Start to Finish: 50 to 60 minutes Servings: 6 to 10 Difficulty level: Intermediate
A quiche is a flexible thing. Its richness and texture can be varied to suit your personal taste or waistline, and you can let your imagination run wild with colorful and tasty add-ins. An exception to this general rule is quiche Lorraine, the most iconic of them all. Its ingredients are defined by tradition, and change relatively little between cooks.
Adapted from Larousse Gastronomique
- 6 to 8 slices of bacon
- Prepared pie crust, homemade or store bought
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces (optional)
Blanch the bacon by simmering it for 2 to 3 minutes in hot water, then drain it and fry until crisp. Blot any excess fat, and cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces. Set it aside while you prepare the rest of the quiche.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. As it warms, roll the pie crust and transfer it to a metal or ceramic quiche pan. Press the dough firmly into the corners and fluted edges of the pan, then line it with a sheet of parchment paper. Weigh down the paper with dry beans or pie weights, and par-bake it for 10 to 12 minutes.
Whisk the eggs until they're well mixed but not frothy, then add the cream and seasonings.
Remove the par-baked crust from the oven, and lift out the parchment liner. Arrange the bacon evenly on the crust, and add the cubed butter if you've chosen to use it. Pour the egg and cream mixture over the bacon.
Return the quiche pan to your oven, and bake it for 25 to 35 minutes or until it's set. Let the quiche cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it, otherwise it's difficult to make neat slices.
Tip: To keep spills from dirtying your oven, place a parchment-lined baking sheet under the quiche. The parchment is optional, but means you won't have to clean the pan either.
Serving Your Quiche
The quiche will look and smell wonderful when it leaves the oven, and you'll be tempted to cut into it immediately. That's perfectly fine, though it's more traditional to serve the quiche at room temperature or lightly warmed. The quiche makes an acceptable light meal on its own, or serve it with crusty bread and a green salad. If it's part of a larger meal, you can make the individual slices smaller and provide a larger number of servings.
The Cheese Question, and Other Substitutions
Traditional quiche Lorraine includes no cheese, a surprising omission to many diners. There's no reason you can't add it, if you like cheese in your quiche. Shredded Gruyere is ideal for the purpose, though you can substitute any other cheese you happen to like. You can also use sliced ham in place of the bacon, if you wish. The canonical version of the quiche is admittedly rich to a fault, so you might wish to use half-and-half in place of the heavy cream or replace part of the cream with milk. The quiche's texture changes slightly, but its flavor will be much the same.
- Larousse Gastronomique; Prosper Montagne (Ed.)
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