Pie Day: Quiche au Fromage and Lemon Tart

Two thirds of the way through baking class and I finally made something I could serve for dinner: Quiche.  Of course, because I made it in baking class my quiche was still scary fattening and still loaded with butter, heavy cream, cheese, and of course, ham.  Whatever.  Butter and cream = delicious.  And since I’m giving myself a pass until I get through this baking rotation (I’ve now gained 2 whole pounds thank you very much), I ate 2 slices.  HA!

Baked quiche

As you can guess, pie day arrived in baking class and we made 3 types over the course of 2 days: blueberry (no pics, boo), quiche au fromage (I added the ham after I got home so it became a Lorraine post facto), and a lemon tart with Italian* meringue.  The quiche was simple, and I highly recommend trying one out if you’re having a fancy schmancy luncheon or garden party and want to serve something fun, albeit rich and fattening. ( Quiche recipe below)  I also recommend making your own pie dough from scratch because it makes a nicer quiche.  (Pie dough recipe follows quiche recipe)  Serve it with a simple salad with champagne vinaigrette and a champagne spritzer and you have one classy lunch.  Just like they do in Lorraine, I imagine.

pie-day-1-of-1

Our lemon curd tarts were a bit more complicated and required multiple steps.  First, we made Pâte Sucrée (sweet dough), rolled it, and blind baked it (weighed down with pie weights) in our tart shell.  Next, the lemon curd, made with sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest.  The eggs help it thicken on the stove, then the curd is strained, cooled, and added to the shell.  The Italian meringue is where the finesse comes in.  Start with corn syrup, water, sugar, and boil it to a precise 240 degrees (soft ball stage).  Whip egg whites, and slowly pour your sugar water into the egg whites, cooking the egg whites.  They end up stiff and shiny.  Fill a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe rosettes on top of your lemon curd (practice a few on parchment paper until you get the wrist action first).  Then the best part: blow torch the tips of your meringue to give it that bruleed finish look.  Voila.  If you want the recipe, leave me a comment and I’ll post it.  But be warned, it’s pretty time consuming.

I served my tart at a family brunch over the weekend.  It was a hit, though my family might be biased.  But it was good, objectively speaking, of course.

Here were are in class showing off our tarts.  (Those are my mini blueberry pies hanging out in back.)

Baking class

Next up: cakes.  Yikes.

*Note: lesson for the day.  Meringue comes in 3 types- French (raw egg whites), Swiss (partially cooked), and Italian (cooked egg whites).  Italian is the stiffest sturdiest kind, plus it burns nicely.

Quiche au Fromage & Quiche Lorraine

Serves 6-8
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Region French

Ingredients

  • 1 Mealy pie crust ((Crust recipe follows below))
  • 4oz Gruyere cheese (grated)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream
  • 6 oz Whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 pinch White pepper
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • To taste Herbs (I like thyme and chives)

Optional

  • To taste Bacon, ham or pancetta (finely diced)
  • 1-2 Leeks (Depending on thickness, green parts removed, rinsed well)

Note

Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu's recipe packet

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough until it is 1/2 inch thick and line an 8 inch pie pan.
2. Fill with pie weights (or dried beans or rice) and “blind bake” crust for about 15-20 minutes until it starts to brown lightly. Remove weights and bake another 2 minutes. Remove crust and let cool.
3. In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream, milk, and white pepper and nutmeg until well incorporated.
4. If using leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then in 1/4 inch slices. Rinse well in water and dry. Saute in a little butter for about 6 minutes until soft. Sprinkle grated Gruyere, bacon/ham, and leeks if using (for Quiche Lorraine) in the bottom of cooled pie shell. Pour in egg/cream mixture.
5. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until the quiche is set (no longer jiggles in the middle and golden brown on top).

Basic Pie Crust: Flaky and Mealy

Serves 2
Meal type Dessert
Misc Freezable

Ingredients

  • 20oz Pastry flour (All Purpose flour will work but your dough will be tougher)
  • 7oz Vegetable shortening
  • 7oz Butter, unsalted (Make sure it's very cold)
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1/4 cup Ice cold water (Add 1 tablespoon at a time, you might need less)

Directions

1. Sift flour and salt together. Cut in shortening and cold butter using a pastry blender, or using 2 knives, or using your food processor, or your hands, whatever works. You want your butter to be in the size of little peas.
2. Add cold water, 2 ounces at first and gently incorporate into your dough. Add another 2 ounces, up to 6 ounces until the flour is just incorporated. It should still be mealy. It will stick together when pressed but will still have bits of flour and butter that flake off. Do not overwork. You’ll still see lumps of butter in your dough, that’s good.
3. Separate your dough into 2 parts. Flatten each into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill. For flaky dough, stop here.
4. If your pie or quiche will have a lot of liquid in it, you want mealy pie crust to hold all that moisture and not get soggy on the bottom. To make mealy pie crust, remove chilled disc of pie dough, roll out with rolling pin. Fold in thirds. Chill again. Do this one more time. Now you have mealy pie crust.
5. Yields two crusts.

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  1. [...] made Quiche Lorraine with sauteed leeks (recipe here), a favorite from my Le Cordon Bleu bake shop days. For sides, quiche goes best with salad, so I [...]

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