Farm fresh eggs continue to be available in all their delicious abundance at the Market. One of the best ways to combine the excellence of eggs with the many other beautiful spring produce items we are seeing is in a quiche. So, here is our second offering in egg basics from the Science of Good Cooking, Cooks Illustrated Magazine:
Starch Keeps Eggs from Curdling — Heat makes the proteins in eggs uncoil and bond. Too much heat squeezes the water out causing curdling.
- Added ingredients will protect against curdling. Dairy products slow down the curdling process; sugar allows eggs to be cooked at higher temperatures without curdling.
- Stirring breaks down the bonds between the egg proteins causing a custard cooked on a stove-top to be less thick than custards baked in an oven.
- Cornstarch and flour help bind the proteins together and help keep the custard in a quiche from curdling.
Tips for making a Deep-Dish Quiche
- Use a 9″x2” cake pan – it is taller than a tart pan and won’t leak like a springform pan.
- Line the pan with foil to help extract quiche from pan.
- Roll the pastry dough out to 15” to allow enough to lap over top edge of pan. It keeps the dough from sagging or shrinking.
- Glaze the baked crust with an egg-white wash before adding filling to seal the crust.
- Ratio of eggs to liquid is important – too few eggs and custard will be runny; too many and it will taste like scrambled eggs. For 9×2” pan use 8 whole eggs plus one yoke, then 3 cups of dairy. Note – if other ingredients add liquid (e.g., onions) then reduce dairy by that amount.
- Some ingredients like onions contain acids that cause the protein to clump more tightly. Adding cornstarch (1.5T) prevents the clumping of up to 2 cups of onions.
(Recipes below are meant for a regular-sized quiche in a pie dish or tart pan unless specified otherwise.)
Now that you know the basics; here is a recipe for a classic quiche in the Lorraine style. Use farm fresh eggs, and organic grass-fed bacon from the Market.
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Tart Dough
- 10 ounces slab bacon, cut into 3/4-by-1/4-by-1/4-inch strips
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out a 13-inch circle from dough. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; trim dough flush with top edge of pan. Prick bottom all over with a fork. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line tart shell with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until dough starts to feel firm on the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove parchment and weights; continue baking until crust is pale golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Leave oven on.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
- Whisk eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour mixture into tart shell, and scatter the bacon strips on top. Bake until puffed and pale golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
Having mastered the classic, here are some interesting variations using fresh spring produce found at the Market. Try your own variations by substituting similar ingredients. And don’t forget that the traditional accompaniment to a warm tasty slice of quiche is a fresh green salad.