Sunday Brunch: Blood Orange Curd and a Spinach and Broccoli Quiche

Washington, D.C. has been breathtakingly beautiful for the past few days. It feels as though we are on the very edge of true spring weather, and I can hardly wait for the District to be covered in a colorful array of cherry blossoms, dogwood petals, and daffodils. With warm sunshine brightening up the house, it seemed like the perfect morning for a decent Sunday brunch.

My friend Caroline stayed over last night after baby-sitting and once again served as my sous-chef. We decided to be ambitious, and our spread included fresh blueberries and strawberries, a broccoli and spinach quiche, whole wheat crepes, nutella, and blood orange curd. We shared our feast with my housemates Doria and Mary, and it was the perfect start to this lazy Sunday.

As always, recipes are below. The crepe recipe is the same one that I used for these spinach-filled crepes. Sure, they were filled with nutella and blood orange curd, but having whole wheat in them should count for something, right?? Happy Sunday!

Spinach and Broccoli Quiche

So, I gave up cheese for Lent. I know, I know, strange choice, but my fine cheese budget is a bit too high for my liking. As a result, this quiche is cheese-less, which also happens to make it healthier. That being said, this would also taste delicious with a little bit of goat cheese or feta tossed in to the mix.

Ingredients:

For the crust (I always use the Williams-Sonoma recipe for quiche dough)

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter – cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup of vegetable shortening
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice-cold water

For the filling (Improvised by Caroline!)

  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup of milk (we used skim)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, stems removed
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-size pieces (about 1½ cups)
  • ¼ onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together your flour and salt. Using a fork, your fingers, or a pastry blender, work the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs but still has a few slightly larger pieces of butter (for flakiness).

  • Add in your water, one tablespoon at a time, until a rough mass forms. Depending on how dry or humid your house is, this could require anywhere from 3 to 6 tablespoons of water.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface, then roll out into a 11-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  • Repeatedly poke the bottom of the crust with a fork, then blind-bake in the oven for 15 minutes. If the crust starts to puff up while baking, use a fork and poke it a bit more where air-bubbles are forming.
  • While the crust bakes, make your filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add in your vegetables and stir to combine.

  • Pour the mixture into the pre-baked tart shell and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 30 minutes. The quiche is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serves 8.

Blood Orange Curd

Recipe taken from Sharky Oven Gloves.

I love traveling, and my favorite thing to do when I travel is to wander about a city, getting a feel for the culture and learning the ins-and-outs of the city streets. Caroline’s and my favorite pastime in Florence was to take long, winding walks around the city after picking up a fresh blood orange from a fruit stand. As these are slightly harder to come by in D.C., we try to use them as much as possible when they can be found. We served this curd with some fresh crepes, berries, and Nutella. If you combine the Nutella and the curd, it seriously tasted as though you were eating a chocolate orange.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized blood orange
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 oz butter
  • Scant ½ cup of caster sugar (we didn’t have any of this, so used a combination of granulated sugar and powdered sugar)
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

Directions:

  • First, zest and juice your orange and lemon. Set aside.

  • Set a large, heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bowl. Add in your butter and whisk until melted.
  • Whisk your sugar into the butter, then add your orange/lemon juice and zest. Whisk to combine.

  • Quickly whisk in your eggs, one by one. After the eggs are incorporated and are not at risk of scrambling, switch to a spatula. Stir constantly and do not allow the mixture to boil. When it has thickened to the point that it coats the back of the spatula, turn off the heat and transfer the curd to a serving bowl.
  • The blood-orange curd can also be stored in a sterilized jar if you do not intend to use it right away.

Makes about 1 cup.

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