Quiche always reminds me of one those annoying emails that was going around a few years ago.
Predictably, the gist of the email was that real moms let their houses go to hell in a hand basket as they are so busy playing with their kids. The line that really got me was “real moms don’t eat quiche because they don’t have time to make it.” Well, I’m a real mom and that is simply not true. Quiche is easy and quick to make, even quicker if you buy a store bought pie crust. Or you can make without a crust and it becomes a frittata.
Quiche is a great picnic food, amazingly portable and always tastes better when cold. After making your own you will not go back to those insipid, heavy grocery store ones. Yours will be a creamy, tasty delight. As well as enhancing any picnic or potluck, it is also a good weeknight meal with a crisp green salad and a mustardy dressing.
Quiche Lorraine, traditionally is only eggs, cream and bacon and does not have cheese, but I love cheese and think the addition of it improves most things, apart from cocktails. You can add more or less anything you have in your fridge, but I love this recipe for Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Gruyere Quiche, which strictly speaking should not be called Quiche but Flan.
Here is the recipe:
For the flaky, buttery pastry:
- 8oz plain flour
- 2 sticks very cold butter
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup iced water
For the filling:
- 7oz dry cure smoked streaky bacon, chopped
- 1½ cup heavy cream
- 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks (use 1 egg white for brushing the pastry)
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 1 tspn of sugar
- A handful of chopped herbs – parsley, thyme or oregano
- 1 tbspn of olive oil
- 4 oz grated Gruyère cheese
1. Sift the flour and a generous pinch of salt in to a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and stir it in, then gently rub between your fingers, so the flour combines with the lumps of butter – the aim is not to mix it completely, so it turns into crumbs, but to have small lumps of butter coated with flour. Like the name, it should look quite rough, even unfinished.
2. Add the egg yolk and stir it into the dough. Sprinkle water as needed - enough to bring it into a dough (unless your kitchen is very dry, you probably won’t need it all), without overworking the mixture, then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
3.While the pastry is chilling, heat a frying pan add the olive oil, when hot add the red onion, sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and let cook for about 15-20 minutes until soft and caramelized.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C and put a baking tray in to warm. Grease a deep 9″ pie tin. Roll out the pastry, pastry, leaving a little extra overhang to minimize shrinkage. A good tip is to keep any extra in case you need it for remedial work later. Line with foil (shiny side down) and weigh down with baking beans or rice. Place on the baking tray and blind bake in the oven for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and patch up any holes with the extra pastry if necessary. Bake for a further 8 minutes, then brush the base with egg white and put back into the oven for 5 minutes. Carefully trim the overhanging pastry to neaten.
7. Put the cream and the eggs and yolks into a large bowl (or a food mixer if you have one) with a generous pinch of salt, and beat together slowly until combined, then give it a fast whisk for 30 seconds until frothy. Pour over the base to fill and then sprinkle over the rest of the bacon. Spread the onions and cheese and herbs. Bake for 20 minutes and then keep an eye on it – it’s done when it’s puffed up, but still wobbly at the center. Allow to cool slightly before serving – the flavor improves when it cools.
I think this picnic basket classic is worth the effort. Do you think it is time for a quiche revival? What are your favorite flavor combos?
And ‘fess up do you send those emails?