Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

Once upon a time I wasn’t a fan of quiche… I also wasn’t a fan of scrambled eggs, or other assorted egg dishes, and then something changed!  It was a miracle that began with the addition of cheese and chives to scrambled eggs, and then branched out.  I still am grossed out by sunny side up eggs (something my boyfriend feels the need to terrorize me with now and again), but other than that I have to say I’m an egg fan.  Despite that, quiche is something I’ve never actually made- and neither is pie dough- so making a quiche from scratch encompassed two firsts for me.  I know there are about 7863 recipes for pie dough and quiche out there, but I decided to be all fancy-like and start with the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, because quiche is a classic French dish and all.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about making this- especially the dough, because it’s one of those things that you have to work quickly to make or else!!

So I read the instructions a bazillion times before attempting to make the dough… and I still think I worked too slowly.  Not that the dough wasn’t good- it really was good- but I feel like it could have been better.  It also puffed up way more that I think it was supposed to which could have been a variety of things- did I work to slowly?  Did the dough get too warm while  I was making it?  Did I not roll it out thin enough?  Was it because I didn’t put a mold, or dry beans, or anything in the crust while I pre-baked it?  I’m not sure- maybe it was a combination.  But despite that it turned out pretty well, although I took it out a little too early at first and had to put it back in for a few minutes because after I cut it I realized it was a little underdone…  Also, Julia Child’s version is pretty custardy, I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but I personally like it a little bit denser I guess (I think that’s the right word for my preferred quiche texture).  For my quiche I ended up substituting cheddar cheese for Swiss, and adding bacon, so I basically combined the recipe for Quiche Lorraine and Quiche au Fromage.. but hey, I like cheese and bacon together… they are a perfect match.

With the quiche, I served a simple mesclun salad with freshly picked greens from my garden- my first crop!!!  I didn’t put anything in the salad this time- just the greens and a simple vinaigrette because I wanted to get the full flavor of the greens, but maybe I’ll do something fancier next time- with cheese, and toasted walnuts or something.

Mesclun Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette



Ingredients:
For the salad:
Mesclun greens

For the vinaigrette: (makes about 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
6 tbsp olive oil
Big pinch pepper
1-2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1.  Wash and dry greens thoroughly.
2.  In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and mustard.  Then slowly add oil, and season with pepper.  If you have a salad dressing shaker, or emulsifier, combine vinegar, salt, mustard and oil, and shake vigorously, or use emulsifier to combine.  Stir in parsley, taste and season as needed.
3. Place greens in individual bowls, and dress salad as desired.

Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking


Notes:

  • I adapted this dressing from the Sauce Vinaigrette recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  This is just a simple recipe for a vinaigrette made from any wine vinegar or combination of vinegar and lemon juice.  Feel free to substitute any vinegar of your choosing – white wine or champagne vinegar I’m sure would be good.
  • You can also add other types of fresh herbs- the herbs mentioned in the original recipe are parsley, chives, tarragon, and basil.  Or if you don’t have fresh herbs, you can substitute a pinch of dry herbs. Or leave the herbs out altogether.  You can also leave out the dry mustard if you want.

Pâte Brisée


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch bits (if no food processor), or if you have a food processor, quarter the sticks lengthwise, and cut into 3/8 inch pieces
4 tbsp chilled shortening
A scant half cup iced water, plus a few droplets more as needed

Directions:
1. If you do not have a food processor: Combine flour, salt, sugar, butter, and shortening in a large mixing bowl.  Rub the mixture together rapidly between the tips of your fingers until it resembles bits of oatmeal flakes. (Do not overmix).  Then add the water and blend quickly with one hand, fingers held together and slightly cupped, and gather dough into a ball.    If there are remnants that are not part of the dough, add a few more droplets of water, and add that to the dough.  Press the dough into a ball.  If you have a food processor:  Place the flour, salt and sugar into the food processor.  Add the butter and shortening.  Then flick the machine off and on 4-5 times.  Then while the machine is running, add the ice water.  Flick the food processor on and off a few times.  The dough should mass up on the blade.  If it does not, add a few more drops of ice water, repeating as needed.  When it has massed together, scrape dough out onto lightly floured work surface, and form into a ball. (Do not overmix.)
2. On a lightly flours work surface, press your dough down with the heal of your hand and away from you quickly, about 6 inches.  (This is called the fraisage.)
3. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.

To make your partially-cooked pastry shell for the quiche:
**Work as quickly as possible to prevent the dough from getting to warm**
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface,
3. If hard, hit it with your rolling pin a few times to soften it.  Knead the dough into a flat circle, and lightly flour the top of it.
4. From the center of your dough, roll the rolling pin back and forth to begin flattening the dough.  Then, with the pin always rolling away from you start rolling out the dough into a circle.  Lift the dough and turn at a slight angle and roll again.  Continue turning, and rolling, until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick, and about 2 inches larger around the sides than your pie plate.  Lightly flour the surface, and top of the dough as needed to prevent sticking.
5. Gently place your rolled out dough in your pie plate, and gently flatten into the bottom and sides of the pan.

 
6. Trim off the excess dough around the edges, and on the edges press lightly with a fork all the way around to make a decorative edge.

7. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, about every 1/2 inch.
8.  If you have weights or dried beans, you can line the inside of the dough with buttered aluminum foil or buttered brown paper, and then place the weights/beans inside to weigh down the dough.  Then place in the oven and bake for 8-9 minutes.  Then remove the weights/beans, and bake for 2-3 minutes more until the shell is just beginning to color and shrink from the sides of the pan.

Source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1

Cheddar and Bacon Quiche
Serves 4-6


Ingredients:
8 inch partially cooked pastry shell (made with Pâte Brisée)
3-4 ounces bacon (6-8 slices of medium thickness), cut into pieces 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide
3 eggs or 2 eggs and 2 yolks
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, or half cream half milk
1/2 to 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 to 2 tbsp butter, cut into pea-sized pieces


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat a large pan over medium heat, and cook bacon until done.  Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
3. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, cream (or cream and milk), salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in the grated cheese.
4. Sprinkle your bacon into the partially cooked pastry shell.  Then pour egg/cream/cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle your butter pieces over the top.
5. Place in the upper third of the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the quiche is puffed up and browned.
6. Remove from the oven and serve.


Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking



Notes:

  • Make sure, when you are looking to see whether your quiche is done, that the top has actually browned, and it’s not just the cheese.  I think this is why mine was underdone at first- it was just the cheese that had browned a bit, and not the rest of the quiche.
  • The original recipe for Quiche Lorraine calls for Swiss cheese, and I’d definitely like to try that.  Any good melting cheese would probably be good though- I’m thinking a Gouda (because it’s my favorite).  I’d also like to experiment with some vegetable quiches- broccoli, or spinach, or asparagus would be good.
  • Quiche is definitely something I’d like to experiment with a few different recipes on- both the fillings and the pie dough.  This one was good, but it may not be my personal ideal.  Like I mentioned, I’m not so sure I was in love with the consistency.  I thought it was good, but not great for my personal tastes, but if you like custardy quiche, this may be the one for you.
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