Basic Quiche recipe

I’ve yet to meet someone who has a neutral opinion about quiches. Besides the mispronunciation of the word it always amuses me to hear of people’s horror stories of the fare they’ve been served at restaurants under the term “quiche”. Some establishments try shy away from it all by calling their quiches “savoury tarts” or by eliminating the pastry base altogether and making it a frittata instead. Either way, it’s become a menu filler the world round for lazy menu writers and chefs and in so doing its lost its awesomeness and intricacy.

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What is a quiche meant to be? Well, it’s a baked custard that has fillings and toppings inside a savoury pastry base. What’s with the horror stories around it? A perfect quiche will have a firm and crispy pastry base (but not crumbly) and the filling will be moist and flavourful. It will also be appealing to the eye and golden brown; not a pale blonde or beige colour. In restaurants and hotels to save costs, a quiche will be baked maybe once a week and then frozen in slices. The slices will then be heated when you order it. This leads to a soggy pastry and visually unappealing final product. They then fill your plate with loads of leaves and garnish to mask the quiche. Not all establishment’s do this of course but the majority of horror stories around quiches tend to be because of this.

This recipe is for a Quiche Lorraine. The pastry base and savoury custard is standard for all quiches, so you can just change the filling to whatever you like. A Quiche Lorraine is from the Lorraine region of France, hence it’s name. It contains bacon, chard or spinach, and cheese. One of my favourite quiches is made with onion jam, feta cheese and spinach. It’s really up to you what ingredients you put into your quiche, as long as they balance each other out and make culinary sense.

For the savoury pastry base (called Pâté Brisée in French)…

Ingredients
– 340g Cake flour
– 170g Unsalted Butter
– 4g Salt
Ice water

Method
1. Ensure that all tour ingredients are ice cold. This is essential
2. Add salt to the flour. Using a pallette knife, CUT or DICE the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. Work quickly as you want the butter to remain ice cold
3. Add a small amount of water to the flour mixture a little at a time whilst bring the butter and flour dough together. It will be difficult at first but eventually the dough will come together. DO NOT PUT TOO MUCH WATER, you want the dough to just come together but not to be too wet.
4. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and store/rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour before using it.

For the Quiche Lorraine:

Ingredients
– 450g Diced Bacon
– 28g Butter
– 180ml Cream
– 180ml Milk
– 3 whole Eggs
– 1 tsp Salt
– pinch pepper
– pinch nutmeg
– pinch paprika
– 115g Emmentaler or parmesan cheese
– 23cm basic pie dough dish lined with Pate Brisee

Method
1. Begin by lining the pie base with your pastry, blind bake it by placing oven proof paper in the pie and filling it with rice and baking the base at 180°C until golden brown. Remove the rice and was paper carefully. Set aside to cool.
2. Saute the bacon in the butter until crispy. Remove the bacon with a fork or slotted spoon and allow to dry in paper towel.
3. Whisk the cream, eggs and milk together with the salt, pepper and spices.
4. Scatter the cheese with the bacon evenly over the baked pastry crust. Pour the custard over the bacon and cheese gently.
5. Place in the oven and bake at 180°C for about 40-45 minutes. Test if the quiche is done by pushing a fork into the middle. If it comes out clean, its done.

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