Corn Quiche in a Tef Crust Recipe

Rebecca Wood's perfect summertime quiche - creamy corn flavor hits your tongue first, the summer tomatoes burst next, and then you are hit with accents of slivered basil and scallions. Made in a tef flour crust.

Corn Quiche in a Tef Crust

Today's update is going to be short and sweet. It is one of those rare San Francisco evenings where it is too warm not to be outside.

Let me jump right into this post by saying, the world outside all-purpose, unbleached white flour is ripe for exploration. It is a realm that is exciting, flavorful, and not as intimidating as some of you might think - garbanzo flour, buckwheat flour, rye flour, almond flour, spelt flour, corn flour, graham flour, oat flour, and potato flour are all out there waiting to be turned into something delicious and innovative. And this is the short list. Most beans and grains can be found in flour form if you look hard enough. Many are unrefined, are available in organic and non-GMO varieties - often coming to market much more nutritionally intact than say, unbleached APF. This is an incredibly rich palette from which to cook from - the trick is figuring out which flours are best suited for which purposes. Some flours are high in gluten, some have none. Some have strong, distinctive flavors, others are much more neutral. Some are powdery and soft, some are raggy and rough.

I've been playing around with different types of flours all summer, and thought I would turn you onto this perfect, seasonal, crusted-quiche recipe by Rebecca Wood - it features a beautiful chocolate brown tef flour crust with fresh corn and tomatoes. Do you know Rebecca Wood? You should. If you don't have her book, The Splendid Grain, you should pick it up. It is one of the definitive books on cooking with grains, and earned Rebecca both the IACP Julia Child and James Beard Cookbook awards. Bonus: it is available in paperback. Need more convincing? Here are a few other recipes featured in The Splendid Grain; Pinon Crackers, Quinoa Butterscotch Brownies, Homemade Buckwheat Noodles, Sarrasin Crepes, and Crybabies (which I'm going to try next).

Today's quiche/tart is summertime captured in a smooth, precision crust. The creamy corn flavor hits your tongue first, the summer tomatoes burst next, and then you are hit with accents of slivered basil and scallions (I skipped the green peppers). The tart shell offers up a slight hint of nuttiness but isn't overly rich or buttery -she calls for less than half the butter typical in many tart recipes. The crust functions as a beautifully dark, structured backbone and works effectively at counterbalancing the soft, fluffiness inherent to a quiche filling. When sliced the quiche maintains its structure and is easy to serve -beautiful and delicious.

At some point I'll write more extensively about exploring flours, just not today. If you have a favorite creative way of using lets say, non-white flour, feel free to post in the comments. I'm sure many people are curious, and it will help round out this post.

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Corn Quiche Recipe in a Tef Crust

1 cup tef flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
Tabasco Sauce, to taste
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup milk or soy milk
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
2 cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 350�F.
Put the tef and whole wheat pastry flours and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice to mix. Cut the butter into chunks. Add to the flour mixture and pulse to form a crumbly meal. Season water with Tabasco and pulse into flour mixture to make a pliable dough. With your hands, form dough into a flat disk. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes, no longer. Rollout between 2 sheets of wax paper to an 11-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie plate.

Combine the corn-and milk in a blender (or use a hand-blender) and blend until smooth. Add the eggs, more Tabasco, and more salt and blend just to mix Sprinkle all but 2 tablespoons of cheese on the pie crust. Pour in the corn mixture. Sprinkle scallions, green bell pepper, and remaining cheese over surface. Cut tomatoes into thin slices and arrange around the edge of the filling. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

VARIATIONS Substitute 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or tarragon for the scallions or bell pepper. Substitute Gouda, Lappi, Monterey Jack, or your favorite cheese for the Swiss. Heidi note: I used gruyere and divided the dough into four to make four 4 1/2-inch tartlets.

Serves 6.

The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood (William Morrow & Company, January, 1997) - reprinted with permission

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Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I read it (and ogled your gorgeous photo) and gave a sigh of relief. I’ve recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, which means I cannot eat any gluten at all. It’s glorious to be well again, but I miss my grains. Your post inspired me to buy the book, and I just can’t wait to cook out of it.
(I share your voracious foodie sensibilities.)
Seattle has a plethora of great Ethiopian restaurants, so I’m already hooked on injera. But I had never thought of making quiche with a tef crust.
Thanks for inspiring me, again.
(And if anyone wants to check out my humble site about glorious food and gluten free, it’s I’ve linked to this site, of course, so you can just come on back.)


Also in the Bay Area, I found a 20 lb bag of brown teff flour at Bombay Bazaar (548 Valencia) for something like $20, and a 20 lb bag of ivory teff flour for around $26. Rainbow doesn’t carry ivory teff. Excellent value if you’ve got somewhere to store it.


For those in the bay area, tef flour can be found at Rainbow Grocery store, I think it was $1.30 a lb. They also had tef grain. And it is used in making some kinds of injera.


Hi Lauren,
The pie crust thing can be tricky. Sometimes you bake completely, then fill.
Some you partially bake, fill, and bake some more.
Sometimes no pre-baking – you bake the crust and filling together.
And some, let’s say, ice-cream pies….no bake crust, no bake filling.
This tef recipe. You do not need to prebake the crust. As you can see from the picture the crust comes out dry and nice. Give it a shot – I really liked this recipe a lot.
I haven’t tried that Zuni recipe, but tomato tarts can be very tricky in general – the tomatoes have a lot of liquid and tend to steam when you cook them. You end up with undercooked, mushy crusts. I actually have an heirloom tomato tart recipe that I’ve been working on – I will post it (hopefully sometime before tomato season is over)…no mushy crust.


Help. When you take pie dough and divide for tartlets, should you cook the crust before adding the filling? how do you change the recipe? Last night I made the Zuni cookbook pie dough for tomato and mozzerella tartlets and the dough never got cooked. If I make this recipe, should I pre-cook the tartlet dough? Is there a general rule on when you precook piecrust? thanks!

Lauren Gelman

Grains… what a great thing to focus on! I realized there was more to rice and wheat recently when I went to Blue Hill and they served a grain called “farro” which was absolutely amazing. So I’m really determined to try different grains and flours now. I’ve never had teff before, but you’ve made it look so yummy and elegant!


your photography is stunning!


It took me a few times of looking at this post to realize that you used Tef flour. I feel like I have seen it at The Housewive’s Market & The Swan market, both in downtown Oakland. They each carry a wide variety of items from many parts of Africa.


According to the package, Teff is the smallest grain in the world. I found Teff flour at Whole Foods and they carry a large selection of Bob’s Red Mill Products from Oregon. (

Jan - STL

Tef (or Teff) is easy to find at really well stocked health food stores and also in supermarkets that carry health foods (such as Wegmans, Whole Foods and Wild Oats).
It is a tiny grain, infintesimal to look at.
I used to cook it according to package and use it instead of rice as a side dish or with vegetarian dishes.
I also love quinoa (make sure to wash it before cooking it to remove that nasty naturally occuring chemical on the outside). I put a cup of cooked grain in my favorite whole grain bread recipe. It is delicious.


Tef . . . Marion Burros – I think, maybe Fabricant – published some interestng cereal recipes in the NYT a few years back and one included tef. A bear to find – even the health food guys in LJ had never heard of it. But, it is the Ethiopian grain, and is fine.


No typo. The recipe calls for 2 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced – so depending on how good you are at slicing tomatoes you may be ok…but really, use however many you want. I made two tarts with the tomatoes baked in – like the recipe called for. We ate them before I had a chance to shoot them.
So the version in the picture is with the tiny tomatoes sliced on top. Both ways are delicious.


sounds great – did you leave some tomatoes out of the recipe? 2 cherry tomatoes doesn’t seem like enough…


Teff also makes for a delicious breakfast cereal – the grain itself, not the flour. Fantastic with a little honey!


Heather, you are absolutely correct.
A few of you have mailed about whether tef flour is gluten-free, and indeed it is gluten-free.
Also, some people spell tef with one f, some with two. You can often find it in natural food stores.
More tasty sounding recipes on Wayne Carlson’s site:


Tef is a new one to me. I live in the Bay Area, but have never seen it. Where does one find it?


I think Teff flour is what Ethiopian Injera bread is made from…does that sound right? Anyone?
Anyway, hubby works at an organic food co-op in Portland and they carry Teff flour. I’m going to have to try this recipe.


I agree whole heartedly…. but I have never heard or seen tef flour before. I will keep an eye out for that cook book.

clare eats

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