Quiche Lorraine

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Today we make Quiche Lorraine, one of the native dishes of the French province of Lorraine.

Ingredients:

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(there should also be buttermilk in that picture)

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used spelt flour)
  • 3/8 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons (approx.) ice water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 2/3 cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 pound bacon, chopped

You'll need a 9-inch tart pan, greased. Mine has higher sides than I need for this recipe, so the filling won't reach the top.

Creme Fraiche

You can sometimes buy creme fraiche in specialty markets in North America. It's ridiculously expensive, but fortunately it can be made at home quite cheaply. It takes 24 to 48 hours to mature.

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Start with two cups of whipping cream (aka heavy cream) and three tablespoons of fresh buttermilk. Put them in a tupperware container or glass jar, cover, and shake until the cream and buttermilk are combined. Set the container in a dark corner of your kitchen (at room temperature) and let it sit for 24 hours. It should thicken considerably; if it doesn't, recover it and wait another 24 hours. The fresher and more active your buttermilk, the faster your creme fraiche will form. For this recipe you need 1 3/4 cups of creme fraiche

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It will look like this when ready. If you don't plan to use it right away, refrigerate it; it will keep for about a week.


Crust

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Break up the chilled butter and combine it with the flour using a pastry blender. Mix together until your largest pieces of butter are no larger than small peas. Add the ice water tablespoon by tablespoon until you have a pliable dough. Knead for 15 seconds or so, or only as long as you need to make sure the dough is fully mixed.

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Wrap your finished dough up and put it in the fridge for about half an hour.

Filling

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Fry your chopped bacon in a pan on medium-low heat. Here it is just after it's started.

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Here it is almost done. When it's done, remove it from the pan and drain all grease. It doesn't hurt to rinse it off if it's very greasy. Let cool for a few minutes.

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Separate one of the eggs, reserving the white. Add the three remaining eggs to the yolk and whisk them until well combined.

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For those who have only ever seen ground nutmeg from a jar, here's a nutmeg and a grater. Freshly ground nutmeg has a far superior taste to the stuff you buy in bottles. I grated about 1/2 teaspoon for this recipe.

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Here I've just added the buttermilk, nutmeg, creme fraiche, cheese, salt, and pepper to the bowl and am whisking them together.

Assembly

Turn your oven to 400F or 200C.

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Roll out your dough to about a 13-inch circle and line your tart pan with it. (I am using images from the tomato tart I made for ICSA; it's the same procedure exactly.)

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Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, and press the sides into the sides of the tart pan.

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Line the pan with foil and fill the foil with baking stones, rice, or beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and take out the foil and rice.

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Whisk the reserved egg white a bit to break it up. With a pastry brush, brush the inside of the crust with the egg white. Return the crust to the oven for 7 minutes. You can throw any extra egg white back into the filling. Remove the crust from the oven and turn your oven temperature down to 350F or 180C.

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Put the bacon in the bottom of the crust.

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Pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until filling is set. (The actual time will differ based on your oven and your altitude.)

Money Shot

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And here it is out of the oven.