Saturday, March 22, 2014

Quiche Lorraine - A classic of French cuisine

A savory tradtional french dish that is perfect for brunch or picnic

Quiche Lorraine is a savory traditional french dish that is just perfect for brunch or a relaxed picnic with friends and family. It's an open pie with a filling of custard with smoked bacon and cheese. The filling is rich and creamy and yet light. The key to making the perfect quiche is simplicity.

A savory tradtional french dish that is perfect for brunch or picnic

I've been wanting to prepare this classic french dish for some time because it's a very smart combination of ingredients and cooking techniques. It can be made either with pie dough or puff-pastry. I've made my quiche with puff-pastry because I already had a sheet home-prepared in my freezer. Down below you will find the recipe for the pie pastry just in case you don't have puff-pastry sheets or frozen crust. I was very impressed by how fast I managed to prepare this dish. And the result was gorgeous and delicious!

A savory tradtional french dish that is perfect for brunch or picnic

Yield: 6 servings                                  Time: 1 h 10'

Ingredients for the pie pastry:
  • 175 g all-purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 100 g cold butter (7 tbsp)
  • 1 egg yolk
Ingredients for the filling:
  • 6 bacon strips
  • 240 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 120 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
  • a handfull of Gruyere or Cheddar
  • 3 eggs
  • salt 
  • black pepper
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp of chopped spring onions or chives
  1. For the pie pastry preparation, put the flour, butter, egg yolk and 4 tsp cold water into a food processor and pulse a couple of times until the mixture just barely begins to bind together.
  2. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather into a smooth ball.
  3. Roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch round. Place it in a 10-inch wide, 1 1/2-inch high tart pan, gently pressing the dough into the corners. 
  4. To cut off the excess dough from the edges, use a rolling pin to roll over the surface of the tart pan or trim the edges with scissors.
  5. Cool in the freezer for at least half an hour before baking.  
  6. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
  7. Before baking, lightly prick the base with a fork. 
  8. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dry beans.
  9. Bake for 20 min.
  10. Remove from the oven and discard the pie weights and the parchment paper.
  11. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 10 more minute, until golden brown.
  12. While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling. Slowly cook the bacon on medium heat until its nicely browned and much of the fat has rendered out.
  13. Transfer the cooked bacon strips to a paper towel to absorb all the excess fat. Chop the cooked bacon crosswise
  14. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and then add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. 
  15. Add the milk, cream and spring onions and whisk vigorously to incorporate and introduce a little air into the mix. This keeps the texture of the quiche light.
  16. After the pie crust is baked, remove from the oven and add the bacon and cheese at the bottom. 
  17. Whisk the egg-milk mixture hard again for a few seconds, then pour it gently into the pie crust.
  18. Return to the oven and cook for 35-40 min or until the filling is almost set (should still have just a little wiggle)
  19. Cool on a wire rack. Let the quiche settle for 4-5 min, then remove from the tin. 
Et voila, your Quiche Lorraine is ready to be served freshly baked or even cold! 

Tips and Tricks: 
  • Quiche is a very versatile dish so you can get creative by adding mushrooms, spinach or any other vegatables! 
  • If you don’t chill your pastry for long enough, the butter will start to melt during baking before the pastry has time to set, causing shrinkage. Chill the pastry in the fridge for at least 30 min before baking.

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