As you know, Sunday was Father's Day and a chance for my sister, Megan, and I to treat our dad. For the past few years we've been putting on brunches for Mother's and Father's Days and have worked out a formula that serves us (and our parents' tastes) well. We serve a quiche, a potato dish, a salad, fruit, homemade brioche, lemonade or punch, and a favorite dessert.
The quiche has gone through some transformations but is now always the same and is always part of my cooking duties for the event. It began as a traditional French Quiche Lorraine but through uncounted iterations has morphed into what I'm calling Quiche Elaine, in honor of both my mom and sister, whose middle names are Elaine.
This recipe has a lot going for it. Not only is it delicious, it's a really easy and super make-ahead-friendly main entree for a gathering of about 6. Since these brunches always take place during Sunday lunches, I make the crust on Saturday afternoon and blind bake it until it's golden but not yet golden brown, giving it some leeway to brown up completely while the filling bakes the next day.
I use a very simple, non-fussy pie crust recipe which is just a ratio of self-rising flour, vegetable shortening, and cold water. It doesn't have to chill and rolls out beautifully. It does, however, occasionally crack while blind baking if it's left in the oven too long. Sometimes that's not an issue but for a quiche, it is (filling leakage being undesirable and all). If that happens to you, just take a little extra cheese, warm it up by working it like a tiny bit of clay in your fingers, and smoosh it into the cracks right before adding the filling. Works like a charm.
The filling can be completely mixed up the day before and put in the fridge until needed. Same goes for the bacon: fry it ahead of time, crumble it, and chill. Crumble before chilling since the refrigerator will take some of the brittleness out of crisp bacon. A sprinkling of chives and some Maldon sea salt flakes tops the quiche off nicely.
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 - 5/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (depending upon desired level of spiciness)
- 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- 3 slices of bacon
- 1 tablespoon or so chopped chives, optional garnish
- pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes, optional garnish
- your favorite pie crust recipe, or:
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening (I prefer the texture of Crisco to that of off-brands)
- 2 cups self-rising flour (I've been using Gold Medal brand since the 6th grade)
- cold water
- 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon water, and a pinch of kosher salt for egg wash
- Make the pie crust (or blind bake a crust in a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom using instructions from your favorite recipe):
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cut the shortening into the self-rising flour with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Some pieces will stick together; check to make sure that the mixture is very evenly distributed.
- Starting with 4 tablespoons, sprinkle cold water on pie crust and toss mixture with a fork to incorporate the water. Add one tablespoon more at a time until the mixture holds together. Here's how I test that: take a marble-sized amount of pie crust and form into a ball. Does it hold together well or look crumbly? If it's crumbly, keep adding water. If it holds together try this: pinch the ball into a disk 1/8 inch thick and fold it in half. Was the pie crust flexible or did it fall apart when you started folding it? If it fell apart, add more water. If it was pretty flexible, then your pie crust is ready. P.S. I usually require 6 tablespoons of water for my crust.
- Lightly flour your work surface. Gather your pie crust into a ball and flatten it into a disk on top of your work surface. Roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a bench scraper to help you, gently roll the crust up on your rolling pin and unroll it over a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Carefully shape the crust to the tart pan taking care to patch any rips you may make in the dough. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust all over with a fork.
- For the egg wash, whisk the egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon water, and pinch of salt together until there is a nice foam on the top of the mixture. Brush the foam on the top and part way down the inside wall of the pie crust. Cut a circle of parchment to fit in the bottom and gently smooth onto the surface of the crust. Add enough pie weights or dried beans to cover the parchment circle.
- Place the tart pan on a baking sheet (helps you get it in and out of the oven more easily) and bake in the middle of your oven for 6 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and gently remove all the pie weights or dried beans (tongs work well for this), trying not to disturb the surface of the crust. Discard the parchment circle and bake for another 4-6 minutes until the egg wash is golden but the crust is not cracked. Set crust aside on a wire rack to cool well.
- Make the filling:
- Fry the bacon on medium low until crispy and drain on paper towels. Crumble when cool and set aside.
- Whisk the 4 eggs, cream, milk, chipotle chili powder, 3/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper together in a batter bowl or liquid measuring cup until homogeneous. Stir in the cheese.
- If you are prepping the quiche ahead of time, go ahead and place your bacon in the refrigerator as well as your egg-cream-cheese mixture (just leave it in the batter bowl and cover). Cover your cooled crust with plastic wrap. When you're ready to bake the quiche go on to step 4.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart pan with crust on a baking sheet. Patch any cracks with softened leftover white cheddar. Evenly sprinkle the bacon across the bottom of the crust. Stir the egg-cream-cheese mixture and pour into the crust, moving the batter bowl around the crust as you pour so that the mixture disturbs the bacon as little as possible. Bake in the middle of your oven for about 35 minutes until eggs are puffy and do not jiggle and egg wash is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack until cool enough to unmold from tart pan (unless you are very adventurous, do not try to remove the quiche from the bottom of the tart pan; just serve it with that disk still in place).
- Sprinkle with chopped chives and some Malden sea salt flakes and cut into 6 pieces. Serve immediately and enjoy!