Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quiche, Try #2

Devoted readers of this blog probably remember the first time I attempted to make a quiche recipe. What, you're not a devoted reader? Then time-out for you while you go and read all about it. Actually, everyone should probably go read it or risk being 100% confounded by this post. Now that we're all on the same page with regard to that disaster, let's proceed with try number two. The plan this time was to make bacon and onion and quiche, mostly because I thought it sounded better than roquefort and leek quiche. Anyone want to argue that point?

The main lesson I took from trying to make the shell in the last episode was that you won't have enough dough if your pan has three inch sides and the recipe is for a pan with two inch sides. To do away with this issue I had two options: buy the right ring mold or make more dough. I chose the latter because I could do it without leaving the house. I made 1.5 times the recipe, so I had a lot of dough. More than enough to cover the pan, that's for sure. I wish I could show you with a picture here, but I forgot. Take a look at the last try though, it's more or less the same.

I put the shell into the oven and came back fifteen minutes later. Disaster! Again! The dough had fallen down the sides of the pan in several places. Apparently dough does not care that you tried very hard to make sure it's secure. And that you're not sure you can mentally handle another mess of a quiche. It just falls. We'll end this conversation about the quiche shells with my latest hypothesis on what went wrong (because there's no way it's me): I think that pan I have has sides that are just too tall. I don't think the shell can support that much of itself. I think...

So I abandoned that attempt and moved on to quiche shell recipe number two. This was much more successful for me, just look at how it turned out:

Perfect! Look at those edges! I'll bet you twenty bucks you can't find a human on this planet that can make edges like that. This is what I was forced to resort to. It wasn't that I was giving up, but it was getting late and I really wanted to make the quiche that night. Oh well. The crust sucked. What are you going to do?

So let's just forget about the whole crust saga and move onto the filling. This is also identical to the last time I made it, except for without all of the mistakes this time. The first mistake that I didn't make was to scald the milk and the cream.

Action shot, right? It's awesome. For the uninformed, Keller would like you to know that the milk is scalded when 'a skin begins to form on the surface'. Why scald, you might ask? Because scalding the dairy ensures the custard can start to cook immediately upon arrival in the hot oven. We wouldn't want it to soak through that fancy shell we just made, right? Bitter every step of the way, I completed the scalding and then let it cool for a few minutes. Ever put really hot liquids in a blender? Me either, but I've seen it done and it's not pretty. Half of the recipe went into the blender until it was nice a foamy, then the other half. Batter complete. Time for the next steps, and they had better be quick or you'll be reblending everything to keep it nice and aerated.

Aside from the shell and the batter, the ingredients for the quiche are pretty simple. It's bacon and onion quiche, so obviously there's some bacon and some onions. There's also some Emmentaler cheese and some thyme. That, plus some seasonings, is about it.

That's a nice hunk of meat, isn't it? The namesake onions were actually the delicious onion confit. Go ahead, click it. You know you want to.

The first step is to render the bacon in the oven for about half an hour. That's kind of an attempt to make it seem a bit more healthy by rendering some of the fat, but who are we kidding here? It's still bacon. Drain the little lardons on paper towels.

I combined the onions, bacon, thyme, and seasonings in a skillet for a few minutes to heat everything through.

Looks good, right? I suppose at this point you could just throw the batter in the skillet, bake it, and call it a frittata, but that's not what we're here for. Continuing on, it's now time to assemble the quiche, which is really just an exercise in layering.

First up, some cheese:

This is followed by a layer of the bacon and onions.

And then a layer of batter. Look at how that bacon and onion just sinks right to the bottom.

And then more bacon and onion.

What is going on here? First it sinks and now it floats. It's either an optical illusion or all of that blending of the batter paid off. Into the oven it went. This was a bit of a guessing game for me. The original recipe called for 90-105 minutes in the oven, but I was using less than half of the original amount of batter in some ridiculous frozen pie shell. I also live way up high, for what that's worth. It turns out that combination will shave off about 45 minutes of cooking time. It almost made up for the time I wasted on the original shell. Almost.

There's the finished product. I feel like it's not really fair to judge it. It was ok, but nothing special. There wasn't that much batter and therefore not that much egg flavor, which probably would have been solved by, um, following the recipe. The flavor was pretty good though, if you could get past the crust. The bottom line is that there will probably be an upcoming post titled 'Quiche, Try #3'. Better luck next time, self. Better luck next time.


ClaireWalter said...

I guess I'm no Bouchon. Actually, I know I'm no Bouchon. I would not heat up the oven to render the bacon when it is quicker and easier and uses less gas to do it on the stovetop. But then, I'm no you either, because I've never made such a pretty crust edge. I always bake quiche in a fluted tart pan with a removable ring. It always looks good that way, despite my chronic ineptitude with making things really pretty.

Claire @

mike said...

Hey Claire,

I normally would not heat up the oven either for something like this. That said, there are an awful lot of things associated with this book that I wouldn't normally do. I guess it's part of the learning process, even if it turns my kitchen into a 85 degree sauna.

I'll have to give the tart pan a shot, it sounds like that could be the answer I'm looking for.

Victoria said...
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Victoria said...
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Victoria said...

I like reading your posts. It will be interesting to watch your cooking skills evolve as you work through the project. It sounds like you're having a good time - but I think you are going to be stuck buying another tart pan the exact height TK recommends.

mike said...

Hi Victoria, and welcome.

I just made the lemon tart this past week, and even managed to have the right tart pan. That makes me about 1 for 1000 in the 'having the right equipment' department.

Anonymous said...

What you miss by making this in a shallow pie pan is the egg mixture becomes more like a custard rather than hard scrambled eggs. I've made the quiche recipe a couple of times and fortunately had success both times. The only failure I had was the ingredients all floated to the top during baking. But, dang, it is so tasty. IMO the best quiche I've ever had, hands down.

L. said...

I had problems with the crust too. Inspite of freezing it over night and making it in the right 9 x 2 ring, the curst melted apart in the oven. (and i had use an oven thermometer too!)

For some weird reason, my custard kept leaking out of the sides too. I just kept topping it up with the excess custard. But the end result was so worth it.