Penicillin, post-it notes, the slinky, the pacemaker, the x-ray machine and a quiche lorraine frittata – all accidental discoveries when someone was trying to make something else and I like to think all equally genius. That is except for the slinky which is clearly head and shoulders above as it pretty much defined our childhoods – or was that just mine? Many an hour spent trying to get a slinky to go down stairs – always unsuccessful but always totally gripping. You see it all started when G and I were having two of the most lovely people in the world round for afternoon tea – a truly lovely occasion which was only made more special by the fact my mum was in town (all too rare as she lives on the other side of the world). I had thought I would make a quiche lorraine, something I do all the time, little did I know how much would go wrong and yet how much would go right…
I pretty much murdered the short crust pastry…twice. The first time I accidentally added too much butter so it was too soft, so I put it in the freezer to firm up, forgot about it and froze it solid. So, not to worry I thought, I’ll make another batch, which I duly did. However, I put the little mini cases in the oven to blind bake and accidentally turned off the oven so the residual heat melted the butter and turned them into little shortcrust cakes which were pretty horrid. So I’m left with the quiche mixture, no pastry and guests arriving in 15 minutes. Now, this is where the magic happened, I remembered the persian omelette which I posted about a little while back and thought, “why not?”. In the end I can honestly stand hand on heart and say I preferred it without the pastry and it was still delicious the next day (or what was left of it was) whilst I always find quiches go a little soggy. I do feel, however, I should post a couple of pictures to prove I can make pastry!
Quiche lorraine is definitely my favourite quiche. In fact I remember distinctly every now and again having some from this amazing patisserie near where I grew up in Sydney. It was called La Gerbe D’or and it was a real treat to go there. I know mum used to delay buying bread and things like that just so I could go with her after school sometimes. However, I’ve discovered a secret which I think makes quiche lorraine even better. The secret is swapping out the cheese for slow cooked onions (recipe here). Now, I can almost here all of France groaning and telling me “it’s not a quiche lorraine without cheese”. Well that may be so, but it’s delicious all the same, and much lighter. It retains all that lovely savouriness from the bacon and eggs but gains a light, sweetness from the almost jammy onions which is something special to behold (and you can make the onion well in advance in big batches and freeze the rest). That’s not to say it’s not delicious with cheese, in fact with cheese, bacon and onions it might even be better. Normally all this gorgeous filling is wrapped up in beautiful, crumbly shortcrust pastry but I actually think I’ve hit on something special in leaving the pastry off (you be the judge and let me know).
I must admit it worked really well with the rest of the things at the tea – we served it with nectarines, water chocolate ganache , raspberry pastry cream with crumble, marmalade pound cakes and lots of sandwiches. All in all a great success!
Quiche Lorraine Frittata
- 200g bacon lardons (I prefer smoked but unsmoked is good too)
- 1 large onion worth of slow cooked onion (recipe here)
- 250ml double cream
- 5 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 50g gruyere cheese (optional and I leave out)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 celsius
- Fry the bacon in a frying pan until lightly golden and cooked through but not too crisp, drain on kitchen towel and set aside to cool slightly
- Beat the eggs together and mix with the cream and onions. Add the cooled bacon and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Heat an ovenproof pan on a high heat for 1 minute and add a dash of olive oil. Pour in the egg mixture to the hot oil and cook for 1 minute to firm the edge. If using cheese, add the cheese to the top of the egg mixture.
- Place in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes or until just set – you don’t want it runny but you want it wo be as close to possible to runny whilst still being set.
- It’s equally nice hot or cool, but I prefer it cool.