(PURE CHEESE QUICHE)
This is the essence of Madame Quiche's recipe — I can proudly say that when you make this, you will be tasting a very near replica of the small quiches she sells each Saturday at the Louviers market. There are a couple of keys to success here — be sure to let the pastry rest in the fridge before rolling it out. Don't stint on freezing the pastry — cold pastry that goes into a hot oven becomes extra flaky and delicious. Be sure to fully pre-bake the pastry as well, which guarantees crisp pastry on the bottom. Finally, whole milk makes a difference here — I highly recommend it over any lower fat varieties. When I make this Quiche I usually make it with Bacon.
Servings: Serves 6 to 8.
One recipe for basic pastry or pie
6 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
1 cup milk (preferably whole)
8 ounces gruyère, emmenthal, or other Swiss-type cheese (if I can't find Gruyere I use Pepperjack)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg - optional
Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch glass or metal pie plate (not removable bottom). 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.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Line the pastry with aluminum foil and pastry weights 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 reserve.
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 if you've used a Swiss-type cheese, 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.
Bacon and Cheese Quiche:
To make a bacon and cheese quiche (one reader reminded me that Alsace is the home of the quiche, which to deserve its name there has bacon, not ham, in it - ham is a Normandy variation), remove the rind from 4 ounces good-quality slab bacon, and cut it 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 before adding the custard