Ok folks, I’m going out on a bit of a limb here. Devil’s Food Kitchen has always been a baking and pastry blog. We all know this. What you may NOT know is that I do not, in fact, just eat sweets all day. Not only that, I sometimes – brace yourselves – cook savory food. Take a moment to whip out the smelling salts and get over that shock. Today, I’m putting a toe over the border into savory country to bring you a dish that still has baking roots and methods but is decidedly savory. I hope you join me.
My deepest culinary love is breakfast (pork is a reeeeeally close second), and any long time pastry fiends of the DFK nation know this. We are going back to the breakfast genre this week with a truly classic recipe – quiche (say: kee-sh)! While the basic crust and filling recipes will give you a nearly endless amount of variations you can customize to your own preferences, we’re specifically making my personal favorite – Quiche Alsacienne (lardon or bacon, cheese and onions).
Quiche in a modern sense is, as so many other recipes are, attributed to the French. Certainly the French popularized the dish within the last few hundred years, but the Germans are responsible for developing the tart before that. In fact, the word quiche comes from the German “kuchen” which means cake. The only real hard definition of it as a dish is an open, egg-based, savory tart. In terms of what you add to that tart, the field is wide open, although various combos of ingredients may give the quiche a specific name. Quiche Lorraine, maybe the most famous of all quiche, has the addition of bacon or lardon, and is so named for the Lorraine region of France. Incidentally, the Lorraine region was once the Lothringen region of Germany, the birthplace of the original quiche.
When cooking any egg dish, the heat you apply will have a big difference in the finished texture. High heat will cause rapid protein coagulation and water evaporation, which will create tightly bound and connected egg proteins. When done properly, this creates lots of small curds, similar to scrambled eggs. If too much heat is applied and too much water evaporates, that texture can turn unpleasantly rubbery. On the other hand, low heat allows the egg proteins lots of time to uncurl and interconnect, without a lot of loss of water. Low heat application creates a smoother, creamier texture – as is the case in crème brulee.
In terms of quiche, I prefer a creamier texture, so I bake my quiche at a relatively low temperature and incorporate a water bath. If you prefer more of a scrambled egg texture, I suggest increasing the temp by 30-50 degrees F and doing away with the water bath.
To make your best quiche, it should be no surprise that it’s important to use the best ingredients you can find. This is especially true of the fillings.
For the bacon, choose a thick-cut, artisan brand or better yet get it from your local butcher.
For the cheese, I use gruyere. It is my utmost favorite cheese, a classic quiche addition, and a perfect pairing for this recipe. Good alternatives if you are gruyere opposed would be emmenthal, swiss, or even a sharp white cheddar.
For the onion, I use a Vidalia sweet onion.
pate a foncer
240g butter unsalted
20g egg yolks about 1 egg
320g pastry flour
5g rosemary optional
Before you get started, chill the water until very cold and reserve it in the fridge.
Finely chop the rosemary and reserve.
Combine and cream the cold butter, salt and sugar with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer.
Add the egg yolks and mix until fully emulsified.
Add all of the remaining ingredients (don’t forget the cold water!) and mix until the dough comes together.
Wrap the dough up and rest it for 4-24hr before using. If you plan to use the dough in the distant future, you can freeze it.
When you’re ready, prep a tart ring with a small amount of butter, just lightly greasing the inside of the ring. I’m using a tart pan that has a removal base, which makes unmolding really simple.
Lightly flour your rolling surface and the top of your dough and roll it out to 1/8”/ .3cm.
Place your tart ring in the center of your rolled dough, and cut a circle of dough out around the ring that is just wider than the height of the ring.
Loosely set the dough into the ring and trim off any excess dough if it’s giving you trouble.
To set the dough in the ring, start by gently pushing the dough all the way down into the bottom corner of the ring. Continue to press the dough into the corner of the ring creating a crease. Then, still gently, press the dough up the side of the ring, eliminating any trapped air bubbles. Strike off the excess dough along the edge of the tart ring with a paring knife.
Let the dough sit in the fridge, uncovered, for at least and hour and up to overnight. This will let excess moisture evaporate from the dough and will keep the dough from shrinking too much when it bakes.
To blind bake the dough, set cheesecloth into the shell. Fill the shell with baking beans (rice is my personal favorite. It gets into all of the little cracks) and bake the dough at 350F/176C for 30min.
When the crust visible around the edge begins to color, remove the cheesecloth and rice and finish baking the shell for another 10min or until it is pale golden brown.
Optionally, you can brush the tart shell with a thin layer of egg white immediately after removing it from the oven. This will create a mild barrier to the moisture of the quiche batter during baking and help prevent a soggy crust.
100g whole egg about 2 eggs
40g egg yolk about 2 eggs
240g heavy cream
Simply combine the ingredients and hand blend or whisk until well homogenized, then pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve the quiche batter to use later.
40g sweet onion about ¼ large onion
Chop the bacon and dice the onions before getting started.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the bacon.
Brown the bacon, stirring constantly, until it is just beginning to crisp then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve to use later.
Strain all but a few tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat from the skillet. I save all of my bacon fat, and I strongly suggest you do too.
Add the chopped onions to the skillet. Allow the onions to brown, stirring as little as possible and only to create even caramelization. Stirring too frequently will prevent the onions from browning quickly.
Deglaze the pan with approx. a quarter cup or about 100g of water or beer, stirring to release the caramelized sugars from the bottom of the skillet.
Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the skillet. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until nearly all of the liquid has cooked out and the onions are a deep golden brown and glazed.
Prepare the quiche shell on a cooling rack set onto a sheet pan. This will allow you to create a water bath without risking the water getting into the crust and ruining it. If you are using a solid tart pan, you can skip the cooling rack.
Shred the gruyere and reserve.
Spread the bacon, onion, and cheese evenly over the tart crust.
Pour the quiche batter over the filling.
Place the quiche on the prepared pan halfway into the oven. Pour water into the sheet pan until it is covering the entire pan. Gently push the pan fully into the oven.
Bake the quiche at 300F/149C for 45min.-1hr. or until set.