Quiche has been the butt of its share of jokes, but the fact remains that there's practically no more versatile dish on the planet than this French classic. Perfect for a hearty breakfast or brunch and great as a light lunch or dinner with a crisp green salad, quiche is also a delicious option for holiday entertaining, when something warm and comforting that can also be prepared ahead makes all the difference between bland snacks and an elegant, welcoming buffet. Not to mention the difference between a frenzied kitchen hostage and a relaxed, gracious host.
The Bunnery's quiche Lorraine has long held the title of Jackson's best, and is a favorite of many of our guests. Here's how we do it.
The Bunnery's Quiche Lorraine
For the crust:
For some reason, crusts inspire paranoia, but shouldn't. Try this foolproof recipe that far outpaces anything you can buy pre-prepared:
(for one 8-inch crust)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup vegetable shortening or very cold butter cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cold water
Blend flour and salt. Either by hand or in a food processor, cut shortening or butter into flour mixture until coarse granules form. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, and quickly mix by hand or process until dough coheres. Form into a ball, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Roll dough out to a diameter of about ten inches on a floured surface and transfer to an 8-inch pie or quiche mold, pressing into corners. Prick every inch or so with a fork, line with parchment paper and fill with weights (such as dried beans or rice). Bake at 425° for six to eight minutes, or just until the crust begins to brown. Remove from the oven and remove weights.
For the filling:
6 to 8 slices thick sliced bacon, cut into dice
¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese
3 large eggs
1¼ to 1½ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
a pinch each of nutmeg and pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Prepare the filling before baking the shell so the quiche can be assembled immediately while the shell is still hot from the oven. Brown bacon lightly and drain. Beat eggs, cream, ½ cup cheese and seasonings to blend. Scatter remaining cheese over the bottom of the shell, and follow with bacon. Pour cream mixture into the shell, filling to within ⅛ inch of rim. Cut butter into bits and distribute over the cream. Bake on the upper rack of a preheated 375° oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until puffed and browned and a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly. Serve hot, warm or cold, cut in wedges. Do not refrigerate if warm. If reheating, do so in a preheated 375° oven until hot; microwaving will toughen eggs and make the crust soggy and chewy.
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