When you taste the quiche from the recipe below, which is part of our “Leftover” series because its major flavoring comes from the pieces of cheese that are left from a cheese tray, you will NEVER believe it got its start as a dish served to Charles III of Lorraine on fast days.
Poppy Seeds in a Quiche?
Legend says that the quiche of yesteryear hardly resembled the quiche we know today. What King Charles enjoyed was filled with white poppy seeds that soaked overnight in water, were ground with milk and blended with cream, and onions that had been sautéed in butter. This mixture was spread on a round of puff pastry, covered with more pastry, and baked in a hot oven. It sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Nothing To Do With Today’s Quiche
But a far cry from the quiche Lorraine of today which is a felicitous blend of eggs, cream, cheese, and those cornerstones of French cuisine, lardons, a fancy word for smoked slab bacon. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the quiche became a real dish, featured in cookbooks and, eventually, magazines, and filled with everything from salmon to spinach, bell peppers to whatever the cook had at hand.
Quiche also entered the French slang lexicon and today if you call someone a “quiche” you’re calling them an idiot, a bumbledum.
Fundamental in French Cuisine
Quiche, the dish, has long been a fundamental in French cuisine, perfect for a quick weeknight supper and, in this season of vacations and holidays, idea for a picnic. Make it, let it cool and it becomes ultimately transportable. And if you’ve got a good recipe (and you do, it’s below) your family and your guests will bless you a thousand times and be so very impressed, for it adds a touch of elegance to the occasion!
Gruyere, Cheddar, Even Roquefort
While I recommend leftover cheese to flavor the quiche, any variety of cheeses gives it depth and texture of flavor. But don’t deprive yourself of quiche if you don’t have leftover cheese. If you want to make this quiche and are going out to choose cheese try Gruyère, always a great bet, a touch of Cheddar too, or even Roquefort.
Whatever you put in your quiche, it remains a dish that is elegant in flavor, simple as pie to make, and satisfying to all. And while it is the most humble of dishes it can be impressive too, so give quiche pride of place at your next picnic, lunch, or supper. If you’re serving it at table, a green salad is the perfect accompaniment.
QUICHE AU FROMAGE - PURE CHEESE QUICHE
- One recipe for On Rue Tatin basic pastry
- 1 shallot, minced
- 6 large eggs
- 2/3 cup;160ml heavy cream or crème fraîche
- 1 cup;250ml milk (preferably whole)
- 8 ounces;250g Gruyère, or a blend of your favorite cheeses
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg - optional
- Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch glass or metal pie plate (not removable bottom). Crimp the edges, poke the bottom with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, and place the pastry in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line the pastry with aluminum foil and pastry weights and bake in the bottom third of the oven until the pastry is golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the aluminum foil and pastry weights. Return the pastry to the oven to bake until the bottom is golden, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve. If you're going to fold over the pastry as in the video, roll out the pastry very thin in the center and don't pre-bake.
- Sprinkle the shallot over the bottom of the pastry either after pre-baking (if doing so) or before adding the quiche mixture.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and the milk until thoroughly blended. Season with the salt and pepper, then add the cheese and stir until it is blended, Turn the mixture into the pre-baked pastry, and spread out the cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg if you’ve used a Swiss-type cheese, and bake in the center of the oven until the filling is golden and puffed, and is completely baked through. To test for doneness, shake the quiche - if it is solid without a pool of uncooked filling in the center, it is done. You may also stick a sharp knife blade into the center of the filling and if it comes out clean, the quiche is baked through.
- Remove the quiche from the oven and serve immediately.