What Is Quiche?
Quiche is a savory pie that originated in northeastern France in the Alsace-Lorraine region. The most famous version is quiche Lorraine, made with a custard filling of eggs, cream, cheese, bacon, and seasonings.
The key to great quiche is a flaky crust and a creamy custard filling that holds a cut edge. The secret to getting a creamy custard is to find the perfect ratio of milk to eggs -- too much milk, and the custard won't set properly; too little, and it turns tough as it bakes.
1. Prepare the Crust
With quiche, you always have options. You can prepare a crust from scratch (see Pastry for Single-Crust Pie) or use a refrigerated unbaked piecrust.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Prepare and roll out the Pastry for Single-Crust Pie from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter, or unroll one refrigerated piecrust according to package directions. Carefully fold pastry circle into fourths. Place folded pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Unfold pastry and ease it into the pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry and crimp edge as desired.
- Line the unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. The foil weighs down the crust, which prevents it from bubbling up or blistering. This technique, known as blind-baking, creates a stronger crust that can better hold moist filling, such as the egg mixture in quiche.
- Bake for 8 minutes. This will help keep the crust crispier when you add the filling. Remove the foil. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes more or until pastry is set and lightly browned. Remove from the oven.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. The pie shell should still be hot when the filling is added. Do not partially bake the pastry shell ahead of time.
2. Prepare the Filling
While the pastry shell is baking, prepare the filling.
- In a large skillet cook 8 slices of bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Finely crumble the bacon and set aside. Cook 1 medium onion, thinly sliced, in the reserved drippings over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender but not brown; drain. The bacon and onion can be cooked up to 24 hours ahead; cover and chill until needed.
- In an 8-cup glass measuring cup or a medium bowl, lightly beat 4 eggs. Stir in 1 cup half-and-half, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a dash of ground nutmeg. Stir in the crumbled bacon and cooked onions.
- In a separate bowl toss together 1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. Add to the egg mixture and mix well.
3. Bake the Quiche
- Carefully pour egg mixture into the hot baked pastry shell. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If the pastry edge is getting brown before the filling is done, cut out a circle of foil just large enough to cover the pastry edge, and place atop the pastry edge to prevent overbrowning.
- Transfer the quiche to a wire rack. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. This helps the custard filling to firm up and hold a cut edge.
- To serve, cut into 6 wedges and garnish with tomato wedges and parsley.
Quiche Lorraine Variations
- Smoky Quiche Lorraine: Prepare as directed, except use applewood-smoked bacon, substitute paprika for the nutmeg, substitute 6 ounces shredded smoked cheddar cheese or Gouda cheese for the Swiss cheese, and garnish with cilantro instead of parsley. Before serving, sprinkle with additional smoked paprika.
- Veggie Quiche Lorraine: Prepare as directed, except omit the bacon. Cook 1/2 cup finely chopped vegetables of your choice (we love mushrooms, asparagus, and/or kale) with the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Substitute 6 ounces shredded Havarti cheese with dill for the Swiss cheese. Replace tomato wedges and parsley with a mixture of 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, and 1 to 2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel.
- Italian Quiche Lorraine: Prepare as directed, except substitute 6 ounces pancetta, cut into strips, for the bacon. Cook pancetta strips until crisp; set aside 1/4 cup of the pancetta strips for the topping. Stir one 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped, into the egg mixture; substitute 1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed, for the nutmeg; and substitute 6 ounces shredded Fontina cheese for the Swiss cheese. Omit the tomato and parsley. Before serving, top with the reserved pancetta strips.