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BA’s Best Quiche Lorraine

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Call it retro if you want—a good quiche Lorraine recipe is timeless. The French classic is buttery, bacon-y, and custardy, with a very tender, rich crust. And, while making one is a project, everything can be done ahead of time, so all you have to do before brunch is let it come to room temperature, make a green salad, and take the well-earned credit.

The crust uses butter and lard for superior savoury flavour, plus all those flaky layers that a store-bought pie shell simply can’t match. Be sure to use a deep-dish pie pan, as the filling will overflow a standard dish. We prefer metal for its ability to heat quickly and evenly, but glass or ceramic also works. We also like to place the pie dish on a sheet pan so that it’s easier to transfer in and out of the oven.

If you’re baking this last-minute and don’t have any half-and-half, you can substitute with a mixture of heavy cream and milk in equal amounts; while Gruyère cheese is classic, feel free to swap in cheddar, Swiss cheese, or honestly, any combination of cheeses you have on hand, they’d all be delicious. No shallots? Reach into your stash of caramelized onions (you are keeping one, aren’t you?)

You can blind-bake the crust a day or two in advance and leave it on the counter, or freeze it, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months. Beware of overcooking your quiche, as it will continue to set as it cools. Pull it out while the centre is still a bit wobbly but the edges are firm.

Ingredients

Crust

1½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

5 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 Tbsp. chilled lard or vegetable shortening

 

Filling and Assembly

8 ounces thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces

3 large shallots, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp. lard or unsalted butter

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

3½ cups half-and-half

8 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

2 oz. Gruyère, finely grated

 

Special Equipment

One 9″-diameter deep-dish pie plate

 

Preparation

Step 1 – Crust

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Pulse 1½ tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. sugar, and 2 cups all-purpose flour in a food processor until combined. Add 5 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces and 3 Tbsp. chilled lard or vegetable shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pieces of butter and lard visible, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With motor running, drizzle in 6–7 Tbsp. ice water and pulse until dough is still crumbly but just holds together when squeezed.

Step 2

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 1–2 times, pressing to incorporate any shaggy pieces. Press into a 6″-wide disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Step 3

Place rack in lowest position and preheat oven to 375°. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14″ round. Transfer to pie dish. Pick up edges and allow dough to slump down into dish, letting excess dough hang over dish. Trim, leaving about a 1″ overhang. Fold overhang under; pinch and crimp. Chill 30 minutes.

Step 4

Line dough with parchment paper or aluminium foil, leaving some overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry around the edges and just beginning to brown, 25–35 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and weights and reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake until crust is set and beginning to brown in the centre, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Do Ahead: Dough can be made 3 days ahead; keep chilled, or freeze up to 2 months.

 

Filling and Assembly

Step 5

Cook 8 ounces thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces, 3 large shallots, thinly sliced, 3 Tbsp. lard or unsalted butter, 2 sprigs thyme, and 1 bay leaf in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lard begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low (mixture should still slowly bubble) and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon and shallots are very soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve; pluck out thyme and bay leaf. Transfer bacon and shallots to a medium bowl; set aside.

Step 6

Meanwhile, heat 3½ cups half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium-high until it begins to bubble. Immediately remove from heat. Let cool 1 hour.

Step 7

Place rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°. Purée 8 large eggs, room temperature, in a blender on medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add half-and-half, 2 tsp. kosher salt, ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, and a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg. Blend on medium-low until egg mixture is smooth, about 15 seconds.

Step 8

Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle 2 oz. Gruyère, finely grated, evenly over bottom of crust. Top with bacon mixture. Pour half of the egg mixture into crust. Transfer quiche to oven, then carefully pour in remaining egg mixture. Bake quiche until edges are set but center slightly wobbles, 55–75 minutes (it will continue to set after baking). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 3 hours before slicing.

 

Do Ahead: Quiche can be baked 1 day ahead. Tightly wrap and chill. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat, cover lightly with foil and place in a 325° oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Editor’s note: This recipe was first printed in April 2016 as part of BA’s Best, a collection of our essential recipes. It has been edited to emphasize the importance of using a deep-dish pie plate.


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