Ask any Joe Bagodonuts on the street what he knows about French cuisine, and most likely he will name crepes, escargot, or quiche. In all three examples, the ingredients are simple but it’s technique that reigns. For our Bastille Day dinner, Chef Zach made individual quiches lorraines with bacon that, while great for dinner, can also be eaten as breakfast. Leftovers are easy to transport and heat, so these are convenient to bring to work for lunch, as well.
Makes 6 individual 4″ quiches
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of rice or beans
1 cup of cold butter (we highly recommend Straus for butter and milk)
1/3 lb. of cave-aged Kaltbach Gruyere cheese
10 oz. of bacon
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of whole milk
3 cage-free eggs
1/2 cup of ice water
1 bunch of fresh chives
1 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt, plus 1 tsp.
1 tsp. of sugar
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1/8 tsp. of freshly ground nutmeg
A dusting of flour (for rolling dough)
Combine the flour and butter in a food processor. It’s best to precut the butter in tablespoon-size pieces and put in the freezer to cool for an hour before mixing with the flour.
You don’t want the butter to fully incorporate with the flour, so pulse until the consistency is lumpy but not too fine, like a coarse corn meal.
Dissolve the sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. of salt in the water. Pour this into the food processor with the flour and butter in a slow, steady stream with the food processor on the whole time pouring. It should not take more than 30 seconds to do this, as you do not want to overwork the dough.
After the dough is combined, it needs to be divided and chilled.
Use a bench scraper to make a rectangular loaf, which is easier to eye and portion out.
Some of you might think that Zach is overworking the dough, but he’s barely touching it. The whole thing about this dough is that the butter creates the flaky layers, so it can’t get too hot before even cooking it. Quickly round the dough, without squishing it, so that it can be flattened into a circle for the miniature tart pans. Just work fast and don’t play with it like PlayDoh.
Wrap each flattened circle of dough with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. During this time, prep the filling. Start by chopping the strips of bacon into small pieces and frying them; render them well, because you don’t want any chewy bacon pieces in the quiche. Drain in a strainer or on towels to get rid of excess grease, and let cool. Shred the Gruyere cheese, but make sure to remove the rind first. Finely mince the chives.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. After the dough pieces have chilled, remove from the plastic wrap and, with a rolling pin and a dusting of flour, roll out each piece to be wider than the tart pans.
Make sure to dust off any excess flour before pressing into the tart pans (there shouldn’t be much, but look out anyway).
Pinch off the excess dough. Don’t reuse this excess for other quiches, because it will be overworked if you try to reform it. Instead, you can make cracker-like snacks. Toss in cinnamon and sugar, and bake on a cookie sheet for about 18-20 minutes. Put the six tart pans with dough in the freezer for 20 minutes (remember, we can’t let the butter warm up).
Pour 1/4 cup of dry rice or beans in each tart. Do not press into the dough, just pour it in and spread it out evenly; its purpose is to keep the covered part of the dough from rising. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 18-20 minutes. The goal is to puff the dough but not cook it entirely, so don’t wait for it to be golden brown. This process is called “blind baking.” Once the tart pans have cooled, carefully remove all rice/beans. Professional bakeries will save the rice/beans for future tarts, but you’re probably not going to be baking that much, so you can discard it. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the cream, milk, eggs, remaining salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk until thoroughly mixed and some bubbles have formed on the surface from the incorporation of air. You can mix the chives in at this point, too, but Zach prefers to sprinkle them on top. It’s just a matter of choice.
Evenly distribute the shredded cheese and bacon into the bottom of each tart. Pour the egg mixture in, up to the very edge of the dough.
Just before putting the quiches into the oven, Zach sprinkles the chives. Bake for 30 minutes on the center rack. You know they are done if you shake the sheet pan, and the fillings are firm. The quiches shouldn’t brown on the top too much, because that will affect the velvety texture.
Make it a more complete meal for lunch or dinner by serving with a side salad.