I am extremely fond of all things custard; possibly fueled by my aunt's baking of sweet custard pies for me when I was very young. If I order dessert after a restaurant meal, I will choose Crème Brulée over anything else on the menu -- always.
When I made my favorite Quiche Lorraine recipe the other night, I pleaded with my daughter to take a bite. Pleaded and begged, because my daughter is not a bacon eater. She did, however, give it a try and agreed... it's the best. The custard filling in this classic Quiche Lorraine is the creamiest you could ever imagine. I started joking about opening a small (and certainly successful) café called Quiche. My daughter countered with, Just Quiche. I ended with, Just One Quiche... this one, and nothing more.
• 1 partially baked deep, 9-inch tart crust, recipe follows
• 12 ounces apple-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 6 large, organic eggs
• 2 8-ounce jars of crème fraîche, recipe follows
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 5 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
1. Preheat the oven temperature to 375˚F.
2. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until just crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and drain.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs; add the crème fraîche, salt, and nutmeg and whisk to blend. Slowly pour the egg custard into the partially baked tart crust. Sprinkle the cooked bacon on top and then cover with the grated Gruyère.
4. Place the tart pan on the middle rack of the oven and back for 40 minutes, or until the filling is just barely set.
5. Allow the quiche to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.
• 1 pint heavy cream (do not use ultra-pasturized)
• 4 tablespoons buttermilk
Using 2 jars with lids (I like the French Bonne Maman jam jars), divide the buttermilk and then the heavy cream equally between the two. Secure the lids, then set the jars on your kitchen counter at room temperature for 24 hours; refrigerate. You will need to plan ahead and begin the Crème Fraîche at least 2 days ahead of making the quiche.
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
• 8 tablespoons very cold, unsalted butter, cubed
• 4 tablespoons ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water, pulsing the mixture until the dough just comes together. Transfer the mixture to a large piece of plastic wrap, press the dough into a disc and wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of waxed paper dusted lightly with flour. Dust the top of the dough lightly with a bit more flour, then cover with plastic wrap. Roll the tart dough into a large circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch deep dish tart pan with a removable bottom, and gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides. Using the rolling pin, trim the dough along the edge of the tart pan. (If you have any breaks in the tart crust, use remnants of dough to patch holes). Place the dough-lined tart pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 400˚F.
3. When ready to bake the crust, remove the tart pan from the freezer and line with foil. Fill the tart pan with dried beans or rice and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes; carefully remove the foil and beans or rice. (Check again for any small cracks before adding the custard and baking and patch before the final bake). Return the tart crust to the oven and continue to bake until it is dry and light golden. Remove from the oven. It is now ready to fill with the custard.
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