My dad is quite the cheese, bread, and pastry connoisseur. Living in southern Belgium and northern France for a couple of years can do that kind of thing to you, especially when you're a young guy spending your days on feet in the towns and cities. I wonder how many stops in the abundant patisseries and chocolate shops he took. (What a life!) Anyway, a few years ago, he took one of my sisters and me on a 2-week vacation to Europe. We visited France and Belgium during our stay and also took a detour through Holland, where our ancestors are from. If asked to choose my favorite place we visited during our trip, I wouldn't be able to. There are aspects about each country that I fell completely in love with. The windmills of Holland are incomparable, while Belgium boasts world-class frites. France, of course, with the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, is simply top-notch.
While staying in Paris, the three of us would grab a quick bite every morning at a little patisserie just around the corner from our hotel. This cute shop had it all: all kinds of baguettes, eclairs, tarts, mille feuilles, macarons, croissants, gateaus, and quiche. Oh, the quiche! I would order a quiche lorraine every morning and enjoy it on the park bench outside. The quiche at this little patisserie were perfect - a lovely buttery and flaky crust encompassed a rich, smooth custard that had just the right amount of bacon and onion. If only I could start every day just that way - sitting on a park bench in France with a quiche in hand.
Until I make it back to that French patisserie, I will have to do with my own version of quiche lorraine. Wait, did I just say "have to do"? Actually, I don't think this quiche merely "has to do" in place of an authentic French one, because it is wonderful, if I do say so myself. While enjoying our dinner the other night, I asked everyone's opinions of the quiche. In the words of my dad, "This is just as good as any I've had in Europe - if not better!" And then he helped himself to another slice.
It is so good.
Notes: Yes, the recipe is long. Yes, it takes time and a bit of planning ahead. Yes, it is worth it. Start the crust just after lunch and you should be prepared. Read the recipe through all the way before beginning, too, as is always wise. I made this recipe exactly as it was originally written, with exclusively all-purpose flour. I think I'll try it again using half whole-wheat pastry flour; I expect that it would work quite well. The authors note that to prevent the crust from sagging during the blind baking step, you need to make sure that it overhangs the pan's edge and use plenty of pie weights - about 3 to 4 cups. Also, it is important to note that this is a deep dish quiche, which is more authentic to the region from which it hails (France!). This recipe has been created for a 2-inch-deep cake pan to accommodate all of the filling - be sure to use the correct pan! I think you could easily use a 9-inch spring-form pan, too, because they tend to be at least 2-inches deep.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, July & Aug. 2010