Quiche Lorraine (Adapted from Thomas Keller)

I always enjoy a good quiche, my favorite being Quiche Lorraine.  Something about the light fluffy eggs folded with caramelized onions and bacon enveloped in a flaky buttery crust just never fails to make my heart skip two beats (maybe even literally).

Since I am trying to cut calories when possible, I decided to use fat free milk and whipped egg whites.  This reduced my calories and fat from the egg yolks and the cream that usually goes in this dish -- the pastry shell recipe however, should not be changed.  I baked the quiche in a __x__ tart pan and cut it into 10 pieces so I have equal portions every time.  I enjoy having a slice of quiche on a bed of baby spinach, tomatoes and red onion -- because the crust is heavy, the raw vegetables act as a nice balance.  I used Thomas Keller's  basic quiche batter and quiche shell recipe from his wonderful cookbook, Bouchon. The proper way to serve a quiche is to completely cool it down and then reheating it in the oven, that way the quiche shell can become light and flaky while the custard stays moist and flavorful.  I made some changes to the basic quiche batter -- I replaced heavy cream with fat free milk and one extra egg and separated my eggwhites and beat them into a foam before folding them into the mixture.  However, I stuck to the quiche shell recipe -- I definitely understand the importance of a good crust, soggy crusts are never pleasant.

I even used Thomas Keller's favorite method and made it by hand, I found the following passage extremely useful while I was making the dough:

"I put flour on a board and form a well, combine water and butter in the well, squeezing the butter into half-inch chunks in the water so the butter and water become even in temperature, then gradually stir in the flour as if I were making a pasta dough.  I'm old-fashioned and always make it by hand, but a heavy-duty mixer with a paddle attachment works well too.  Do not mix the dough too much or overwork it.  If you do, you'll overdevelop the gluten, the protein in the flour, the dough will become elastic rather than "shortened," and the crust will take on a dense, doughy quality rather than a light, flaky one.

To maintain the proper shape wthout cracks, you ahve to let the dough rest before you roll it out.  It must be rolled out to the right thickness, about three-sixteenths of an inch, or it will be soggy rather than crisp.  After you line the mold, you should let the dough rest again.  It's best to put it in the freezer for a couple of hours and blind-bake it still frozen."

I have also cut the quantities of the ingredients by half -- so it makes a nice 10" tart pan quiche opposed to a 9" sprinfoam cake pan.

Ingredients for Basic Quiche Shell:

from Thomas Keller's Bouchon:

(makes enough for one 10 x 1.125 " tart pan, 10 servings)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted, plus additional flour for rolling
  • 1/2  teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inches pieces
  • 1/8 cup ice water
  • Canola oil

If you want to use a heavy-duty mixer - place 1 cup of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Turn the mixer to low-speed and add the butter a small handful at a time.  When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is completely blended with the flour.  Reduce the speed, add the remaining flour, and mix just to combine.  Add the water and mix until incorporated.  The dough will come around the paddle and should feel smooth, not sticky, to the touch.

Remove the dough from the mixer and check to be certain that there are no visible pieces of butter remaining; if necessary, return the dough to the mixer and mix briefly again.  Pat the dough into a 7- to 8-inch disk and warp in plastic warp.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to a day.  Place the dough on a floured work surface and rub on all sides with flour.  Flatten it into a large circle using a rolling-pin or the heel of your hand.  Roll the rolling-pin back ad forth across the dough a few times, then turn it 90 degrees and roll again.  Continue to turn and roll until the dough is 1/16" thick and about 14 in in diameter.

To lift the dough into the mold, place the rolling pin across the dough about one-quarter of the way up from the bottom edge, fold the bottom edge of dough up and over the pin and roll the dough up on the rolling pin.  Carefully cover the tart pan and pinch the edges using your finger tips.  Carefully check for any cracks or holes in the dough, and patch with the reserved dough as necessary.  Place in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 20 minutes to resolidify the butter.  Reserve the reamining dough scraps.

Pu a rack set in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.  Line the quiche shell with parchment paper and fill the shell with pie weights or dried beans, gently guiding the weights into the corners of the shell and filling the shell completely.  Bake the shell for 35-45 minutes, or until the edges of the dough are lightly browned.  Carefully remove the parchment and weights.  Check the dough for any new cracks or holes and patch with the thin pieces of the reserved dough if necessary and patching any holes before filling with the quiche batter.

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 1/2 lb of bacon, cut into lardons about 1/12 inches long and 3/8 inches thick (I used 4 strips of bacon)
  • 1 cup caramelized onions (recipe is here)

Spread the bacon on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has rendered its fat; the bacon will not be crisp at this point.  Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.  Comebine the caramelized onions and bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Drain on paper towels.

Ingredients for Basic Quiche Batter:

From Thomas Keller's Bouchon

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used fat free milk instead)
  • 3 large eggs (I separate the yolks from the whites and added an additional egg)
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine the milk and cream (or all fat free milk) in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until scalded (meaning a sin begins to form on the surface).  Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes before continuing.

I added this step** Take your egg whites and whip until firm peaks can form, if needed, you may add a pinch of cream of tartar to help stabilize the whites.

Put the eggs (I only put the yolks), the milk and cream mixture (fat free milk), salt, white pepper, and nutmeg in a blender and blend on low speed for a few seconds to combine the ingredients.  Increase the speed to high and blend for 30 seconds to a minute, or until the batter is light and foamy.  I added this step***Fold in your egg whites, be careful to not over mix -- use a gentle folding motion.  The mixture does not need to be completely uniform.

Pour half the mixture into the shell and add half of the bacon onion mixture.  Pour the remaining batter and top with leftover filling.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top of the quiche is browned and the custard is set when the pan is jiggled.  Remove the quiche from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a rack.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 day, or up to 3 days.

To serve: Preheat the oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.  Place a slice of quiche on the baking sheet and reheat for 10 minutes, or until hot throughout.  To check, insert a metal skewer into the quiche for several seconds and then touch the skewer to your lip to test the temperature of the quiche.

My healthier version turned out really great, I think by beating my eggwhites into a foam allowed the texture to still be airy and light but still flavorful from the bits of bacon and caramelized onions.  You would've never guessed that I used fat-free milk at all to make this quiche!  Could it be?  A healthy quiche? Okay maybe not quite yet, I am still on a hunt for a healthy tart dough recipes -- any suggestions?  When baking the quiche, be careful to not overcook it -- I would begin checking the batter around 40 minutes, even if there is still a slight jiggle, remember that it will cook further when you take it out of the oven.  I also encourage that you make the dough with your hands -- cooking is all about feeling.  Quiche also make great leftovers and according to Thomas Keller, it's also excellent cold!  Speaking of cold, it's currently 30 degrees and my toes are frozen -- good thing honey has built me a fire to warm me right up :)  Good Night Yall!