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Leek and Red Pepper Mini-Quiches

Leek and Red Pepper Mini-Quiches
After removing the quiches from the muffin cups, you can let them cool for 1 to 2 hours and then reheat them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. They will not be as crisp, however.

Ingredients:

For the cheddar pastry:

  • 1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as
      needed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into
      pieces
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white portion only, or 2 large shallots, finely
      chopped
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into
      1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 lb. dry-aged white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

To make the cheddar pastry, in a food processor, pulse the cheese until crumbly. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the cheese is finely crumbled. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fluffy bread crumbs. Drizzle the egg over the mixture and pulse twice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the mixture and pulse until a rough mass forms. If the mixture doesn't come together, add another 1 Tbs. water.

Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Divide in half. Roll out half the pastry into a large round 1/8 inch thick, pushing the dough outward from the center and rotating it about a quarter turn each time you roll, sprinkling more flour underneath as needed.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry rounds as possible and ease them very gently into the cups of a mini-muffin pan. The bottoms should remain rounded and the dough edges flush with the rims. Gather up the scraps, reroll, cut out additional rounds and line additional cups. Repeat with the remaining dough half, working in batches if necessary. You should have a total of 48 lined cups.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

To make the filling, in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the bell pepper and cheese. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the cream, mustard, salt and cayenne. Add the egg mixture to the leek mixture and whisk to combine. Pour 1 Tbs. of the filling into each of the pastry shells, evenly distributing the solids and liquid.

Bake the quiches until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes (the quiches will sink a little as they cool). To loosen them from the muffin cups, run a thin-bladed knife around the sides, then carefully lift the quiches out of the cups. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes 48 warm bites.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Hors d'Oeuvre, by Brigit L. Binns (Simon & Schuster, 2001).