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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mushroom and Fontina Quiche

This quiche is always a hit. I think it's the fontina, one of my most favorite cheeses. There are few things easier to make than a quiche and they always seem much more sophisticated than they really are. It's especially easy if you use a store-bought frozen crust. I won't say anything about those (a-hem!), so I'll refer you to my fool proof crust recipe...just cut it in half: Fool Proof Crust

1 pie crust (refrigerated store-bought, or homemade rolled out and ready to go)
2 TB (1/4 stick) butter
2/3 cup chopped shallots (I don't like using onions - they overpower the quiche)
5 cups sliced assorted mushrooms (use shitakes - no stems! and baby bellas if you can)
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (use at least 2% if you can)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg (if you have it)
1 1/2 cups grated fontina

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Place crust in dish (use a deep dish) and poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown. **REDUCE heat to 325.

3. Melt butter in a skillet and add shallots. Saute until softened and then add the mushrooms. Cook until tender and beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate and cool slightly.

4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper and nutmeg. Stir in 1 cup of the fontina and add the mushroom/shallot mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

5. Pour filling into crust and bake for about 45 minutes until puffed, golden brown and just set in the center.

Coconut Layer Cake

Have I mentioned lately that I love all things coconut? I'm all over anything that smells like a bottle of suntan lotion. And coconut + cake? Even better! Here's a simple cake recipe that actually takes a fraction of the usual layer cake time. The secret is in the very thin cake layers which allow for quick cooling. And more layers = more opportunities for frosting. Everybody wins!

*This recipe makes about three 1-inch cake layers. Add to make more!

Vanilla Cake

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (don't have self-rising flour? Use 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus 2 1/4 tsp baking powder, plus 1/4 tsp salt)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (still needed even if you use substitution above!)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly butter three round cake pans. Nonstick pans come in very handy since the cake layers will be thin and fragile. (If you only have two, you can reuse one once the first two are out of the oven, it won't take long!)

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flours (and other dry ingredients if you substituted). Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until ingredients are incorporated, but don't overbeat!

6. Pour a third of the batter into each cake pan. You should have a very thin layer (1/2 inch or so).

7. Place the cakes in the oven and watch them! They will only take 5-10 minutes depending on thickness and your oven. Have a toothpick ready to test - they're done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. When baking thin layers like this, they'll likely bubble a bit like a pancake. Remove when just cooked through or else they'll come out like crunch cookies :)

Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened and cut into smallish pieces
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups confectioners' sugar
2 cups shredded coconut

1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth on medium speed. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Taste as you go, the sugar can be cut or added depending on preference. Add 1 1/2 cups of the coconut and mix to blend.

2. Ice your cake and sprinkle the remaining coconut on top.