With its relatively high fat-content, a quiche is not everyone’s idea of good food. And a poorly-made quiche is not my idea of good food either. But four decades on from the first time I cooked one, I still find that a well-made quiche can be the basis of a satisfying meal, especially if it is accompanied by a variety of vegetables in the form of a salad or similar.
Soon after I began to make a quiche on a regular basis, I was taught one of the keys to success by a family friend who had lived in Paris for a couple of years – chop your onion finely and saute it very slowly in plenty of butter. This will produce a soft and slightly sweet result that enhances the texture and flavour of the quiche.
There are two other important rules: don’t skimp on the butter when you make your pastry or it will crumble; and don’t skimp on the cream in the filling or you will miss out on that baked-custard quality that distinguishes a quiche from a savoury flan.
Personally, I prefer to eat a flan-style dish, with silver beet as the key ingredient. However, we use silver beet in various other dishes, so the savoury-filling-in-pastry dish that Maggie and I make a few times each year is our version of the traditional Quiche Lorraine.
If you are particularly averse to the taste of salt, use one less piece of bacon and 20g less of cheese in the filling. Leave some salt in the pastry or it will taste bland alongside the filling
175g plain flour
generous pinch of salt
90g cold butter, diced
50ml cold water
1 medium brown onion
40g butter, for cooking the onion
6 short rashers of bacon, chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
300ml cream (we use a fat-reduced cooking cream)
120g grated cheese (we use 50:50 cheddar and gruyere)
green ends of 3-4 spring (green) onions, sliced
- In a mixing bowl, use finger tips to combine the flour and diced butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add water and combine to form a ball of pastry. Wrap in plastic film and place in fridge for 25 minutes.
- Dice onion finely and sauté slowly in the extra butter until soft – at least 10 minutes. Add bacon and saute for a further 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 170C.
- Grease sides and base of a quiche dish (or use a non-stick dish if you have one), roll out pastry on a floured bench to about 2 to 3mm thick, lift gently into dish and gently manoeuvre it to the shape of the dish.
- In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, cream and mustard and beat with a whisk until well combined. Add onion, bacon, cheese and spring onion and mix well.
- Spoon mixture into pastry shell and bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating occasionally to achieve even cooking, until the quiche is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting slices to serve.