Crustless Quiche, Loaded with Kale

crustless quiche, loaded with kale

I was so lazy this week. Looking to add a little more roughage to my diet, I piled a whole head of barely chopped kale into a pie dish, submerged it with custard, and threw it in the oven.

I suspected it would be good. I make crustless quiche nearly once a week, always with uncooked greens, always with fresh thyme, always with crème fraîche, always following the Tartine recipe. But I worried a bit about the quantity of greens this time. It was a little absurd.

The result, however, couldn’t have made me happier. My crustless quiche had in fact become crusty, thanks to the upper most layer of leaves poking though the custard surface, which, having cooked for 40 minutes unprotected by the custard, had essentially crisped into a layer of kale chips. Yum.

That said, I felt fortunate to have been cooking for one that evening. The quiche was impossible to cut — the knife snagged greens from right and left at every stroke — and it looked like total slop on the plate. Perfect for me — I love slop — not so perfect for company, not so perfect for sharing with all of you.

Aesthetics asides, I love the flavor of loads of raw greens in quiche. And so I made another one, this time with just a few fewer greens, which I chopped just ever so coarsely. The result? A delectable balance of roughage and custard, suitable even for company.

Without a crust in the equation (a traditional crust that is), this sort of quiche is effortless to whip up for a weeknight dinner. It still takes time, however — 40 minutes in the oven and an essential 20 minutes of resting, which allows its light and creamy texture to set. But if you’re looking to make the whole shebang, here’s Tartine’s quiche recipe in its entirety.


crustless quiche loaded with kale

crustless quiche loaded with kale

Crustless Quiche, Loaded (or not) with Kale

5 large eggs
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 cup crème fraîche (see recipe below)
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. fresh thyme*, finely chopped
1 to 3 cups** uncooked coarsely chopped kale or chard or mustard greens, etc

* Thyme is amazing (seriously, so good), but tarragon, chives, basil, really whatever herb you like will work.
** Aesthetically, 1 cup is perhaps the ideal amount, but if you’re looking to add some more roughage to your diet, 2.5 to 3 cups will do the trick. Definitely give it at least a rough chop.

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

2. Place 1 egg and the flour in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 4 eggs until blended.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the crème fraîche until smooth. Whisk in the milk. Pour the egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve held over the milk mixture. Whisk in the salt, pepper and thyme (or other herb).

4. Pile your greens into a pie plate. Pour the egg mixture over the greens, then press the greens down with a spatula so they are submerged in the custard. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and bake until the filling is just set, about 30 minutes longer. The center of the quiche should still feel slightly firm, rather than liquidy, when touched. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set up, so that it will slice neatly. It can be served warm or at room temperature. To serve a fully cooled quiche warm, cover it with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 325ºF for about 15 minutes.

* To make crème fraîche, place 2 cups heavy cream in bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt or 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Stir to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Stir. Mixture will be nice and thick. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

This is how I chopped the greens second time around — the smaller pieces make for a slightly nicer eating experience.

chopped kale

02. March 2012 by Alexandra Stafford
Categories: Breakfast, Eggs, Entrees | 49 comments

Comments (49)

  1. I just made a kale frittata, but I know I would love this just as much. The idea of crustless is so appealing to me.I love your pie plate too

  2. This looks like the perfect healthier version of a quiche and I, too, love the Tartine version. Yum!

  3. Alexandra–you are hilarious. Somehow I just can’t imagine you loving “slop.” None of your pictures ever looks like that! I love the idea of not cooking the greens. Thank you. This is a great idea.

  4. A great way to eat more kale~!

  5. Love this! This is how we should all cook. Listening to our bodies nutritional needs along with our palates desire. Delicious!

  6. love the easiness and greenness of this great recipe..i’m looking forward to giving it a go..

  7. A great idea!! The crunch of the crust can be nice but for an every day dish most of us can do without it….this looks delicious!

  8. This is a creative way of making a kale dish. A good recipe especially for vegans.

    I hope this is an acceptable way for the chefs of Michelin at

  9. I’ve tried to make the creme fraiche but it didn’t work at all. I looked up other recipes and found out they used “cultured” buttermilk. Could that be the reason?

    • Dorothea, it’s so funny that you write about this because I have never had trouble with this until right now, literally as I write this. I have a batch that has been sitting for almost 24 hours and it still just looks like heavy cream. I just added a splash more buttermilk — I’m wondering if I shook the buttermilk too much and that it was too foamy so 2 tablespoons didn’t in fact make it in there? So bizarre. I will report back in the morning. I am actually using a different brand of buttermilk, but I’m really perplexed. If adding more buttermilk doesn’t work, I’m going to try yogurt. Sorry you’re having trouble, too!

      • I am trying to make the creme fraiche for the Crustless Qiuche. It’s been sitting for 18 hours! It still looks just like heavy cream. I used 2 Cups heavy cream and 2 tbs. yogurt. Not knowing anything else to do I’ve now added 2 more tbs. yogurt. I’m going to bake it tomorrow whether it thickens or not!

        • Oh no! Jeanne, I am so sorry to hear this. The two more tablespoons of yogurt hopefully will do the trick. I have had this issue before, and I made a note (on a different recipe) but I need to update this recipe, too. When the cream is ultra-pasteurized (which is about all I can find these days), the creme fraiche doesn’t thicken up as well or as quickly. I often have to add a few more tablespoons of buttermilk. In my experience, the plain yogurt seems to thicken the cream better than the buttermilk, so I’m sorry to hear about your troubles! When are you planning on baking? Morning or night? These things are so frustrating, and I am truly sorry!

  10. What a creative way to get more kale into my diet – and no crust so the bad-for-me part of the quiche is gone! Very creative and I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), so please let me know if you have any objections. It’s always a pleasure following your food…

  11. I have SO MUCH kale from my CSA, so this will be a perfect variation to add to my repertoire. Thanks!

  12. This loola delicious, I’ll try it! Can you estimate how many people would eat this? Asking because I’m planning to cook just for two people ad I don’t want to have a lot of waste or leftovers … Thanks!

    • Juliana — I would estimate that this quiche serves 3. 4 is pushing it. My husband and I do some considerable damage on this quiche alone, but there is always some leftover, so it comfortably can feed 3 people. And I have in fact served it for company with 4 eaters total but I had bread and salad and some other nibbles on hand, too. Hope that helps!

  13. I am gluten intolerant so this is a great recipe for me and I love kale !

  14. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe, and for helping me find a way to incorporate quiche into my cooking rotation on a more regular basis. Hello Crustless Quiche!! I love it, almost as much as I love looking at your recipe photos.

    And speaking of kale: have you (or has anyone here) ever had kale flowers? I bought some flowering kale stems at the market this weekend and am trying to decide on the best use for them. The only recipes I can find recommend cooking it as one would broccoli rabe, which was my initial inclination… but I thought I’d cast out for other expert opinions first. ;)

  15. Alexandra, thank you so very much for this delicious quiche recipe. I absolutely loved the addition of the crème fraîche (who wouldn’t?) I used 2 cups of nicely chopped Kale and it was perfect. I found your website via pinterest and you officially have a new fan. Tonight I am whipping up the Mrs. Myers banana bread. Your photos and stories are beautiful.

    Thank you :)

    • Denise — I’m so happy to hear this. I know, once we started making quiche with crème fraiche, there was no going back. I hope the banana bread recipe turns out well. It is one of my faves!

  16. I’m new to cooking, so excuse me if this is a dumb question, but if you leave heavy cream and yogurt sitting out on the counter for 24 hours, won’t it spoil?

    • Cory — you would think it would, right? For whatever reason it doesn’t. If you are nervous, put it in the fridge after 12 hours. It should be starting to thicken up after 12 hours and it will continue to thicken up in the fridge as well. I just made a batch using yogurt instead of buttermilk, and I stuck in the fridge after about 12 hours or so. Definitely make sure it is starting to thicken, however, before putting it in the fridge.

  17. Have you ever tried freezing this? I have mustard greens and kale i need to use soon and was thinking of making extra and freezing it.

    • Shannon — Alas, I have not. I can’t say for sure, but I think it might work. Don’t people freeze mini quiches all the time for hors d’oeuvres? I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, but I hate to advise when I haven’t tried something. Unfortunately, the cookbook doesn’t offer much help — it says you can prepare the custard up to 4 days in advance. Let me know if you make any discoveries. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  18. I have been looking for the perfect quiche for my daughter’s baby shower, and I think this Tartine version might be the ultimate answer! I have purchased small tart pans with a removable bottom from Williams Sonoma, and I dont think I can do crustless quiche with it, but will try with crust. I’m not real familiar with kale. Is it bitter? Could I substitute spinach, or would that produce too much water in the quiche? New to your blog, signed up on FB. Your cooking, photography, is awesome!

    • Nancy, hi and welcome!

      Mini quiches for a baby shower is a fantastic idea. I think you are right about making crustless quiche in pans with removable bottoms — it could get very messy. Kale is not bitter. The kale we get from our CSA is sweet even — I eat it raw and dirt-covered right from the bag. You could certainly use spinach, however, if you prefer spinach. The note in the Tartine cookbook suggests any dark leafy green such as chard or spinach in fact, so I think spinach will be great. You could always do a trial run using a muffin pan — try chopping up some raw spinach and placing it in a few of the muffin cups, filling up the cups about half way, and then baking them. Obviously, the quiches in the muffin pan (and your small tart pans) will take less time, so just keep an eye on them — the centers of the quiches should feel slightly firm. Letting them cool completely, too, is key — the custard sets up during the cooling process making for easier cutting.

      Good luck with the shower! And congrats to your daughter. Very exciting!

  19. I’m making this for a friend who eats gluten free. Should I sub the all purpose flour with gf flour? Or is it better to leave it out?

    • Jeanne — I think you should. The flour (and I don’t know the science behind it) I think is one element that makes the Tartine quiche custard so special. I don’t know how the gf flour will work in comparison to the regular flour, but I think you should definitely use it. I wish I could offer better guidance. I’d love to know how it turns out for you if you feel like checking back afterwards. Good luck with it!

  20. This looks healthy and delicious and I have all the ingredients to make it, so it must be fate- just one question, I don’t normally keep whole milk in the house, do you think 1% would be okay?

    • Carrie — 1% milk should be just fine. I have made quiches with skim milk and buttermilk, both of which are very low in fat, and they come out just fine. The whole milk definitely helps create a nice texture, but I don’t think the flavor of the quiche will be affected too much by the use of 1% milk. Hope it turns out well for you!

  21. I made this last night and had it this morning. Wow! I cannot believe I cooked something so tasty. As a new cook, I am intimidated by fancy looking recipes. I am glad that I tried and made it with what I had on hand– collard greens, low fat milk, and no sieve. Now, I have a tasty meal that I can give my family for breakfast this week. Thank you!!

    • Beastmomma — fantastic to hear this. I’ve suspected that low-fat milk might work — glad to hear that it does — and I’ve also wondered if the sieving is necessary — it’s so the sort of step I would be inclined to skip. Might have to try that too. So happy you liked it!

  22. Thank you so much. I made the quiche this morning. It was YUMMY! So creamy. I used basil instead of thyme, since that is what I had on hand, used 1 cup of kale, and doubled the recipe with no problem whatsoever. Such a treat.

    • Jessica — So happy to hear this! Isn’t the texture of the quiche like no other? I just love it. And making it crustless is just so easy. Love the idea of basil. I bet it was delicious. Thanks so much for writing in.

  23. * I used 1 cup of kale per quiche

  24. Wow.
    I just made this, and took my first bite.
    Holy crap.
    I didn’t have creme fraiche. I used eggs, kale, milk, feta, thyme, S&P, and red pepper flakes.
    the kale sticking out of the top was amazing. Great recipe! thanks!

    • Holly, haha, I love it. Love the idea of feta and red pepper flakes in here. I’ve been thinking about spicing up my standard recipe a bit. SO glad you liked this! And thanks for sharing your variations — it’s nice to know what can be used if you don’t have creme fraiche.

  25. Hey Alexandra,
    Just tried to make this tonight and the creme fraiche didn’t work for me! I used Trader Joe’s brand fat free Greek yogurt. Could that be why? Left it out for 22 hours and it still looks the same. Went ahead and made the quiche anyway with half of the cream mixture. Fingers crossed!

    • Melanie, this has happened to me before, too. It’s so frustrating. It’s possible that it’s the Greek yogurt, but I’m wondering about the cream you used? Was it ultrapasteurized? Sometimes, when that is the case, I end up having to add 2 more tablespoons of buttermilk or yogurt when I see that the texture doesn’t look any different after 12 hours or so. So sorry this recipe gave you trouble :( It’s so frustrating when these things don’t work out. Dare I ask how the quiche turned out?

  26. Alexandra–this is the recipe pinned in Pinterest that led me to your site. I made it last night and I made a substitution for the creme fraiche and used fat free greek yogurt instead. It turned out beautifully! I used a combination of beet greens, lacinato kale and some collard leaves from my garden and also added thinly sliced leeks, sauteed mushrooms and sliced tomatoes on top. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Tracey — Wonderful to hear this! Especially since I don’t always have creme fraiche on hand but I almost always have Greek yogurt on hand. Love all the yummy greens you have included and leeks and mushrooms sound absolutely divine! Thanks for writing in.

  27. this is my new favorite quiche..

    i’m not sure my heavy cream ever got to the creme fraiche stage, but it was delicious nonetheless. next time i will try a bit more yogurt and maybe leave it out longer.

    i used a loaf pan because all of my pie plates are shallow and i wanted to use a lot of kale (about 2 cups)

    i used thyme, as suggested and was completely impressed

    thank you for the wonderful recipe, i fully expect it to become a staple in my house! wouldve never guessed that a quiche minus both cheese and crust could be so incredible.

    • Eri — wonderful to hear this, despite the creme fraiche issues. I have noticed more and more recently that I seem to have trouble as well — I don’t know if it’s the cream that’s too pasteurized or if it’s that the buttermilk doesn’t have enough cultures, but for whatever reason, I used to have no trouble and now I do. Sometimes I do add yogurt if I don’t see any action after about 12 hours or so. And, I know, thyme adds the most wonderful flavor here. Love the idea of baking this in a loaf pan — so clever! And, I would agree, too, about the cheese — so often I think we add too much cheese to eggs (scrambled, omelets, etc) which really kind of overpowers the egg. Thanks for writing in!

  28. My second one is in the oven today, wonderful! We don’t eat grains so I sub coconut flour for the regular (use about half the amount) and I add chopped, cooked bacon on top because that’s what we like. I buy creme fraiche already made at my local grocery so this comes together in just a few minutes and we eat it all week for breakfast.

    Absolutely divine, thank you so much!!

  29. This crustless quiche is what I’ve been seeking. I plan to make this today, but, I’m wondering if it’s necessary to grease the dish? I will probably do this with butter or coconut oil, but, would like to know if you recommend with or without when going crustless. Many thanks, S

    • SUsan, hi! I’m so sorry im just getting to this…probably too late. What did you do? I always forget to grease the dish, and the eggs do stick to the bottom of the dish a little bit, but never too badly. I recommend greasing, but no big deal if you don’t. Hope that helps!

  30. Yum for sure – Just put this baby in the oven and can’t wait to see how it turns out – In the meantime, you may want to submit this to my site (Food Foto Gallery . com) so I can share with all my foodie friends :)

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