A woman was shopping with a girl in a cotton candy pink dress, the kind I would kill to have to wear to church as a kid. It flared and on her feet were white ballet flats. My church clothes were mostly embarrassing to myself. Hand-me-downs from my cousins, they looked fine but once I started noticing how awkward it was to be me, the clothes might as well have been a clown suit. “Mom,” she said from the cart where she sat, stretching out the one syllable, defining her main relationship, “can I have a gummy bear?”
“I don’t know,” she said to her daughter. She spoke loud. Not in a jarring way but with confidence. She went on to ask me if I’d ever used a spice mix that we sold and I said I hadn’t. I was half-expecting another “you look Indian” type conversation. My bad. “This would go great in the crockpot,” she told her daughter. She told me she loved making curries in the crockpot. Put everything in and let it cook. I couldn’t disagree – I’ve never tried it. Her daughter asked to get out of the cart. “First you wanted to ride in the cart and now you want to get out. Which one is it?” mo-oooom said, with zero irritation in her voice. “I want to get out!” She lifted her out, got a few squeezes and the kid ran right to the gummy bears and right back to her mother. Although they didn’t look like mother-daughter, they were mirror images of each other in so many ways. I could tell they had the best adventures. She asked again if she could have a gummy bear and this time mom said, “You have to ask her,” pointing to me. Broom in my hand, I told my little friend that I would need to wash my hands first. She spied on me from behind the little submarine window on the backroom door, hid and jumped out to scare me when I came out. I played along and told her I had never been so scared in all my life. She wanted the bright yellow gummy bear (my favourite colour, I told her).
I gave her two gummy bears. She did almost-splits and asked her mom to help her back up. She fake fainted. She fell to the floor and said, “I’m so happy.” She laid there with her eyes closed and as her mom and I talked, she was saying, “Help me mom!” I told her that this 5-year-old fireball would be great in theatre. Her fainting motion was excellent. She expressed the most pure joy I had ever seen at the sight of a gummy bear. The stage was her calling. After ignoring her for a few seconds as she lay on the floor of the store with her eyes closed and tongue out, her mother asked her, “So how should I wake you up? Should I give you a kiss like Sleeping Beauty?” The girl nodded yes, tongue still hanging out in the classic dead pose. Her mom got down on her knees and enveloped her girl in a big kiss. Slowly, the little girl opened her eyes and they both stood up together. The mom asked her, “What now? Should we get married? Will you be my wife?” There was a pause. The only other person near us looked and chuckled. She nodded and they both hugged. It was a sweet moment and I almost got sucked into it until the mom spoke again. “My dear,” she said looking right at her girl with whatever seriousness she could muster in the moment of child’s play, “don’t ever marry someone who wakes you up with a kiss.” “Why?” her baby asked, looking slightly confused at the twist in the tale. “You have to be awake to say yes to whoever wants to kiss you. They have to ask first.”
“That’s right,” I thought, wishing someone told me that when I was younger (not like I went around letting people kiss me but I wish I had more confidence to say no, in general). I gave mama bear a visual high-5 as they got ready to go back to their shopping list, little girl skipping away still high from the gummies. “Never too early for a lesson in consent,” she explained to whoever was in earshot. “That’s right!” I said, this time aloud.
I think I might make a crockpot curry.
If you’re celebrating tomorrow, Happy Easter and then Happy Easter again for the following Sundays. Sometimes I tell Catholic jokes.
- Though this recipe uses a springform pan, you can also use a pie pan that’s about 3 inches deep. Don’t have one that deep, reduce the egg custard filling by a 1/4 or make the whole recipe and scramble the leftover filling for a breakfast sandwich.
- You can make the dough up to 5 days ahead or freeze it and thaw in the fridge before rolling it out.
- Try to pick the younger leeks (they are thinner). They taste more tender.
- Make sure your herbs are rinsed and dried in advance. Nobody likes soggy quiche.
For the crust
9 inch springform pan
- 250 gms/2 cups all-purpose flour
- A good pinch of salt
- 125 gms/ 9 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 7-9 tbsp or 1/3 cup ice cold water
Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut your butter into 1 inch cubes and then put it back into the fridge to chill for about 15-30 minutes to firm back up. You can skip the re-chilling step if you cut fast.
Press the chilled butter into the flour so that they form flat-ish, pea-sized flakes in the flour. Once you’ve broken down most of the big chunks of butter, add the cold water a tbsp at a time until the dough comes together into a shaggy mess. Knead the dough lightly, being careful not to over-mix.
Lightly flour a working surface and turn the dough on to it. Bring the dough together, kneading it 2 or 3 times to make sure there are no dry flour spots. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it tight in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour before rolling it out. You can make the dough up to 3 days ahead.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut out two sheets of parchment paper and lightly dust one of the sheets with flour. Take the dough out of the fridge and go around it with your thumb pressing the edges* down. This helps the dough from cracking along the edges while you roll it out. *BOOM*.
Dust the top of the disc with flour. Roll out the dough in between the two sheets of parchment paper, starting from the middle and going into the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock directions, turning it around as you go. If the parchment on the top starts to stick, dust with flour as you go. Roll into a 14 inch round. Peel the parchment paper off from the top. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and carefully lay it into the springform pan (save the parchment paper). Adjust the dough to fit and press it lightly around the bottom edges of the pan. Trim the dough just below the rim. Save the trimmings to patch up any holes later (I kept them in the freezer. Freeze the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
Line the dough with the parchment paper you use earlier and fill it with cheap dried beans or pie weights, ideally right up to the rim (I did not have enough beans so I filled it half way, which made my crust lose some of its shape. I’ll get more next time). Place the springform pan on a large baking tray and bake until the crust is golden brown (you can look below the parchment paper). Remove the dried beans carefully and patch up any holes with the dough trimmings, if needed. Bake the crust for 5 more minutes till the trimmings look opaque. Cool the crust completely. You can bake the crust a day ahead. Cover and keep it in the fridge.
For the filling
Adapted from Everything I Want to Eat by Jessica Koslow
- 4 leeks, outer layer and dark green part removed (about 3 1/4 cups)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric)
- 1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 6 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup assortment of other herbs like oregano, thyme, basil, mint
- 1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F
Halve the leeks, rinse them off well and chop them into rounds. Heat the butter on medium heat in a skillet. Add the chopped leeks and cook them for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low if they start to brown (some brown is okay though). Once the leeks look silky, stir in the haldi (turmeric) and kasuri methi. Take the skillet off the heat and mix in the crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Let it cook completely.
Whisk the eggs, yolks and heavy cream in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the herbs.
Layer the bottom of the quiche crust with blue cheese crumbles. Spread the cooled leek mixture on top (you can also add it to the egg mixture, but this is how I did it). Pour the egg mixture on top and lightly swirl a spoon through it.
Place the springform pan on a baking sheet and put it in the oven until the quiche has lightly browned on top, set around the sides, but it still jiggly in the middle, about 75-85 minutes. Let it cool completely before unmoulding, slicing and enjoying with strawberry mimosas for Sunday brunch!