Bonjour, ma cher!
This is how my grandmother almost always begins a voicemail. Just imagine it spoken in a way where “bonjour” is “bonjouuuuuuuuur” and “ma cher” has a long “eeeee” sound on the end of it and the woman saying it is wearing cashmere and hot pink lipstick. It’s quirky and adorable and *so* Patricia. She loves everything French: French food, French fashion, French interior design. All of it. She firmly believes she can speak French and moved to Paris for a year to study at the Sorbonne when she was 70.
My grandmother loved to cook anything and everything that had way too many steps. If a recipe didn’t have many steps, she’d add some. But her food was always delicious. (I’m speaking in past tense because she just doesn’t cook anymore, which is really a tragedy.)
This quiche recipe is an homage to her, since she is Very Picky About Quiche. And quiche is, well, very French. We made this very often growing up and my mom developed this recipe. It’s where I started getting really into making pie crust. I’ll give you the basic recipe here with some of my favorite add-ins, but you can really add anything you want.
- 6 eggs
- 1 C milk
- handful of grated parmesan
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 3 patties of breakfast sausage OR handful of bulk sausage
- 1/2 of 1 leek, finely sliced
- grated cheddar cheese, about 1 C
- 1 C flour
- heaping 1/3 C shortening
- 1 tsp salt
- very cold/ice water
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the eggs, milk, parmesan, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Brown the sausage until it’s crispy. Make sure you chop it up in the pan into at least bit-sized pieces, if not smaller. Scrape into a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb some of the drippings.
Slice the leek thinly – leeks are most beautiful this way, as they end up as a beautiful transparent circle of light green. NB: make sure you wash them thoroughly and peel some of the top layers off, as dirt inevitable gets really jammed in there and no one wants that kind of crunch in their quiche. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the flour, shortening, and salt. Combine them using a pastry tool or a fork until it resembles a really course kinda chunky flour. SLOWLY add in a TINY bit of cold water and keep mixing. You want to add *just* enough cold water that the dough starts to form a ball. Once it’s at that stage, STOP with the water and use your hands.
Work the dough quickly into a ball. Place it on a well-floured countertop and start rolling it out. Personally, I love the rolling pins that are just one giant stick that gradually taper at the ends, so you never end up with lines in your dough from the edge of the rolling pin. If you’re in a jam and you don’t have a rolling pin, a bottle of wine works fairly well. If it’s chilled wine, though, best of luck. Make sure you flour the rolling pin/wine bottle, so it doesn’t stick to your dough. As I roll mine out, I flip the circle of dough so that both sides are well-floured and so that it doesn’t stick to the countertop. Once it’s rolled out to where it’s about 1/8″ thick, fold it into quarters.
Place the dough into your pie dish and unfold it. Smooth out any creases & fill any holes. Roll the edge of the dough under itself along the edge of your pie dish and crimp it/decorate it in anyway that really gets you going.
Fill the pie shell with the sausage and leeks then pour the egg mixture over it. Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese and ever so gently place it in the oven. Bake it until it smells like breakfast and the middle of the quiche has stopped jiggling. Usually the cheese also gets a little brown and crispy on top, which is just delightful.
Serves: *technically* 6, but, like, who doesn’t want an entire quarter of a quiche?
NB: a word of warning before adding tomatoes into quiche – make sure they’re deseeded and roasted otherwise the water content in them will ruin the texture of your quiche. The same goes for spinach, except please don’t roast spinach. Just cook it down and drain it and squeeze it with paper towel or cheesecloth.
Bon appetite and egészségedre!