Are you guys ready for Halloween? I sure am! While Greece is not so big on Halloween, and autumn can feel a bit different from what I am used to in the Netherlands (i.e. still a lot of sunny days that feel more like spring than summer and not too many pumpkins and autumn-y stuff around), I refuse to simply forget about this fun and spooky holiday! It’s such a great time to experiment with many creepy party snacks… however, you don’t really have to throw a Halloween party to enjoy this quiche, it tastes just as nice eating it on the couch while snuggled up under a blanket. Promise!
I first made this quiche back home in the Netherlands where October means the supermarkets are fully stocked with different types of pumpkin and squash. In Greece, not so much. However, you will find the occasional pumpkin, or butternut squash at the fruit market, so we ended up taking one home. Can’t find pumpkin? Use butternut squash instead. Squash, pumpkin, it’s all good!
This quiche is full of delicious autumnal flavors coming from the pumpkin, leek and thyme. The soft goat’s cheese on top gets slightly baked in the oven, turning the soft blobs of cheese into slightly crumbly salty bites that form a perfect contrast to the sweet pumpkin. The spiders… are very tasty as well!
My boyfriend and I had a lot of laughs creating the olive spiders on top of the quiche the first time we made it. There was some confusion about the spiders’ anatomical make up since I am not prone to look at spiders up close all that often. We ended up with all the spiders facing the ‘wrong’ way, as we were clever enough to remember their bodies consist of two parts, but not smart enough to remember that the little rounded part of their bodies are their butts…not their faces. Woops! Luckily, the spiders still looked creepy enough.
Of course, you can make this quiche on any other normal day as well. In that case you can simply add the olives on top of the quiche cut in half, or slightly chopped up.
Pumpkin and Goat’s Cheese Quiche with Olive Spiders (Halloween)
- For the pastry:
- 225g plain flour
- 150g cold butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of ice cold water
- For the filling:
- 450g pumpkin, or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 150g leek, cut in thin rings
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium-sized eggs
- 250ml cream
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 100g Gruyère, or similar cheese, grated
- 120g soft goat’s cheese
- 12 black Kalamata olives (for three spiders)
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 26cm tart tin with a loose bottom, or springform pan
- Baking paper
- Baking beans, or dry rice
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Prepare the pastry: In a bowl, mix the flour and cubes of butter in a bowl by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingers. Add the egg and a tablespoon of water and combine until a nice, smooth dough forms.
- Line the tin: Grease your tart tin, or springform pan with a bit of butter. Roll out the dough on a work surface lightly dusted with flour until its large enough to line your tin. Gently drape the pastry into the tin and press the sides to cover the edges; the sides of the quiche should be about 4 cm tall. If you wish, clean up the edges by trimming off excess pastry with the back of a butter knife. Chill the tin with the pastry in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
- Prepare the vegetables: place the cubed pumpkin in an oven dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake pumpkin in the oven for 30 minutes. When the pumpkin is done, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. In a frying pan, quickly fry the leek and diced onion with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the vegetables start to soften and release their liquids. When done, set aside to cool.
- Bake the pastry case blind: Take your pastry tin with pastry out of the refrigerator and line the chilled pastry in the case with baking paper. Fill with baking beans, or rice and bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes. When ready, remove the tin from the oven and gently lift out the paper and baking beans, or rice. Return pastry to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- To finish the quiche filling: whisk together the eggs, cream, dried thyme and grated cheese until combined well. Add the cooled down pumpkin cubes, leek and onion to the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and then pour the egg and vegetable-mixture into the pre-baked pastry crust. Tear, or crumble the soft goat’s cheese and divide clumps of cheese evenly on top of the other ingredients.
- To make the spiders (see picture in post for optional spider design): place three pitted Kalamata olives sideways and with some space between them on top of the other ingredients. Place another olive with the rounded side up next to the sideways olive to create the little round body of the spider. Cut the remaining olives into thin slivers to create the segments of the legs and place them around the olives that are on their sides. You will need 16 thin slices per spider.
- Place the quiche into the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C until the filling has set and the crust is fully baked. Let the quiche cool down slightly before removing the tin and serving.