French Quiche—Revised

Our apologies for an omission in this recipe in the Dec|Jan issue.

In the instructions for making the filling, we neglected to add the milk to the cream and egg mixture.

Here is the corrected recipe. Once again, our sincere apologies.

French Quiche

Celebrations may be a little different this year (like everything else in our lives).
Whether you’re “zooming” with family or dining with your close-knit “bubble,” this elegant
French quiche makes any occasion a little more special. Served for brunch or a light dinner,
quiche offers a welcome change.
By Denise Marchessault

A French quiche is all about the custard. With a texture as delicate as crème caramel, you can’t help but be seduced by its luxurious mouth-feel. This is a quiche that compels you to slow down and savour each bite. Not to be confused with the dense catch-all quiche; while tasty and quick to prepare, the two are not the same.
“It’s almost sexual, a great quiche,” swoons legendary chef Thomas Keller in his cookbook
Bouchon. The Michelin-starred chef refers to quiche as a “seductive pie.”
Follow the baking secrets below and you, too, will be smitten.

  • The custard needs to be baked gently at a low temperature. Because the pastry requires high
    heat, it’s necessary to pre-cook it before adding the custard. The twice-baked pastry inexplicably turns out perfect, defying all baking logic.
  • Use a cake pan. Those lovely fluted quiche pans, with the removable bottoms, make beautiful
    tarts, but they don’t have enough depth for a decadent custard. Bakers sometimes use a metal
    ring mold or a springform pan, but a regular cake pan, 1½ inches deep, does the trick nicely. A
    deep pie plate works too, but I prefer the tidy symmetry of a cake pan.
  • Don’t over-bake your quiche. It should come from the oven slightly jiggly in the centre; the
    residual heat will continue to cook it.
  • Go easy on the fillings. Less is more when it comes to a light delicate custard. And layering the ingredients (filling, custard, filling, etc.), rather than tossing them in all at once, will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pie. Quiche can be adapted to nearly any filling, just be sure to use the ratios provided.
  • A luscious custard merits a decent pastry, so for the love of your Cooking Goddess, make it
    from scratch. I’ve included my favourite pastry recipe, but feel free to use your own. The key to a good pastry dough is minimal handling—and it’s easy to achieve when pastry is rolled between lightly floured parchment paper and plastic wrap (on top). A freezer bag, cut open, even works better than standard plastic wrap—pastry simply doesn’t stick to it.
  • You need patience. It takes hours for a delicate quiche to set. And, like most custards, it should be refrigerated overnight before serving.

My quiche recipe combines sweet crab with smoky Black Forest ham in a custard
flecked with sweet peppers. And, because every quiche deserves a partner, serve with a light
garden salad. Enjoy with a crisp sparkling BC wine for a memorable, and not too heavy, meal.

Crab and Tarragon Quiche

Makes one 9½-inch quiche (about 6-8 servings)
This beautiful French-style quiche is straightforward to prepare but takes a bit of
planning because the pastry is pre-baked and the custard is best firmed in the
fridge, preferably overnight.
In my kitchen, anything that can be cooked in advance is company-worthy.
This quiche doesn’t disappoint.

1 recipe Flaky Pastry (see below)
6 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup onion, finely diced, about half an onion
½ cup red bell pepper, finely diced, about half a pepper
Kosher salt
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp white wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 oz Black Forest ham, finely chopped, about 2 slices deli ham
4 ounces cooked crab, shelled and picked over
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish
1¾ cups whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
5 whole eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
½ cup grated Gruyère cheese.

You’ll need a 9½-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper with a few inches of
overhang (to easily remove the quiche from the pan). Note: if your cake pan is
smaller or larger than specified, you’ll need to adjust the custard and baking time
TIP: To quickly bring cold cream and milk to room temperature, combine them in
a microwaveable bowl or glass jug and microwave briefly. To bring cold eggs to
room temperature quickly, place them (in their shell) in a bowl of warm water for
a few minutes.


Preheat oven to 425°F.


Prepare the pastry dough according the instructions (recipe below). Make sure the cake pan is
lined with enough excess parchment: you’ll need to lift the quiche from the pan by
grabbing hold of the parchment.
Roll the dough ⅛ inch thick and transfer it to the parchment-lined cake pan
with enough excess pastry to spill over the pan, as pictured (this prevents the pastry
from shrinking). The excess pastry will be trimmed after it’s baked. Use your
fingers to gently press the dough along the pan’s base and sides to maintain its
shape. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes.
Replace the plastic wrap with parchment paper, then fill the pan to the top
with rice, beans, or pie weights.
Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to
375°F and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and
sprinkle the base with about half the Parmesan cheese. Bake until the pastry is
golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes longer, covering the edges with foil
if necessary, to prevent burning. Cool completely in the pan. Using a serrated knife,
trim the excess dough from the cooled pastry shell.


Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onion, bell pepper, and ½ tsp kosher (or
table) salt. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables have softened, about 5
minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally to prevent burning. Add the garlic and
stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and
add the chili flakes, white wine vinegar (or lemon juice), ham, crab, and tarragon.
Mix to combine and set aside to cool completely.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine the eggs, milk, and whipping
cream with 1¼ tsp of kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt). Mix until well combined.


Preheat oven to 325°F.
Place the cooled, pre-baked pastry shell (still in its parchment-lined cake
pan) on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.
To ensure the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the custard, the
filling is layered as follows:
Spread half the cooled vegetable/crab mixture along the base of the tart.
Sprinkle with half the Gruyère cheese and the balance of Parmesan cheese. Pour
half the cream/egg mixture on top.
Add the remaining vegetable/crab mixture, followed by the cream/egg
mixture and remaining Gruyère. Garnish with additional tarragon leaves, if desired.

Bake in a preheated 325°F oven until the centre is softly set and still slightly
jiggly in the centre, about 60-70 minutes. Turn the pan once during baking and
cover with foil when the top is well browned.
Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate (still in its parchment-lined cake pan) for
several hours, preferably overnight.
When completely cooled, lift the quiche from the cake pan by grabbing hold
of the parchment edges. Bring to room temperature (quiche is traditionally served
room temperature) or rewarm in a 275°F oven.




Flaky Pastry Dough

2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp table salt
½ lb lard or vegetable shortening, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 whole egg
1 Tbsp white vinegar
Ice cold water
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the lard or
shortening and cut the fat into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until
the mixture is crumbly with some larger pieces along with the (mostly) finer
In a spouted measuring jug, combine the egg, vinegar, and enough ice water
to equal 1 cup; mix with a fork. Gradually pour about half the liquid into the flour
and mix with a fork, adding only enough additional water to make the dough cling
together in an untidy mass. You likely won’t use all the water.
When the dough becomes too difficult to mix with a fork, transfer it to a
lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk about 1 inch thick. Cover with
plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out the pastry as directed in the Crab and Tarragon Quiche recipe.


Styling and Photography: Deb Garlick

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