Arts, Dining & Entertainment, Food matters

Test your culinary chops with quiche

Cheese is a comfort food that boasts a sizable fan base. There are all sorts of appealing cheeses to cater to any craving, ranging from soft varieties like ricotta or brie to hard cheeses like pecorino romano or gorgonzola.

Cheese features prominently in many dishes, including quiche. Quiche is a rich, cheese custard tart that originated in France. While there are many varieties of quiche, Quiche Lorraine is perhaps the best-known and the blueprint upon which all other quiches are based. Individuals who want to try their hand at crafting this beloved dish can utilize this recipe from “French Classics Made Easy” (Workman Publishing) by Richard Grausman.

Quiche Lorraine
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

Tart pastry:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups milk teaspoon
  • 1/4 salt teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 pound ham (boiled, baked or smoked), diced or 8 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 pound Swiss-style cheese, such as Gruyère or Emmentaler, diced, sliced, or grated (about 1 cups)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F with the rack set in the middle position.
  2. Place all of the tart pastry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until the mixture blends together to form a mass, about 20 seconds. If it doesn’t form a mass after 25 seconds, add another teaspoon of water.
  3. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface, dust the pastry lightly with flour and begin the blending or kneading process known as “fraisage”: With the heel of your hand, push the pastry down and away from you a little at a time and repeat this process three or four times or until the pastry is smooth and does not stick to the work surface.
  4. Lightly dust the pastry with flour and shape into a flat round, much like a thick hamburger. The pastry can be used immediately, unless it is too warm and soft. In which case, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. Line a 9 1/2- or 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom with the pastry.
  6. Prick the pastry, line it with aluminum foil, and weight it with 1 pound of dried rice or aluminum pie weights. Bake until the edges of the pastry begin to color, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil and beans from the pan. Spread the mustard over the bottom of the pastry. Lower the oven temperature to 425°F.
  7. In a bowl, beat the eggs and yolk lightly. Blend in the milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  8. Spread the ham and cheese evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the custard into the tart shell to within 1/8-inch of the top of the crust. Holding the tart pan by the outer rim (so as not to dislodge the bottom), place the pan in the oven.
  9. Bake until the custard puffs, 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Unmold as soon as possible. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving. The quiche is delicious served at any temperature.

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