Top | Main Dishes
(recipe, Caroline Cummins)
The basic recipe here is for the French classic quiche Lorraine, which is little more than eggs and bacon baked in a pie crust. The variations — many of which rely on frozen vegetables, making this a good dish for wintertime meals — build on this template. Most quiche recipes call for blind-baking the crust before a second bake with the filling. But I prefer to treat this dish as what it is — a custard pie — and simply roll out the chilled crust, put it into a tart pan, arrange the filling on top, and bake. The results are delicious, and the total time is briefer. You can use a standard 9-inch pie plate if you don't have a 10-inch or 11-inch fluted tart pan, but you'll probably have both extra dough and extra filling left over. Besides, the quiche will both bake faster and look prettier if you use the tart pan. This recipe is easily doubled, something you'll want to do if you're feeding a crowd for dinner. Break the work in half by prepping the dough (and the filling, if you like) a day ahead of time.
You can replace up to half of the flour with whole-wheat pastry flour. And if you have crème fraîche on hand, follow Anne Willan's suggestion in The Country Cooking of France and use that as the dairy base, thinned with cream or milk. h4. Variations You can add pretty much any filling combo you like to the egg-dairy base of this quiche, which means the recipe is a good way to use up small amounts of leftovers. Try fresh asparagus spears arranged in a circle, or sliced and sautéed leeks, or bits of sausage and roasted potato. Freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese scattered across the top of any quiche just before or after baking is nice, too. Spinach Quiche: Dice 1/2 medium onion and sauté it in a little oil or butter with a minced garlic clove or two. Add it to the egg filling along with 5 ounces spinach (freshly steamed, from either fresh or frozen spinach leaves). Spinach and Bacon Quiche: Skip the onion-and-garlic step in Spinach Quiche, above. Use half of the bacon called for in the master quiche recipe. Mushroom Quiche: Dice 1/2 medium onion and sauté it in a little oil or butter along with 5 ounces sliced mushrooms and a minced garlic clove or two. Add it to the egg filling. Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche: Dice 1/2 medium onion and sauté it in a little oil or butter with a minced garlic clove or two. Add it to the egg filling along with 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese and 5 ounces defrosted broccoli florets, cut smaller if you wish with kitchen shears.