Let’s talk quiche, my friends.
I felt the need to whip up some sunny comfort food to welcome the holiday weekend. It’s been a rough week. (No worries, all better now, mostly. It’s the weekend.) As my idea of comfort food usually involves something cheesy or baked or British, this gorgeous creation checked all three boxes.
This is the best quiche I’ve ever made. Strike that. It’s the best quiche I’ve ever eaten. Really, you must try it.
This recipe was inspired by a souffled egg and bacon tart found in The Farmhouse Cookbook, a book stuffed with beautifully photographed comfort food from a dairy farm the Yeo Valley of Somerset England. I find it soothing just to page through the images of delicious scones and jams and roasts and vegetables.
I started with a sheet of puff pastry for the shell. I’m forever looking for shortcuts, and resorting to puff pastry out of a box is fabulous way to avoid rolling out pie crust. Perfecting pie crust (or quiche crust as the case may be) is on my bucket list, but I couldn’t cope with the thought of fiddling with an ill-behaved crust this week. As it turns out, I may never go back to a regular pie crust for quiche… the light flaky shell simply rocks.
A generous portion of deeply caramelized onions and crispy pancetta are then layered on top of the shell. I’m not kidding about the “deeply” in caramelized – please set aside a good 30-45 minutes to transform your onions to a rich, brown-sugar colored brown. The good news is, you can work on the rest of the elements of the quiche while this happens. And your house will smell amazing throughout the entire process.
Then, in the inspired technique discovered in The Farmhouse Cookbook, I made a manchego cheese sauce, and folded whipped egg whites into it. This creates a light airy souffled quiche that puffs up beautifully as it comes out of the oven. While I’m partial to manchego, I suspect any cheese you would find in a quiche would work: cheddar or gruyere or even goat cheese.
Really, a perfect dish to add to your holiday weekend breakfast or brunch table. May your weekend be a sunny one.
A few notes:
I know many of you are headed off to the beach this weekend. Have some rum punch for me…
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 medium to large yellow onions, halved and slivered
- 3½ tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole milk, warmed
- 1 cup grated manchego cheese
- ¾ cup heavy (whipping cream)
- 3 large free-range eggs, separated
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Over medium heat, fry the pancetta until much of the fat has been rendered, it is crispy and beginning to brown. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to any pancetta drippings that remain, and turn down the heat to low.
- Add the slivered onions to the pan, and sautée over low heat for 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be a rich dark brown color.
- While the onions are cooking, make the pie crust:
- Roll puff pastry to an 11-inch square.
- Transfer to a 9-inch diameter glass pie plate.
- Trim the edges, and fold any extras over to make a decorative edge.
- Pop the pie plate into the freezer until you are ready to fill it.
- For the filling: Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the flour, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the warm milk. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously, until smooth. Add the grated cheese and cream and stir together, then add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and let it cool slightly.
- Put the egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl, and mix them into soft peaks.
- Add the egg yolks to the cheese sauce, stir to combine, then fold them into the sauce.
- Pull the crust from the freezer.
- Layer the onions and pancetta on the bottom of the crust, then pour the egg mixture over the top.
- Bake the quiche for 30 minutes, until puffed up, set, and golden brown.
- Serve Immediately.