Making quiche Lorraine is easy. The key, though, lies in the pastry base. One of my favourite all time dishes and it’s easy to make – it’s one of many simple British lion eggs recipes available online.
110 grams (4 oz) plain flour
25 grams (1 oz) butter
25 grams (1 oz) lard
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Ice cold water
125 grams (4 1/2 oz) streaky bacon – preferably smoked
75 grams (2 1/2 oz) grated Gruyere cheese
275 ml (1 cup) double cream
Salt and black pepper
18 cm ( 7 inch) diameter baking dish
First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a good sized bowl. Or, if sifting seems too much bother, just put the flour and salt in the bowl and then dry whisk it for a few seconds: the end result is the same. What you’re trying to achieve is to get air into the mix.
Cut the butter and lard into very small pieces and drop them into the flour. Now, using the tips of your fingers, pretend you’re running hot grains of sand through your fingers and gently rub the tiny chunks of butter and lard into the flour until it is crumbly like sand. Now add a tablespoon of the ice cold water and, using a knife, smooth the mixture into a dough (if necessary add a little more water). As the dough begins to come together, stop using the knife and use your fingers to finish the pastry dough until it comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
Wrap the pastry in clear plastic wrap, place it in the fridge and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the pastry dough into a 28 cm (11 inch) diameter circle. Always remember to roll the pastry dough in the same direction – in other words, don’t roll it side to side as well as backwards and forwards.
Lightly butter the baking tin and place the rolled out pastry in it and line the base and sides. Use a knife to trim the top of the tin. Now, gently prick the pastry with a fork to release any air that may have become trapped. Place the pastry lined tin in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Place the baking sheet on the middle shelf of your oven. Turn on the oven and pre-heat to 190 C (375 F).
While it is baking, beat together 2 of your 3 eggs, and grill the bacon until it is crisp. When the bacon has finished cooking, chop or crumble it into pieces.
Take the frozen pastry out of the freezer and cover with aluminum foil. Press the foil down onto the pastry base and sides. Place the foil-lined pastry in its baking dish on the baking sheet in your pre-heated oven, and bake for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes has elapsed, remove the baking dish and carefully remove the aluminum foil. Brush the pastry base and sides with beaten egg, and then put it back in the oven for a further 8 minutes.
Now take the beaten eggs (less the small amount you used to brush the pastry), and add to them the yolk of the third egg. Beat lightly, then pour into a bowl together with the cream, a pinch of salt, and a grinding of black pepper. Whisk together.
Take the cooked pastry out of the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 C (355 F). Sprinkle approximately half of the grated Gruyere cheese onto the base of the pastry. Then sprinkle the bacon on top of the cheese. Then pour the egg and cream mixture over the bacon and cheese. Finally, top the whole thing off by sprinkling the surface with the remainder of the cheese.
Place the baking dish back onto the baking tray in the oven, and allow it to bake for a final 35 minutes. At the end of the baking time, the surface of the quiche should be golden brown in colour and the filling should have set. If it hasn’t, and if it still feels a little runny, give it a bit more time.
When done, take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Then gently slide the quiche out of the baking dish (using an upturned bowl may make this easier) and slide it onto a serving dish.