What can I say about this pie? Well, one, it’s probably a quiche. I don’t really know why the recipe calls it an “egg-pie” other than to delight me, so I wouldn’t care if you called it a quiche. Or an egg custard or something. You can call it whatever you’d like, actually, if you follow through with this and make it. Because henceforth there’s going to be a lot of whining about how complicated this recipe is. Just warning you.
It started out so simply. Roasting potatoes and mashing them into a pie plate. FUN, right? I was so on board with this pie at this point. Then came a relatively simple custard…some milk, some cream, some paprika, etc. No biggie. Then I remember doing a lot of things that annoyed me greatly at the time, like shredding a ton of cheese, separating eggs, boiling garlic in violently spattering oil for what seemed like an eternity, roasting asparagus in the extra oil from said garlic boil, and finely chopping a lifetime’s worth of thyme.
But now, looking back, it doesn’t seem so bad, especially if this pie is your main dish (which it should be). As it was I was making it along with a fairly complicated soup with an accompanying sauce, so I don’t really remember much about the whole experience except that a lot of time passed and when I was done it looked like a minor hurricane had passed through the kitchen. And to further convince you, this egg pie is really reeeeeallly good. I might even call it phenomenal. Might I? Yes, yes I believe I would.
And although my carefully placed starburst of asparagus tips migrated during the short trip from the countertop to the oven and ended up looking a bit like a drunk starfish, and although the edges of the crust were SLIGHTLY overdone (something a bit of foil could’ve prevented, had I been so prescient), and although I’m pretty sure this is not the healthiest egg pie ever created, I am now, upon writing this post, totally on board to make another one of these babies.
Repeatability, something I have difficulty finding in a dish given my obsessive search for the new and untested, is a high standard indeed. So if you have some sort of important brunch coming up, at which you’re announcing some kind of career-related or personal love-capturing or baby-making success to casual yet crisply dressed people, consider this pie. Or if you just want another way to eat eggs for any meal, which I fully support, much to the chagrin of my cholesterol levels, consider this pie. Or if you just want to keep up with your stress management skills, consider this pie. And consider yourself delighted after you’ve eaten the whole thing, because you will be.
Asparagus Egg-Pie with Potato Crust
from Pastries from The La Brea Bakery
For the Crust:
2-3 russet potatoes (1 lb)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Custard:
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs
2 extra-large egg yolks
3 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
3/4 cup (3 oz) grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 cup (4 oz) grated Gruyere or Comte cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
For the Pie:
18 small to medium whole garlic cloves, peeled (so….I used 5 large ones. sometimes too much garlic is too much garlic for me. but they were “jumbo” so I bet it about equalled 15 small cloves)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest (~1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp (1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
9-in round baking dish, lightly coated with melted butter
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 400˚.
Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until cooked all the way through, about 45 min to an hour. Allow to cool. Peel the potatoes and mash them with a fork.
To prepare the curst: Using your fingers, press the mashed potatoes into the bottom and sides of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 15 mins, until dry.
To prepare the custard: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk, cream, cayenne=, and 1 tsp of salt to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and egg yolks.
Add the creme fraiche, parmesan, and gruyere to the milk mixture, whisking to incorporate. Slowly whisk in the eggs and sprinkle with the thyme, set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the garlic cloves, olive oil, and lemon zest, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to cook just below a simmer, until the garlic is tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Strain the garlic, set aside, and reserve 2 tbsp of the oil for the asparagus, setting the rest aside for another use.
Place the asparagus in a roasting pan, toss with the garlic oil, and sprinkle with the 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Roast about 10 mins, until cooked but still slightly firm.
Cool and slice 12 of the asparagus stalks into 1-in pieces.
Evenly distribute the garlic cloves and asparagus in the crust, reserving the tips. Pour the custard over and dot with butter. Arrange the tips in a starburst pattern on top.
Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until set.