Creamy and rich, studded with smoky bacon and brimming with nutty Gruyère cheese, the classic quiche Lorraine is one of the most satisfying foods on earth. And it’s one of the few dishes that’s embraced any time of day and for any occasion, including breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, Easter, Christmas, baby showers, bridal showers, potlucks, game days, tea parties and more. Not many dishes can claim such reverence.
If you believed making quiche Lorraine is beyond your capabilities, I’m here to prove otherwise. Read on and you will discover how to create the easiest, most delicious quiche on Earth. And I say this with confidence.
What is quiche?
Contrary to popular belief, the quiche did not originate in France. The egg-based open pie was invented in Lothringen, a medieval kingdom under German rule. In fact, the term quiche comes from the German word Kuchen, or cake, and the original crust was made with bread dough.
The French later adopted and enhanced the dish and renamed it Lorraine – a nod to the Lorraine region of France. The French changed the crust too, as most quiche recipes call for a buttery pie crust or flaky puff pastry.
Early recipes for quiche Lorraine were simple – crust, eggs, cream and bacon. It was only later that cheese was added to the custard pie. And then onions. And then meats, vegetables and other ingredients from cubed ham to smoked salmon, crab meat to ground beef and all manner of vegetables like broccoli, spinach, asparagus along with a variety of cheeses.
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Do a little internet searching and you’ll find no shortage of quiche varieties. But what makes the quiche model?
In a nutshell, the perfect quiche consists of a buttery, flaky crust and creamy custard filling. It doesn’t matter what ingredients you add, the goal is to create a soft, fluffy custard that’s simply seasoned and dotted with savory ingredients.
Follow my tips below and you’ll craft a flawless quiche every time.
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How to make quiche the right way
Use a deep-dish pie crust. A regular 9-inch pie crust isn’t deep enough. I recommend using a store-bought, frozen deep-dish pie crust because it’s foolproof and ready to go. But before baking the crust, prick the bottom of the dough several times to prevent it from rising in the oven.
Keep an eye on your crust as it “blind bakes” (bakes without filling). Check the crust every few minutes, and if it’s puffing up, gently prick the dough with a fork so it deflates.
Use heavy cream in the filling, not milk or half-and-half. This ensures the richest, creamiest custard.
Bake at 325 degrees. Though 350 degrees is what many quiche recipes recommend, cooking at a lower temperature keeps the custard moist and silky. Higher temperatures can cause the eggs to scramble.
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Use Swiss-made Gruyère cheese that bears the AOP/Appellation d’Origine Protégée seal. It’s complex, nutty and predictable when it comes to baking. It’s also a bit pricey, but you don’t need much and the rest of the ingredients in the quiche are inexpensive. It’s worth the splurge.
Shallots are optional but highly recommended. As mentioned above, onions aren’t added to traditional quiche Lorraine. The version with onions is called quiche Alsacienne. But I adore the delicate sweet flavor of shallots, so I called for one chopped shallot in the recipe below. Feel free to leave it out if desired.
Cook your bacon in the oven. This method saves time and leaves virtually zero cleanup. Plus it gives you just enough time to bake the crust, chop the shallot and grate the cheese.
To bake your bacon, arrange the strips on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until chewy crisp.
Serve your quiche hot or warm to ensure a flaky, crisp crust. Chilled quiche often delivers a soggy crust.
Make the quiche in advance. This quiche can be fully prepared up to 24 hours in advance, covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to reheat.
To reheat, cover the quiche with aluminum foil and bake in a 300-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until the center is hot.
Freeze your quiche. This quiche freezes beautifully for up to three months. To prepare the quiche for freezing, cool it completely after baking and then wrap it in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.
Before reheating, thaw the quiche overnight in the refrigerator. To reheat, cover the quiche with aluminum foil and bake in a 300-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until the center is hot.
Recipe: The ultimate quiche Lorraine
Serves: 4 to 6
- 9 inch deep-dish frozen pie crust, kept frozen until ready to use
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, chopped (optional)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon (about 6 slices), cooked until chewy crisp and chopped
- 1 ⅓ cups finely shredded Gruyère cheese, about 4½ ounces
- Chopped fresh chives, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Thaw the pie crust until just soft enough to easily prick with a fork, about 10 minutes. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden, checking every few minutes to make sure the crust doesn’t puff up. If it does, gently prick the dough with a fork so it deflates.
- Set the crust aside and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.
- Heat the oil in small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft and translucent, about three to four minutes. Try not to brown the shallots. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and nutmeg.
- Spread the shallots evenly over the bottom of the cooked crust. Top with half of the bacon, all the Gruyère and then the remaining bacon. Pour the egg and cream mixture over top.
- Transfer the quiche to a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the custard is set. It shouldn’t jiggle when you gently shake the baking sheet. Let cool for five minutes.
- Serve hot or warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to three days.
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