Our classic Filipino breakfasts on weekends often have a full spread of Longanisas (cured pork sausages), eggs, sinangag (garlic fried rice) served with good coffee. This time, for brunch I changed things a bit and made Mini Quiches with Vigan Longanisas. I made four of these personal sized quiches for Easter brunch, but the cheesy aromas of these delectable tiny tarts were so divine right out of the oven that it was hard to wait till Sunday.
Easter celebrated in the Philippines is very different from how we spend the holiday here on the east coast in America. When we were growing up in the Philippines, everything that led to Easter festivities was centered on our faith and religion. Thus, a lot of traditional rites were commemorated in the Philippines, especially in our hometown province where the religious practices of those who came before us were revered. When we moved to America decades ago, I discovered society focused a lot on what the commercial retail industry offered: the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, Easter chocolates, the onset of spring which gave everyone a chance to don frilly and fancy Easter clothes, complete with bonnets and florals. But whether we were in America or back in the Philippines, one thing was certain: there was always a festive spread of food on our table, mostly traditional Filipino-American cooking with family and friends gathered round to enjoy everything.
To the unfamiliar, a quiche is defined in dictionaries as a “pie like dish with an unsweetened pastry shell filled with a custard of cheese and other ingredients such as vegetables, meats and seafoods.” You will find it is easy to put a quiche together. Use store-bought pie crust if you’re running out of time to make one from scratch. Mix the heavy cream (or use milk if preferred), grated cheese then add vegetables and meats you have on hand. You can also use any pie pan, round, square, large or small that you own. There are no hard and fast rules except for the baking time.
My addition of the Filipino longanisa to this quiche was accidental. I developed and cooked this recipe years ago and at one time ran out of ham to add. So, I used Filipino longanisas instead. The difference between the sweet-flavored Kapampangan longanisas I grew up with versus the more garlicky and tangy Vigan longanisas was apparent in the taste. If you haven’t tried them yet, Vigan longanisas are from the Ilocos Sur province and have sharper, more distinct garlicky and salty flavors. When I sliced the mini quiches and sampled a crisp, warm bite, the savory Vigan longanisas blended harmoniously with the sharp edge of the cheddar cheese and slightly sweet red bell peppers. It was a mélange of flavors that lingered on our palates long after brunch was over.
But this I know for sure. No matter where I celebrate Easter or any holiday, whether traveling or at home, I make it a point to listen. I listen to what people say about the meal. I listen to the music. I listen to the chatter of family. I listen to the experience. I listen to the prayers. I listen to the quiet of my heart. And I am grateful.
Mini Longanisa Quiche with Vigan Longanisa
- 1 single crust pie pastry dough homemade (see past blog posts) or store-bought pastry for a single pie crust (for a 9-inch pan)
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter unsalted
- 6 to 7 pieces pork longanisa (cured sausages) casings removed, each sliced in 4 pieces cooked longanisa
- 4 whole eggs
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 medium red bell pepper seeded, chopped
- 1/2 cup water to pre-cook longanizas
- Roll the pie crust till smooth and spread evenly to fit into 4 tart pans, each measuring about 4 inches in diameter. With a fork,prick the pastry in the middle of the tart pan. Brush the pastry with melted butter.
- In a preheated oven of 350 F degrees, bake the pie crust in the tart pans for 12 to 15 minutes till light brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Remove the longanisa casings and slice each of the cured sausages into 4 pieces. Place the sliced longanisas in a medium-sized skillet. Add the 1/2 cup water to the skillet.
- Cook the longanisas over medium high heat for 10 minutes. The water will be absorbed by the sausages as it cooks. Towards the end of cooking, after the water is absorbed, the pork sausages will render its own fat. Cooking time of the longanisa should be no longer than 10 minutes for this recipe. Do not burn or overcook the sausages because these will cook some more when you bake the quiche in the oven . When sausages are cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the chopped red peppers to the same skillet with the oil from the longanisas. Cook the chopped red pepper for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, heavy cream, cheese, flour, baking powder and red bell peppers. Mix well.
- Pour the cheese mixtures equally into the 4 tart pans. Divide the cooked longanizas among the tart pans. *If using tart pans with removable bottoms, be sure to wrap each bottom with foil to avoid spillage.
- Bake the mini quiche tarts in a preheated oven of 350 F degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Each top should be golden brown. Serve warm.
- Cook's comments: I have added vegetable greens to this recipe when I baked it in the past. Use fresh spinach leaves, moringga (malunggay) leaves or vegetables in season that you have on hand.
- How to make homemade Longanisas: Click on this.If you prefer to make your own homemade pork sausage longanisas, a recipe from my previous blog post is here.
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