One of my favorite things to eat in France is a quiche. Buttery, flakey crust filled with a delicate cheesy custard. It makes a perfect brunch dish because you can make it ahead of time, and serve it room temperature, or warm it in your oven before serving. This recipe is easily modified to add whatever your favorite quiche fillings are -- asparagus, mushroom, ham, proscuitto -- the possibilities are endless!
- One recipe for basic pastry (see instructions below)
- 6 large eggs
- 2/3 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
- 1 cup milk (preferably whole)
- 8 ounces Gruyère
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- FOR THE BASIC PASTRY:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Large pinch sea salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces
- 5 to 6 tablespoons chilled water
Place the flour and the salt in the bowl of a food processor and process to mix. Cut the butter in chunks and add it to the flour. Process it, using pulses, until the butter is incorporated into the flour and the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. With the food processor running, add the water and process briefly, using pulses, just until the pastry beings to hold together in large clumps. Turn the pastry out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a ball.
TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE QUICHE:
Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2-inch pie dish. Crimp the edges, poke the bottom with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, and place the pastry in the freezer for 30 minutes. This step is VERY important. Cold crust when baked makes flakey buttery crust.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line the pastry with aluminum foil and pastry weights (you can also use dried beans) and bake in the bottom third of the oven until the pastry is golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the aluminum foil and pastry weights. Return the pastry to the oven to bake until the bottom is golden, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and the milk until thoroughly blended. Season with the salt and pepper, then add the cheese and stir until it is blended, Turn the mixture into the pre-baked pastry, and spread out the cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry.
Sprinkle the top with nutmeg, and bake in the center of the oven until the filling is golden and puffed, and is completely baked through, about 30 minutes. To test for doneness, shake the quiche - if it is solid without a pool of uncooked filling in the center, it is done. You may also stick a sharp knife blade into the center of the filling and if it comes out clean, the quiche is baked through. Remove the quiche from the oven and serve immediately.
Possible variations on this traditional quiche: Bacon and Cheese Quiche: To make a bacon and cheese quiche, cut 4 ounces good-quality slab bacon into thick slices, then cut the slices in half, lengthwise, and crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place these in a heavy pan over medium heat and cook the bacon until it is crisp. Drain it on a paper-towel covered plate, and sprinkle it over the pre-baked pastry before adding the custard.
Onion and Cheese Quiche: Peel and halve a medium-sized yellow onion. Cut it in quarters then slice the onion paper-thin. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium heat, add the onions and stir, season lightly with salt, cover, and cook until the onions are very tender and translucent, and just slightly browned at the edges, 10-15 minutes. Remove them from the heat, and spread over the pre-baked pastry before adding the custard.
Recipe from Epicurious