Apparently, today is national Quiche day. Who knew? In French cuisine, a quiche is a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust.
The original ‘quiche Lorraine’ was an open pie with a filling consisting of an egg and cream custard with smoked bacon or lardons. It was only later that cheese was added to the quiche Lorraine. “Cheese is not an ingredient of the original Lorraine recipe”, as Julia Child informed Americans. The addition of Gruyère cheese makes a quiche au gruyère or a quiche vosgienne.
Pâte Brisée is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry. Pressing the dough into a disc rather than shaping it into a ball allows it to chill faster. This will also make the dough easie r to roll out, and if you freeze it, it will thaw more quickly.
Serves 4 – 6
1 Pâte brisée (see recipe below) or pre-made pie crust
6-8 slices Bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups Cream or half-and-half
3 Eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbs Butter
Preheat oven to 400°F. If using pâte brisée, roll it out into a circle large enough to line a lightly greased 8-inch or 10-inch tart pan, spring-form pan or pie pan. The pastry should come at least 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Chill well while preparing remaining ingredients.
Bring about 1 quart of water to a boil. Add the bacon and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Drain well and sauté until browned in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle over the bottom of the chilled crust.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream or half-and-half, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour the cream mixture into chilled crust, taking care not to fill it more than 3/4 full. The quiche will puff up as it bakes.
Set the quiche on a baking sheet and then in the oven. Bake until the quiche puffs and the crust is a light brown, about 25-30 minutes. A knife inserted into the middle of the quiche should come out clean.
Cool slightly and then remove from the tart pan to a serving dish. If you use a pie pan, serve the quiche from the pan without removing it. The sloping sides will not support the weight of the quiche.
All Butter Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (increase to 1 1/2 tsp if for a sweet recipe)
2 to 4 Tbs ice water, very cold
Start by cutting the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and placing in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (preferably longer) so that they become thoroughly chilled.
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.
Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface. Carefully shape into a discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the result crust to be flaky. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Remove the crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.