately 2 tablespoons batter - you may use a little more or less than this but do not overfill as the quiche will puff slightly.

Bake approximately 20 minutes or until quiches are golden brown. Allow to cool slightly in pan and then remove to rack to cool. Serve either reheated slightly or at room temperature.

Just before serving, place a small spoonful of sour cream on top of each quiche.