Berlin & 365’s Autumn Quiche with Squash, Taleggio & Sage

My editor at Prestel in New York asked me one day where I’d like to launch my new book. Berlin, I said, and Malta, of course, and London, and NYC, and the West coast this time, LA and San Francisco. It’s nice to dream and imagine all these places on both sides of the Atlantic, to think of all the people I’d meet and who’d celebrate 365 together with me. I’m good at dreaming but I’m bad at not following a dream. It makes me restless, once my mind is set on something it doesn’t want to stop until it gets there. Sometimes my dreams don’t work out, sometimes they do – even though everybody around me has given up hope. And sometimes they happen to be even better than I hoped they’d be.

There are many ways to launch a book, but I wanted a feast – in six cities. There are many reasons why a dream works out, luck (always), persistence (tiring for everyone around), thoughtful planning (I studied architecture, I’m good at that), and help and support from others (and I got a lot of that). In the next couple months I’ll share some impressions of the six 365 book launch events here on the blog, I’ll write about the places and what I love so much about them, and about the people who made all this possible. And to give you a little taste of this book tour, I’ll always share one of the recipes that we enjoyed at the events. So I’ll start with Berlin, my home, the place where my adventurous journey began, and with the recipe for the Squash and Taleggio Quiche with Crispy Sage (you can find it in the book, recipe no. 287, and below). This quiche became the cover of 365 and quickly gained fans and fame all around the globe.

On the morning of September 23rd I started to feel nervous, it was the publication day of the German 365 and the day on which I’d step out of my comfort zone and talk about the book that I’d been working on for so many days and nights. It feels good when a book is out, you can’t change anything anymore and at one point you even stop dreaming about gram-to-cup conversions but it’s also the time when people start seeing what you’ve created, when it’s not just you and the book anymore. It’s scary.

So I kept myself busy during the day (the best strategy to calm my antsy mind), I went to the hair dresser (thank you Jay for dealing with my anxious self) and then drove straight to the Hotel de Rome, a former bank turned into the hotel of your dreams where 365 would soon see the most marvelous of celebrations. Türkan Arikan, the hotel’s Director of Communications and the best event partner an author could ask for, had reserved the stunning roof terrace for our launch – my favourite spot for a summery sundowner – but Berlin’s weather was set on drizzle, wind, and grey, no blue skies and golden sunset. We took over Hotel de Rome‘s imposing Opera Court with our 100 guests instead, nibbled on hearty tastings from 365 prepared by the diligent kitchen crew, and on the bittersweet recipe no. 70 from 365, Tangerine Jam Chocolate Brownies baked by Fine Bagels‘ fabulous Laurel Kratochvila. A fair feast needs wine and we happily filled our glasses with the wonderful reds, whites, and rosé from Meridiana Wine Estate in Malta (thank you Karl Chetcuti for making Maltese wine that fills my heart and every room on the book tour with so much joy). Florian Domberger baked and shared Berlin’s best bread with us, his crunchy, spongy Beutebrot. And I had a very honest, intimate talk about the book with my friend Cynthia Barcomi. This woman manages to fit more into one life than anyone else and her laugh is so charming and infectious that you totally forget that you’re nervous and that you’re talking about something that existed, not too long ago, only in your head before it became a book. Could I ask for more? No, it was a feast.

Thank YOU so much for all the love and support that you’ve already shown for 365! If you have a few minutes and you’re in the mood, it would be great if you could write a review for the book on Amazon (here are the links for the US, UK, Germany).

You can see all the pictures of the Berlin book launch event here on Facebook. And if you cook or bake recipes from the book and share pictures on Instagram, you can add #365TheCookbook so that they show up in the book’s collection. If you feel like diving into the love that this book received so far, you can read about it here.

Squash and Taleggio Quiche with Crispy Sage
from ‘365 – A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking’ (Prestel, 2019)

Serves 4 to 8

For the filling

1 1/3 pounds (600 g) seeded squash, preferably peeled butternut or Hokkaido with skin, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Finely ground pepper
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (175 g) sour cream (or crème fraîche)
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
1 tsp fine sea salt
Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
5 ounces (140 g) mild, sweet cheese that melts well, such as Taleggio, fontina, or Robiola, diced
3 tbsp (45 g) unsalted butter
50 large fresh sage leaves

For the pastry

2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (130 g) unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

For the filling, spread the squash in a large baking dish, drizzle with the olive oil, and toss to combine. Season to taste with flaky sea salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes then flip the squash and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and tender; set aside.

For the pastry, combine the flour and fine sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined. Add the egg and mix with the hook until crumbly. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes.

On a work surface, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out into a disc, large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 12-inch (30 cm) quiche dish. Fit the dough into the quiche dish, pushing it into the dish, especially along the edges. Let the dough hang over the rim a little or trim with a knife. Use a fork to prick the dough all over. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. If the dough bubbles up, push it down with a fork. Take the quiche dish out of the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, heavy cream, and fine sea salt and season to taste with pepper and a generous amount of nutmeg.

Arrange the squash in a circle on top of the pre-baked pastry and sprinkle with the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the squash and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Take the quiche out of the oven and let it sit at least 10 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat, add the sage, and cook, stirring gently, for 20 to 30 seconds or until golden, green, and crispy—mind that the leaves don’t burn. Spread the sage on top of the quiche, sprinkle with a little pepper, and serve warm or cold.