When my friend Chrissie and I turned 18, our mothers threw us a brunch. In my mind, it was an incredibly lady-like affair. At noon on a Sunday, Mom set out good china and silver. We dined on vegetable lasagna, artichoke quiche, and green salad. Jeanne and Chrissie’s mom, Barbara, even allowed us girls a splash of Mimosa. “You’re ready to learn how to drink like a grown up,” they insisted.
One of the more poignant moments in most people’s lives come when their parents begin to treat them as adults (I mean, wasn’t that the theme The Wonder Years milked through countless seasons?). To me that brunch signified just such a Wonder Year’s moment. And while the bubbly felt good, the elegance of the artichoke quiche (also known as artichoke pie) really said it all.
Many people like to recount Mom at her most outrageous, and, Lord knows, she gave us plenty of material. (In fact, there’s another famous Jeanne debacle from my third grade birthday with Chrissie, which involve roller skates and a crushed cake. But I digress….) Jeanne was also a lovely, gracious, entertainer. This brunch embodied her grace. I don’t want to lose sight of that side of her.
As I turned 38 this week, I decided to mark the 20th anniversary of Mom and Barbara’s illustrious brunch with a little artichoke pie. As I mentioned before, this one is a decoding doozy. The recipe looks logical enough at first glance, but gets pretty dicey once you begin. So this time, I published the original, followed by a reworked version. PLEASE NOTE: I have yet to eat the quiche. I popped it in the freezer so that Chrissie and family can join us next weekend for a sampling. Stay tuned.
The Original Artichoke Pie
1 ½ packages of frozen artichokes (Bird’s Eye) or
Sauteed garlic, oil and crushed peppers (optional)
2 tablespoons grated cheese
8 oz mozzarella, diced or shred
Mix three ingredients above
Pour into defrosted 9” pie shell, can cover with another crust. Bake 350 degrees for an hour.
It’s the instructions that always kill me. At this point, my husband usually places the unopened can of artichokes and un-cracked eggs into our pie crust, and calls it a day. Mission completed. While Mom’s recipe is quite simple, it’s a tad more complex than “pouring the ingredients into a pie crust.” Here’s how I broke it down:
Artichoke Quiche (According to Amy)
1 defrosted 9” pie crust (Having yet to master my own pie crust, I recommend Sara Lee’s crusts, which come rolled up and frozen, and you unroll into pie dish)
1 to 2 cloves of garlic (depending on size of cloves), finely diced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 twelve oz can of artichoke hearts, drain and reserve liquid for later
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
8 oz mozzarella (diced or shredded)
1 Tablespoon of parsley
Heat olive oil until shimmering (that’s how they always say it in F+W. Doesn’t it sound good?). Sautee garlic and crushed red pepper (I added a twist of black pepper too) for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside.
Beat eggs in large bowl. Mix in mozzarella, parmesan, parsley, excess liquid from artichoke hearts, and garlic/oil combo. Arrange artichoke hearts in pie crust, and pour mixture over.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. (For freezing, I only baked it 40 minutes, and will reheat, covered, for 20 minutes next weekend.)
True confessions: Like Mom, I am no perfectionist. I originally overestimated how much artichoke to use, and wound up with WAY too much. We’re talking a mess of mozz and artichokes. So, I improvised. Beat two more eggs, scooped in half the original mixture, mixed it up, and poured into a second pie crust. Voila! Les quiches deux. No fear. I put the edited measurements in this recipe.