What Is Quiche?
Quiche is a dish consisting of a custard-like mixture of eggs, cream, and cheese, usually combined with meat, fish, vegetables, or some combination of the three, all surrounded by a shell made from savory pastry dough. It’s great for brunch, but you can have it anytime really — for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or even just as a “snack.”
Quiche is interesting. It’s French, it’s rich, and it has a funny name. Even the origins of its name reflect a sort of dry humor — though it’s firmly French (the dish was invented sometime in the 1920’s in Alsace-Lorraine), it is suspected that the word is derived from the German “kuchen,” for “cake.” Try not to mention that too much around the French or you might end up with egg on your face. Literally.
Common fillings include bits of bacon and Gruyère cheese (which would give you the classic Quiche Lorraine), ham, spinach, leeks, goat cheese, and mushrooms. But you can feel free to get creative. Whatever you decide to do, though, there are some useful tips to keep in mind when making quiche.
First of all, if you’re using your own fresh dough, you’ll want to blind bake it in the oven first to dry it out a bit and make sure you don’t end up with a soggy crust. Same thing goes for any leafy ingredients that are full of moisture — parcook them first and then squeeze the moisture out (spinach, anyone?). While the shell is hot, brush it with a bit of egg white to crisp it up when you bake it a second time with the filling. If you’re not making your own dough (and who has time these days anyway, really?) you can always use store-bought pie shells.
Quiche. It’s a funny word, but it’s serious eats. It also happens to be Thomas Keller’s favorite canapé, despite his conflicted feelings (“Real men don’t eat quiche, do they?”). Whatever your feelings about quiche, though, it’s pretty hard to deny something that has butter, eggs, and cheese all in one package. So man up and eat your quiche. And don’t forget — National Quiche Lorraine Day is May 20.