Sunday, February 26, 2006

IMBB French Regional Cooking

I decided to make Quiche Lorraine. It's well known (and maybe even a cliche?), but I'd never made it, and I'd never made a quiche at all. Here's something I copied off Food Time Line:
"Quiche. A French [dish]...most prominent in Lorraine... The version now well known, which includes bacon (and sometimes cheese) in the filling, was originally a variant known as quich au lard. Whereas the original could be eaten on meatless days, this variant--now known around the world as quiche Lorraine--could not. Nonetheless, a quiche Lorraine is perceived as something with only a slight meat content. This may account for the reputation it acquired in some English-speaking countries, where it only became familiar in the latter part of the 20th century, as a dish not suitable for "he-men" or " real men." (from the Oxford Companion to Food)
I made a relatively organic quiche--Organic Valley milk and half and half and Organic Valley butter in the crust. I decided to add cheese, even though a very traditional rendition wouldn't. My swiss cheese was merely domestic, but my bacon was made by the owners of The Sausage Shoppe, a great place in my neighborhood where they make their own bacon and sausage, and without nitrates.
I used my mother's pie crust recipe, except using all butter instead of half butter/ half Crisco (I won't include it, since any good piecrust recipe would be fine); and the New Joy of Cooking's quiche recipe (I browsed around on the internet and several cookbooks and came to the conclusion that all the Quiche Lorraine recipes were practically identical, except when they started adding distinctly nontraditional ingredients).

Quiche Lorraine
1 recipe pie crust
5 strips bacon
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, creme fraiche, cream or combination
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of nutmeg
You have to blind-bake the pie shell, something else I'd never done before. I used dried beans to weight it down, baked it for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, shook the beans out (unexpectedly difficult since they stuck a little), and baked it for 5 minutes more.
Cook the bacon until crisp and crumble, then sprinkle on the crust. Here I also added grated swiss cheese (about 1/8 cup), and a couple of tablespoons of sauteed onion (on the grounds that onion and cheese improve everything).
Whisk the eggs and milk mixture together with the seasonings. (I used a combination of cream, half and half, sour cream, and 2% milk, with milk predominating, to use up the ends of some things.)
Then pour this into the pie shell, trying not to disarrange the bacon, etc. Bake until the filling is set, from 25 to 35 minutes, at 375 degrees.
It came out pretty well, although not quite beautiful. I didn't expect the bacon and grated cheese to rise up and swirl around so vigorously when I poured the egg/milk mixture (and I poured it very carefully!), so the top was speckled. I'd never made any kind of custard pie before, so I hovered over my oven, which tends to run a little hot. It took almost the full time, and came out with just the right amount of wiggle.
Beauty or not, it tasted wonderful, served with steamed brussel sprouts and a Wolfberger Gewurtztramminer. (I wasn't wild about the Gewurtztramminer, which seemed to have a metallic aftertaste; but I've never had any sort of Gewurtztramminer before, so I'm not sure how they're supposed to taste.)

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Randi said...

next time you might try lining the pie shell with foil, then filling it with beans. So easy.

lucette said...

What a good idea--I was thinking of making a custard pie (sweet, not savory) this week, and I'll definitely try it.

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