Sunday, August 1, 2010

Real Quiche

  I have gotten so angry eating quiche in a restaurant. Sometimes its prepared as if the eater only wants a convenient way to shovel appropriate fuel into the furnace. Protein:check. Dairy;check. Carbs:check. Greens:check. All in each bite:check. All one rubbery tasteless mass: yes.
I got so accustomed to this version that I developed a taste for it. Until I went to Paris.
I was 25 the first time I went- my mother had turned her back on the city saying it had changed too much since her childhood for her to ever want to see it again. Now, I realize the memories of her crazy family were too vivid for her to bear seeing the place without them being there too. I don't say crazy lightly. Grandpapa was an inventor and first class philanderer: the nursemaid had charge of the 11 children and 2 of her own. That Grandpapa was their father as well was known and accepted and Madame Charisse incorporated them into the household on the Rue de Soleil. My Grandmother had taught her children to dance and they formed a troupe that performed in the vaudeville circuits all over the world. I think being married to an often penniless inventor and having 11 children as well has having a healthy sized ego was her motivation.They were very successful and all the children inherited the flair for drama and the outrageous; one of their family games was follow the leader.All the children would get on horseback and wherever the first rider went, the other 10 had to follow. This game was stopped once one of my uncles as leader managed to get his horse up the steps and into the house on the Rue De Soleil.
Many years later, my father had fallen helplessly in love with my mother and was summoned to the New York apartment of Madame Charisse. He had heard many stories and was really too intimidated to go.But my mother could be very persuasive and off they went. Grandmother by this time had gone through the fortune made dancing and lived modestly. But that didn't mean she didn't live grandly. She was preparing a feast for her 10th child's new boyfriend and was done up in a kimono with exaggerated sleeves. Busy chopping vegetables when they arrived, she quickly turned to dramatically greet them, knife still in hand, and swung her sleeves into the cooktop's flame. There she was, Madame Charisse, arms held high with a large knife, sleeves in flames.
So,  back to quiche. At some point, and I remember this grocery store more than I do wandering the Louvre earlier that day, I got a small picnic of cheese, bread and a very ordinary looking little quiche picked up prewrapped from the refrigerated section. Starving, I opened the plastic on the quiche and bit into it as I was leaving the store. I stopped dead in my tracks. Crisp, custardy, crunchy with bacon, fragrant with nutmeg, barely set in the center- this almost deserved another name than what I had previously thought quiche to be. Years later I tried the quiche recipe from Elizabeth David's magnificent "French Provincial Cooking" and was able to taste again what had stopped me dead in my tracks outside a Parisian grocery store. This recipe is my adaptation of Miss David's recipe.

                          Excellent Quiche Lorraine

Make the pastry: In a food processer, whir 2 1/2 cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 8 ounces of butter that you have sliced and partially frozen and process in quick bursts until the butter is roughly pea sized. Add about 4 tablespoons cold cold orange juice and process till it comes together. You can roll this out right away and  line your pie pan with it. Chill,and prick all over with a fork.
Fry 6 pieces of thick bacon and  chop roughly and put into shell. Put maybe 3/4 of a cup of shredded gruyere, the best you can afford, over that. Beat 1 egg plus 3 egg yolks with 1 cup heavy cream. Season with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degree, lower the temperature to 350 and bake about 10 minutes more.


  1. Wait a minute, wait a minute! Nana, your mama never made you real quiche??? French mamas are supposed to make quiche for their kids! The only time I've had quiche that tastes rubbery is when it's the frozen store bought kind or at a restaurant. Homemade= real quiche is always fluffy. Not that I'm saying quiche that I make is that way, but you know I can't cook to save my life.

    That recipe is different from the quiche my mama made but then she favored the veggie quiches. Sounds different but good.

  2. try it! No, mama never made quiche-and this is not really fluffy-more custardy

  3. Fluffy or less so depends upon cooking time n' ingredients- more egg or less. Although thinking of custardy and bacon at the same time doesn't give a good feeling to my tummy. Have to stop thinking about that, though I do love my bacon. And that recipe does sound good.

    I do have to go to the grocery store, and my mama's coming into town for my b-day, so....maybe I could make it for her.

    Wait, making quiche for someone who knows how to make quiche- not a good idea. Although if I make a practice run at it, I should be good by Sat. Though if it's my b-day why am I cooking? And it would be wrong to have her cook for me in my own home.....

    Will make bacony quiche for me, and mama and I shall go to the french restaurant for Saturday. Problem solved.

  4. Great Post! I love the stories about family- they seem quite-eccentric maybe? Well, those are the best kind. The image of your Grandmother standing there with sleeves aflame, with a large knife, etc... was wonderful!

    My husband is the quiche maker in our house, and I mentioned this recipe and the fact that it would be more "custardy" and he is intrigued.

  5. And now we know a second "inspiration" for Auntie Mame...

  6. going to the grocery store in a sec. Just thinking of my mom's quiche and how amazing the pastry/crust was. Of course it's not good for you, but it is good! I know how to make (blanking on what you call a crust/pastry-less quiche!) a leek and spinach quiche. Darn good, but of course you must add vinegar or lemon juice to counter the spinach- failing to do so means the all the calcium from the spinach and leeks won't be absorbed into your body. It's damn good too.

    Don't eat much cheese- will be trusting you on the gruyere in that it will not taste like crap. ;)

  7. back from store. My state makes at least 635 different kinds of cheese. We have cheese ailes the way most grocery stores have cereal or cookie ailes. But do you think I found guyere? No. Was going to get brie, but figured f it, got greek yogurt instead. No, that's not going in the quiche. There shall be no quiche today.

  8. Yes Lisa, my family tree has a massive number of eccentrics hanging from it. I haven't even gotten to Aunty Kitty.Oh my God.

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  10. I look forward to Aunt Kitty then! :-)

  11. Okay, it's all about food nor longer about shoes. Lucky me. I know more about good food than shoes. So it's really time for you to come to the Black Forest and see if we can find out what you like more. Quiche in France or a fire brigade salade in the local winery.
    By the way, what about a real good tarte?

  12. I have to admit that this recipe worked well with spelt flower & lactose-free cream. A nice organic sauvignon made a great accompaniment. Thanks for the inspiration, Nana

  13. I'm not even sure I've ever had Quiche *g*

  14. Someone needs to learn how to spell, doesn't he. Or at least to be able to consistently pull the spelling i meant out of his mental database....

    I'm sure the recipe works almost as well with spelt flower as it does flour....

    With apologies

  15. Made a Wild Mushroom-asiago quiche a couple days ago. The recipe had pre-baked crust rather than raw. I loved it, Linda says it was too mushroomy (hmmm, it was a MUSHROOM quiche).

  16. Je suis Belge, et j'habite vraiment tout près de la France...
    En tout cas, la recette de Quiche est impeccable !! Maintenant, on peux y rajouter des broncolis, du saumon, des champignons, du fromage de chèvre, des tomates...
    Miam Miam Miam !!

  17. Qu'est ce que le mot "miam" en anglais? Que ce mot signifie-t-il ? Je ne sais pas ce mot. Je ne suis pas au courant de cette expression. Est-ce un mot que vous emploieriez en décrivant que la nourriture goûte bonne ? L'equivilent en anglais serait le mot 'yum' ou yum, yum, yum!. Par exemple, cette gateau est très bonne, yum, yum! Peut la expression 'miam' etre utiliez comme ca?
    Je regrette, je vraiment ne saivoir cette expression ou mot. Instruisez-moi! Ma francais ne pas bien. Je veut apprendre Je toujours veut apprend plus.