Once upon a time, a very long time ago when Quiches could be found everywhere in London, for lunch, for buffets at sandwich bars and coffee shops, I kind of took them for granted and did not pay them the respect that they were due. Had I known that I would end up in Canada at one point in life and will begin to miss them as I get older, I would have been grateful for every morsel of quiche that I had forsaken all those years ago. Well, it seems like a very very long time ago now.
The problem is I am not a great fan of the packaged frozen Quiches that we get in this part of the world. Unfortunately, M&S doesn’t deliver food across the pond and whilst I am reluctant to get my baking stuff out too often, I really had to resort to making my own quiche. Although it has been on list for quite some time, and despite my good intentions of making the pastry from scratch, I ran out of time and resorted to trying out a pre-made shortcrust pastry shell, which gave me surprisingly delicious results.
I know there is no shame in using store bought pastry crust nowadays, but believe me, a discerning housewife not so long ago would have been embarrassed to admit it publicly. Oh yes, I remember those days.
1 Shortcrust pastry shell
1 cup of crunchy, bacon bits (made using traditional thick cut bacon, cooked and then sliced);
1 cup whipping cream (or the thickest heavy cream you can get);
2 large eggs and 1 yolk
1 cup (plus more if you prefer) Gruyere Cheese, finely grated
Salt and black pepper to taste
Prepare the pastry:-
This may look like a lot of effort for one Quiche, but its worth every second of it. Believe me!
1. Using a fork prick lots of holes on the base and sides of the case.
2. Freeze the shell for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375F
4. Using a large piece of foil, lightly cover the inside of the shell and fill these up with baking beans, any dried beans or even rice. (Don’t cook these later! Save them for baking only)
5. Bake the shell in the oven for 15 minutes
6. Remove the foil / beans from the shell
7. Brush some beaten egg inside the shell and return to the oven for 6-7 minutes (will be crispy golden in colour)
Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
The baking of the shell not ensures that you have a crispy base on the Quiche. The egg wash and the second baking, helps create a crispy baked barrier between the crust and the filling, to stop the egg filling from seeping into the pastry and making it soft. A crispy base on a quiche, makes the world of difference!
Always bake the pie crust on a baking sheet to help keep everything straight and to avoid spillage.
Preparing the filling:-
1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and add the cream.
2. Season with black pepper and salt.
3. You can add any other flavour if you want to at this stage.
4. Spread bacon bits on the bottom of the fully baked pie crust followed by the cheese.
5. Pour the cream/egg mixture slowly all over the pie.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 25-35 minutes.
Check the quiche after 25 minutes, by lightly moving the baking sheet under the pie. If the quiche filling wobbles, it needs more time to bake. The quiche is done when the wobbling disappears.
Do not worry if looks all puffed up when you take it out of the oven. The filling will collapse and level out as it cools.
Quiches are best served warm and/or cold. I like to make mine in the morning, ready in time for lunch. Quiches are lovely with a fresh green salad, at any time of the day and they freeze surprisingly very well. Just bake as normal and once the quiche is at room temperature, slice it and freeze it in the pie shell, in a ziploc bag. Remove a slice whenever you want it, pop it in the microwave to defrost and warm up, ready to eat in minutes.