Better than Quiche Lorraine

Contrary to what you might believe, the tart quiche originated on German soil and not French. The widely popular classic of French cuisine heralds from an area of the medieval German kingdom Lothringen, aka Lorraine, France.

Years ago the pie was made with just eggs, cream, smoked bacon and bread dough. The word Küche or Küchen is German for cake; believed to be the origin of the word Quiche. 

Keep in mind, the Lorraine region has influence from Germany as well as France; so depending on who you ask or where you sampling your Quiche from - you may receive a slight variation of the recipe. Today a Quiche Lorraine is expected to contain cheese and onions, as well. The use of Gruyère cheese is a relatively new addition to quiche in France. Oh and don't expect to taste any Gruyère in your quiche in Lorraine; they are purists - sans the cheese. Too bad, it's a really good modification to the French recipe. In Germany expect onions and no cheese; and it's called Zwiebelkuchen.

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I find it interesting to know the classical origin of a dish, but what is more important when making a quiche or any dish for that matter is - what influences the taste and texture of a dish. So for me the appeal is not to stick to its classical roots, but how the melding of cultures and the additions of flavorful savory ingredients, in this case, like onions and cheese have improved on this dish. 

As for Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, the best selling book by Bruce Feirstein, which satirized stereotypes of masculinity; I can assure you based upon all the quiches I have made - real men DO eat quiche! 

Tips:

Add 1 Tablespoon flour mixed into filling prior to adding egg/ milk mixture to help set a filling that is too moist, example: tomatoes, mushrooms, etc..  

To prevent a raw bottom of quiche, pre-bake pastry dough Blind (8-12 minutes with no color) before filling.

Bake directly on an oven rack. Baking quiche on a cookie or sheet pan will cause the tart or pie bottom to be raw. 

Feel free to improvise with flavors, seasonings, vegetables, meats and seafood. Just keep in mind that adding very moist fillings such as mushrooms, tomatoes, etc will affect the custard of eggs and milk or cream.

Better than Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Makes one 9-inch tart

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

For George's Pastry Crust:

*George’s Favorite Pie Crust

Makes 1 pie or 2 bottom crusts

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup cold milk

Chill the butter and milk before you begin. Chilling keeps the pie crust flaky and prevents the fat pieces from melting into the flour and becoming tough. 

Next, mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Cut the chilled butter into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The mixture should have fat lumps no larger than the size of raisins. If making pie crust in the summer time cool off the flour by measuring your flour and refrigerate one hour before making dough.

Pour in the chilled liquid just until the milk is absorbed, mixing gently with a fork. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Mix the dough as little as possible: you don't want to cream the lumps of butter into the flour. A crust without lumps of butter will be dense, not flaky. Note that humidity will affect how much liquid the flour will absorb.

Split the dough into two parts; 2/3 and 1/3 (2/3 for the bottom and 1/3 for the top). Pat them into balls, flattening them slightly, and wrap them in plastic wrap. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is preferred. Chilling lets the flour absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in separate pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it is baked.

Prepare George’s piecrust the night prior or at least 1 hour ahead; or use store bought piecrust. Roll out pastry into a 9-inch tart or pie pan. Pre-bake pastry dough Blind (8-12 minutes with no color) before filling.

For the Filling:

1 cup (approximately 6 slices) thick cut or slab bacon, cut into thin strips-'lardons'

1/2 cup sweet white onion, sliced thin

2 green onions, chopped

3 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups half-half or milk

Pinch of sea salt and fresh grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon each hot sauce, fresh grated black pepper

1 cup Gruyere or good Swiss cheese, shredded

Optional: 

2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

2 Tablespoons Arugula, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F.

Pre heat a sauté pan to medium heat, cook bacon until brown and crisp. Remove bacon pieces and drain on a paper towel. Drain bacon fat from pan; add both onions to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes to slightly soften. Allow bacon and onions to cool. 

Place bacon, onion, parsley, Arugula, and Swiss cheese on top of blind baked pastry crust. 

In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg, hot sauce and pepper and pour the mixture over onion and bacon tart. 

Bake for 20 minutes, lower temperature to 350F; total baking time is 30 minutes or until egg custard is set. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.  

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