This recipe celebrates all the eggy, cheesy, bacony goodness of classic Quiche Lorraine
Looking for a light, satisfying and elegant Easter brunch to enjoy at the cottage in Muskoka? A warm slice of Quiche Lorraine and a fresh salad is a perfect dish to welcome spring into our lives. If you’ve shied away from making quiche because you’re intimidated by pastry, you owe it to yourself to get past that: once you know how to make one quiche, you’ve opened up a whole world of options.
That’s because quiche isn’t really a recipe: it’s more of a formula. A pastry shell, a custard of eggs, cheese and cream, and a filling of whatever grabs your fancy. Leeks and mushrooms? Crumbled sausage and sundried tomatoes? Cubed ham and grilled peppers? Sure… why not. Change the cheese and seasonings to suit the filling, and you’re in business.
Similar pies have been made for hundreds of years — recipes that date back to the 13th century used a bread-like dough rather than flaky pastry — and cooks just filled the shell with whatever they had that needed to be used up. They used their local cheese and seasonings, and called it a day.
In the countryside of Lorraine, on the French-German border, that often meant thick slices of fatty bacon, shallots, Gruyere cheese and nutmeg. Hence the Quiche Lorraine. (The word “quiche” also comes from the Lorraine region.)
Thanks to Julia Child, this was the quiche that became widely known in North America — she included it in her 1968 The French Chef Cookbook.
Quiche Lorraine variations
There is a wide range of recipes for Quiche Lorraine, but most of them have just a few variants: onions instead of shallots, Swiss cheese or cheddar instead of Gruyere, cayenne pepper instead of nutmeg, and milk or half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Some add garlic, or a small amount of Parmesan cheese, and others dot the top with butter before baking. Feel free to follow our recipe, or mix it up any way you like.
The only tricky part of making quiche is the pastry. There is certainly artistry in a great pastry, and not everyone has the time or patience to master it. We’ve found that a lot of the pre-made frozen pastry shells are actually excellent, so for a quick lunch quiche, that’s our go-to.
If you’re looking to make your own pastry from scratch, there are excellent pastry recipes here and here. You can use butter, shortening, or a mix of the two. The best pastry recipe we’ve ever found uses lard – it’s an old family recipe from the former owner of Marty’s, the long-defunct bakery and café in downtown Bracebridge that used to be famous for massive and delicious butter tarts. The pastry recipe is in Marty’s World Famous Cookbook, which can be found online.
Whatever pastry you use, you’ll want to pre-bake it for about ten minutes before you fill it – a technique called “blind baking.” You can just pour the filling straight in to the raw pastry, but it won’t be as flaky as it will if you blind bake it for ten minutes – it’s an extra step that’s worth doing.
Quiche Lorraine recipe
- 8 slices of thick bacon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 shallot, minced (can substitute onion)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch each of black pepper and nutmeg
- One 9-inch pie shell
Preheat oven to 375.
Slice the bacon into half inch pieces and fry until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain.
Saute the shallot in 1 tbsp of bacon fat, just until translucent.
Place the pastry in the oven and bake for ten minutes. If the base puffs up, just pierce it with a fork to release some air and it will collapse. (Alternately, pour some dried beans in the pie shell before baking it, which will prevent it from puffing up. Remove the beans before filling the pie shell!)
Scatter bacon, shallot, and one cup of cheese in the bottom of the pie shell.
Whisk together the eggs, cream, and seasonings, and pour over the bacon-cheese mixture.
Top with remaining cheese, and place in the oven.
Bake until pastry is golden and the custard is firm — 30 to 40 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a fresh salad and a crisp white wine.
For more great recipes for the Muskoka cottage, check out these blog posts: