I hesitated before including this because it’s not really southern and it isn’t exactly creole but we sure ate a hell of a lot of it back in the day. God knows who but somebody discovered it in the 70s and it was ubiquitous for decades. Took me quite a few years before I could work back up to eating it again. Bad quiche, good quiche, low-fat quiche (which was real bad), and quiche with boulder-like chunks of undercooked broccoli protruding from the top. Quiche at church socials, quiche at debutante parties…quiche, quiche, quiche.
Quiche – Prepping for the best
In a nutshell, it suffered at the hands of over-enthusiastic quiche improvers in America. All you have to do is think about some of the weirder additions to pizza and you’ll get the picture. In short, a simple European dish got horsewhipped with inappropriate ingredients until it was unrecognizable. People never stop to think that dishes evolve the way they do because they taste best that way.
So here you have the original – fresh eggs, bacon, and gruyere in a crispy crust. It’s a perfect formula and you should never mess with that. Ask the Coca-Cola Corporation. They learned the hard way.
One step you mustn’t forget is browning those onions before adding them to the pie. Adds immensely to the flavor.
Full disclosure. I do cheat occasionally by adding goat cheese or lump crab meat but these are venial sins that are easily forgiven when you taste the results.
- For the crust:
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 to 6 tablespoons ice water
- 1 egg white, beaten
- For the filling:
- 1 9” pastry shell blind baked at 350 for about 15 minutes
- 8 oz bacon cut into ½” pieces (or pork belly), about 4 slices
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup onions, lightly browned in the bacon fat
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne
- pinch of nutmeg
- 4 oz. grated cheese (1/2 cup) Gruyere (or Comte, Mahon or Fontina)
- Preheat oven to 375.
- For the crust:
- Pulse the flour and salt together in a food processor then add the butter and pulse just a few times. The butter should be broken up but the chunks should still be pretty big, maybe ½ an inch or the size of a big pea.
- Add just enough of the ice water for the mixture to stick together but not be smooth.
- Form into a ball and refrigerate for an hour then roll out and place in pie pan.
- Refrigerate dough-lined pan for half an hour, then freeze for 15 minutes.
- Line the dough with foil and place pie weights inside. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the bottom begins to brown.
- Remove & let cool then brush interior with egg white.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- For the filling:
- Saute bacon till brown and remove.
- Saute onions in bacon grease until lightly browned.
- Whisk eggs, cream, milk, and seasonings together.
- Sprinkle cheese and bacon and onions over the bottom and cover with liquid.
- Cook for about 35 minutes. There should still be a little jiggle in the middle.
Due to variations in egg volume and depending upon how many extras you put in, you may end up with a little more egg mixture than necessary. Just fill the crust gradually and stop slightly below the level of the top. Better to toss a small amount of liquid than to clean it off the bottom of a cookie sheet, or God forbid, your oven.
Check for doneness by inserting knife halfway to the crust, not the middle of the tart. The middle will still be a little jiggly but will continue to cook as it cools.
Optional Additions & Substitutions:
1/2 cup of lump Crabmeat (replacing the bacon) + ½ tsp. dry sherry + chives
1 diced Leek (replacing the onion) + ½ cup goat cheese + ½ tsp. vermouth