Saturday, November 17, 2007

Is a Quiche a Quiche?


Well, I'm here to tell you that not every quiche is created equal. And despite the fact that men may not admit to eating quiche, they do. And most of them like it too.

For years I used to make a quiche recipe that was good. Very good, actually, but then one day at lunch I ordered quiche at a French restaurant. After a couple of times, I determined that my recipe had to go. So a year or so ago I decided to try a different chemistry for my own home made one. More and different cheese, and whipping cream instead of half and half. Oh my. What a difference. This recipe is just really, really good. I found it on the internet somewhere, tweaked it to my own satisfaction, but I didn't make any notes, so I don't know where it came from. Sorry. Thick and creamy (well, yes, with whipping cream instead of milk or half and half). And although I enjoy other varieties of quiche - like broccoli or spinach, or mushroom, my favorite remains Lorraine (bacon).

We had a brunch here at our house today. In doing the menu planning, and after spending about 2-3 hours perusing all kinds of other recipes (to try something different) and building a menu from the entree, I kept going back to the quiche. I hadn't served it to this group before, so it was "new" to them. DH loves quiche any way, shape or form. Our gourmet gathering is a group of 4-5 couples, and we've been meeting for about 5 years or so, on a off and on basis, for a gourmet kind of dinner. We'd never done brunch. The hostess chooses the menu, and assignments are made with each couple bringing some part of the meal, so I only made the entree and the pink sangria (I'll tell you about that one in a day or so) we sipped on before we sat down to our meal. The other couples brought a soup, a vegie salad and a lettuce salad, a fruit side dish and dessert.

So, this quiche has all the "normal" ingredients of a quiche - cream, eggs, cheese, bacon in a piecrust. What's different about it? Maybe not much, except a bit of white onion, white pepper, paprika, some garlic, and the types of cheese. I used Gruyere (an imported cheese from Switzerland) and Gouda and real Parmegiano-Reggiano. This one is made in a tart pan, so the piecrust is not high - it's not a deep dish kind of quiche. I used a removable bottomed tart pan, and shhhh, I cheated and used Pillsbury's piecrust from the refrigerator case. It was quite lovely, actually. Better than the frozen shells, and very pliable, so it was easy to fit into my two different sized pans. I just trimmed some off one and pressed it into the other one. Simple really. Then you press all the grated cheese into the shells, the bacon, onion, the Italian parsley and kind of press it all down, then you whip up the custard base and pour it on. Quite simple, really. Note: if you use a different kind of pan, or regular pie crusts and traditional pie plates, you'll probably need more custard, so just add another egg and perhaps another 1/2 cup or more of cream. And another side note: if you use salty bacon, as some brands can be, you'll want to reduce the amount of salt.

So if a quiche is an appropriate item for a holiday breakfast or dinner, you'll be very happy to have tried this one. To see the tart shell recipe print out the PDF recipe. I didn't reproduce it here.

Quiche Lorraine
Servings: 16
2 Short Crust (Press-In) Tart Shells -- or use ready-made
12 ounces bacon
8 ounces Emmental cheese -- grated, or Gruyere
5 ounces Gouda cheese -- grated
3 ounces Parmesan cheese -- grated
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup white onion -- minced
1 clove garlic -- minced
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Italian parsley -- minced
1. Prepare the short crust tart shells.
2. Fry bacon pieces until just crispy done, drain on paper towels, then mince into small pieces. Pour off most of the bacon grease, then sauté the onion in the bacon fat until just translucent. Remove and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 400°. Have all ingredients prepared ahead (grate the cheese, mince the parsley, etc.) before starting to fill the shells, as you do not want the liquid portion to sit very long in the shell.
4. Mix all the cheeses together and sprinkle in the pie shells. Gently press down so cheese is compacted. Sprinkle top with the grated, cooked onion, and the bacon. Press down. In a large bowl combine the eggs, whip them some, then add the cream, garlic, white pepper, paprika, and salt. Gently pour the cream mixture into the pie shells. Fill until the cream mixture comes just barely below the top of the pastry crust. Sprinkle the top with the reserved Italian parsley.
5. Carefully place the quiches in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325° and bake another 20-25 minutes, until the top of the quiche is golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool about 10 minutes, or can be served at room temperature. Remove outside rims before placing on a serving platter or pedestal cake plate.
NOTES : You can use your own choice of cheeses, but you need to have at least half of it a sharp Swiss (imported) type, like an Emmental or Gruyere. Then use some other medium bodied cheese to make up the one pound of cheese called for. Do NOT use any of the Parmesan cheese out of a can. Use the real stuff. You can prepare all of the different parts of this the day or night before, then assemble it just before putting in the oven. I use the fluted sided tart pan about 1 inch high, and because I don't have two of the same size, I make one larger and one smaller.
Per Serving : 585 Calories; 48g Fat (73.6% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 188mg Cholesterol; 732mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 8 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable PDF recipe (including the press-in pastry recipe I usually use) click title at top.

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