Quiche lorraine, again
It’s recently come to my attention that I may not be the most objective measure of the average’s person affinity for France. Seeing as I’ve been somewhat of a francophile since, oh, about forever, I think a part of me just takes it for granted that everyone in the world wants to dress as chic as Parisienne women do and eat savory pastries and croissants and pear-almond tarts all day long. I mean, everyone does want that, right?
But then I read things like this, and it causes me to think: is quiche something that’s taboo, blasée? (See, I can’t even avoid throwing in French words every chance I get. Somebody stop me.) I honestly can’t understand it because, seriously, it seems silly that someone wouldn’t want to eat savory meats and vegetables suspended by cream and cheese and eggs, wrapped up in a buttery crust. Maybe all the fat scares people away. Or maybe it just isn’t in the radar of American meals anymore—quiche and savory tarts are saved for special occasions, or for cocktail parties around the holidays when you can heat up those little mini quiches that you find in the freezer aisle. Who knows.
Anyway, as Mimi from Manger wrote, quiche lorraine truly is something that is as classic and common as good baguettes around here. From what it seems like, everyone knows how to make it, and make it they do—especially when they need something quick, easy and reliable for a nice lunch or dinner. This is do in part to the fact that most just tend to use store-bought puff pastry for the pastry shell. My host mom always has at least one roll of puff pastry in the freezer, and there’s no shame or guilt attached to not making your own from scratch. I like this. Because in the end, I’m not sure it really matter—if you can prep an entire, delicious quiche in about 10 minutes and it comes out smelling of flaky, buttery pastry and of cheese and bacon, there’s nothing to complain about.
(With that being said, I do like the idea of making one’s own pâte brisée or shortcrust pastry for the quiche. The quality of store-bought puff pastry is good around here, but still, homemade is always nice. I just don’t like it for how it makes what should be a weeknight, casual sort of thing into something labor-intensive and stressful.)
Regarding the thought that’s probably most preventing you from actually considering making this: yes, there is a lot of fat in quiche, and especially a quiche lorraine. I used to be a little scared of it, too—I was one of those people who worshiped Julia Child for saying things like “if you’re afraid of butter, use cream,” but then whenever I cooked I would be stingy with the amount I was using. But living in France and adjusting to eating here has definitely done something to me. All I can say is: butter is good. And in case you’re wondering, all the thin, pretty women walking around Paris eat quiche, too.
PS I realize that I posted about quiche lorraine earlier in the summer, back when I announced that I was going to be living in France for this year. So when, last Thursday afternoon, I found bacon lardons, crème fraîche and ready-made puff pastry and decided to make a quiche lorraine for myself and the kids for dinner that night, I thought it’d be kind of useless to share it on here. But I do feel like this recipe and story is different—at least to me, it seems to be more French in how it is straightforward and nothing too special-occasion. But nonetheless delicious and a fine meal. (Or maybe that’s just how it seems to me because I’m the one making them and thus of course it feels different for me.) Plus, this recipe has more bacon and I added cheese. So that can’t be bad.
Serves 4 to 6
I have no idea how big the baking dish I used was—it was what my host family has around and uses for quiches, though I think it’s wider and more shallow than the standard 9-inch baking dish. Just go with whatever you have and use intuition to know when the quiche is done. Also, if you don’t have crème fraîche, you could just substitute 300 ml cream in place of it and the milk.
150 – 200 grams bacon lardons, chopped
200 ml crème fraîche
100 ml milk
freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
100 grams Emmenthal or Gruyère, grated
230 grams of puff pastry, store-bought, quick-made, or otherwise
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
In a skillet over medium heat, fry up the bacon lardons until they’re golden and cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to cool slightly. In a medium-large bowl, mix together the eggs, crème fraîche, milk, a pinch of nutmeg, about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a big dusting of black pepper together until the mixture lightens and becomes slightly frothy.
Roll out the pastry and line a 9- or 10-inch round baking dish. Pour in the egg and milk mixture; sprinkle the cooked bacon lardons and grated cheese evenly over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the quiche has puffed up and browned. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold.
And because I am basically a weatherwoman: in other news, Paris is still warm, gray, and muggy. Woohoo! (Not.)