FRENCH CLASSIC While the word ‘quiche’ is from the German ‘kuchen’ (cake), this version originates in the Lorraine region of France, which borders Germany.
Rediscover this classic French twist on the traditional German dish
Quiche is a dish that can satisfy at any time of the year. It’s good for brunch, lunch or dinner. In the 1970s, Delia Smith included quiche Lorraine, a bacon flavoured quiche, in her dinner party menus.
I think we’ve become a bit snobby about quiche because these days you can come across many horrible versions of it! But it needn’t be like this. Consider a crisp, sharp pastry containing a dreamy savoury custard infused with deep flavours. Now you’re talking…
The crispness of the pastry is of the utmost importance. Nobody likes a soggy bottom.
The main rules of pastry making are to keep your ingredients cold. Butter straight out of the fridge. Very cold water for mixing. Chill your bowl (preferably metal) in the fridge for half an hour before you start.
For this quiche recipe I am going for a rough puff pastry. Cut the butter into small pieces with a chilled knife. Touch the pastry as little as possible with your hands. (Touching will make the butter melt and the pastry will be less crisp.)
Use the cold knife to combine the flour, butter and water together. You will have to use your hands a bit, but touch as little as possible when you turn the dough out and knead; a chilled rolling pin is a good idea.
The savoury custard is standard, but you can add any variety of ingredients – seafood, bacon, cheese, onion, ham, feta, tomato, spinach – whatever you happen to have. Just make sure to squeeze any excess moisture out of wetter ingredients such as tomatoes or spinach.
What you need
For the rough puff pastry:
- 225g plain flour
- 225 cold butter
- 100ml iced water
- Good pinch of sea salt
For the filling:
- 200g dry-cure smoked bacon lardons, or chopped smoked rashers
- 320ml double cream
- 4 eggs and two egg yolks
- 1 egg white to brush the pastry
- A handful of finely chopped parsley
- Sea salt and black pepper
What you do
Sieve the flour into the chilled bowl, add a generous pinch of sea salt and mix well. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and use a knife to cut the butter through the flour. You’re not aiming for breadcrumbs here, just smaller cubes of butter coated with flour. Avoid using extra water, just blend the dough together as roughly as you can.
Cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Lightly flour your worktop, and shape the dough into a rectangle. Roll it out to three times its initial length. Fold the top third back towards the centre. Then bring the bottom third up to meet it so the dough now consists of three layers.
Give the dough a quarter turn then roll out again till three times its original length. Repeat as earlier – fold the top third into the centre. Bring the bottom third up to meet it so the dough is in three layers again.
Give the dough a quarter turn, roll out again till three times the length, fold as before and chill in the fridge for another 20 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 20cm tin that’s at least 3cm deep. Take the dough from the fridge and roll so that its edges overflow the tin. Cover the dough with tin foil, shiny side down, and weigh down with baking beans or rice.
Bake for 20 minutes, remove the tin foil and baking beans, and glaze thinly with the egg white. Return to the oven for five minutes. Remove and trim the overhanging pastry.
Fry the bacon for eight to ten minutes, till cooked but not crispy. Drain on kitchen roll and spread half over the pastry base. Put the cream, eggs and yolks into a large bowl, add a big pinch of sea salt, then whisk slowly till combined.
Add the parsley and some black pepper. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds till the mix is frothy. Pour over the base then sprinkle over the rest of the bacon. Bake for twenty minutes then keep a close eye on it till it’s puffed up but still wobbly at the centre. Cool, then serve with salad or baby potatoes.
The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.