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Quiche is a versatile French dish that you can use to show off your culinary skills without too much effort. You can serve quiche at breakfast, lunch, and picnics. It’s an excellent vehicle for any ingredients that you have on hand, from ham to vegetables.
Although quiche is not very difficult to make, it still requires some knowledge of technique, otherwise you may wind up with a mess in your tart pan. One of the most common problems quiche-makers experience is a watery quiche.
There are a few different reasons why quiche may be watery. Luckily, there are also several ways to salvage a watery quiche and prevent the same mistake from happening again.
Here is everything that you need to know about preventing watery quiches.
How to Make Quiche
Before understanding why a quiche may turn out watery, you need to know the basic technique involved in making a quiche.
First, you need a crust. You can make your own or use store-bought pie or tart crust for ease. Before adding the filling, you will need to par-bake or blind-bake the crust by filling it with pie weights and partially baking it.
Then, you need to make the savory custard that serves as the base for the quiche’s filling. The filling is made of one part egg to two parts milk or heavy cream. Whisk the egg and milk together.
Once the crust is par-baked, you can fill it with the filling. This can be anything from leftovers to cheese to vegetables (for some ideas, check out this quiche recipe). Finally, pour the custard over the quiche filling and bake your quiche.
The techniques involved in making quiche are relatively simple, particularly if you are buying the crust instead of making your own. However, there are a few steps in this process where you can go wrong and wind up with runny quiche.
How to Tell If Your Quiche Is Too Watery
First, you need to tell if your quiche is actually too watery to serve or if it just needs to be set for a little longer.
Quiche should be a little bit wobbly. That is because the filling is essentially a savory custard, which is wobbly and runny even when it sets completely. If you move your quiche and the filling jiggles a little, that is a sign that you made an excellent quiche and not cause for panic.
However, there is such a thing as quiche filling that is too runny or watery. If you notice that the filling is very runny and cannot hold its shape, that is a sign that your quiche is too watery.
Another tell-tale sign is the crust. If you notice a soggy bottom, that bodes poorly for your quiche.
1 – Overbaking a Quiche
It seems counterintuitive that overbaking your quiche could make the filling runny. Shouldn’t it dry out the filling and make it dry?
However, overbaking eggs leads to a strange chemical reaction. The proteins in the eggs start bonding together, separating from the liquids. This curdles the mixture by creating pockets of thick, solid custard surrounded by runny eggs.
You may have heard of curdling custard if you watched baking shows or read about custard-based desserts, but the same thing can actually happen in quiches if you overbake them.
The best way to prevent your quiche from overbaking is to keep a very close eye on it. Your quiche should bake for at least 45 minutes to cook the eggs fully. Once those 45 minutes have passed, if you need to leave it in for any longer, keep a very close eye on your quiche to prevent it from overbaking.
2 – Underbaking a Quiche
It seems particularly cruel that both overbaking and underbaking a quiche can lead to a runny filling. However, egg-based custards are finicky like that, whether they are savory or sweet.
Taking the quiche out of the oven too early means that the eggs did not have a chance to set properly. Not only will your quiche be watery, but you could also put your health in danger by eating eggs that are still raw!
Most quiche recipes recommend baking at 165 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 45 minutes. However, the baking time and temperature will depend on the size of your quiche, how many eggs you used, and any other ingredients that you added.
Checking if your quiche is done baking can be deceptive because often the crust looks done when the filling is not. To check if the filling is done baking, check the center with a toothpick. Don’t bother checking before 30 minutes as there is no way that the quiche will be done before then.
If you’re not sure whether you overbaked or underbaked your quiche, causing it to be runny, thinking about the baking time will help you figure out the cause.
3 – The Egg-Dairy Ratio Is Wrong
Like many French recipes, quiches rest on ratios. To get the right custard texture, you need to have four eggs per each cup of milk or cream that you are using.
To increase the size of your quiche or the amount of custard, you have to adjust the ratio accordingly. For example, if you are making a bigger quiche for more people, you may want to make double the custard. In that case, add eight eggs to two cups of milk.
Messing up this ratio will ruin the texture of the quiche. Too much dairy ensures that the custard will never set, resulting in a runny, watery quiche. Too many eggs will dry out your quiche, resulting in a filling that resembles scrambled eggs more than silky-smooth custard.
Luckily, the 4:1 ratio is relatively simple to remember and you can size the recipe up or down. When in doubt, use a calculator.
If you’re still having trouble even though you’re following the ratio, the size of your eggs might be affecting the ratio. Some bakers measure out their eggs using an electric scale to avoid this problem.
The temperature of the eggs and dairy will also affect the ability of the custard to set. Your ratios could be perfect, but if you didn’t bring your eggs and cream to room temperature before baking, that will still result in a watery filling.
4 – You Baked the Quiche in the Wrong Place
Believe it or not, oven placement does matter when baking your quiche. Ideally, you want to bake your quiche on a rack set in the middle of your oven.
If you put a quiche on the top rack, then the bottom will not get enough heat and you will have a watery, soggy crust. If you put it on the bottom rack, then the filling will not set properly.
The best place to bake a quiche is on the middle rack. If you cannot configure the oven that way, then put it on the bottom rack and be sure to check on the top of the filling often. Move it up part of the way through the baking time if you need to.
5 – Your Ingredients Have Too Much Liquid
If your filling has a high liquid content, then that will result in a watery filling.
A quiche can act as a base for all of your creative culinary impulses, but certain ingredients can release too much water as they bake and affect the texture of your filling.
Vegetables are some of the main culprits behind watery quiches. Many veggies release lots of water as they cook, which can thin out the custard. The best way to prevent watery vegetables from ruining your quiche is to choose vegetables with a lower water content, pre-cook them, and sometimes salt and drain them.
Your choice of dairy can also affect the consistency of your quiche. If you try to replace heavy cream with thin or liquid cream, then that will slow down the setting process. The best substitute for heavy cream if you are watching your fat content is milk.
How to Salvage Watery Quiche
Once you know why your quiche is turning out watery, there are a few ways that you can salvage your quiche.
Reheat the Quiche
If you underbaked the quiche, that’s the easiest solution. Just reheat the quiche again and check every five minutes so you don’t overbake it by accident.
Use a Bain-Marie Method
Putting your quiche in a bain-marie will reheat only the filling until the egg proteins come back together. To use this method, fill a large bowl halfway with boiling water then fit the quiche pan into the water bowl.
Once you’ve prepared the bain-marie, return the quiche to the oven. As the water evaporates, it will help your filling stick together while preventing the crust from overbaking.
Reheat Quiche with Aluminum Foil
If your watery filling led to a soggy crust, crisp the quiche back up by putting it into the oven on the bottom rack. Cover the filling with aluminum foil to prevent it from overbaking.
Watery quiche is one of the biggest problems when making this brunch classic, but you can easily avoid it by paying close attention to baking time and the egg-dairy ratio in your custard. If you still wind up with a watery quiche, you can usually salvage it by popping it back into the oven.