Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's Not Pronounced Kweesh

Every time I hear the word "quiche", I think of the dinner scene in Sixteen Candles.  The whole family is eating quiche, and Long Duck Dong asks how you spell it.  Grandpa Fred replies, "You don't spell it, son.  You eat it!" 

I, for one, don't spell it.  I do eat it.  I think quiche is great:  scrambled eggs, delicious add-ins, and a pie crust.  What could be better?  I know that quiche became ubiquitous in the 1970's, and the flavorless, rubbery versions ruined it for everyone.  But for me, quiche never died and has no need to make a comeback.  I've been eating it all along.

I briefly worked as the pastry cook in a Charlotte restaurant and was responsible for making the quiches, as they would offer a "quiche du jour".  In case you didn't know, "quiche du jour" is French for "quiche made out of whatever is left over in the cooler and needs to be used up before it goes bad".  I never eat quiche in a restaurant.  At home is a different story. 

Quiche recipes abound in books and on the internet, many claiming to be the "ultimate" or "best".  Thomas Keller, who is a genius, has a recipe for quiche in his book Bouchon.  He says that it's not really a quiche unless the crust is at least 2".  Julia Child says the crust needs to be at least 1 1/2".  Both suggest using a flan ring.  Chef Keller also requires processing the eggs in a blender to make the quiche extra fluffy and not eating the quiche until the next day, when you cut out a slice and reheat it in the oven.  I'm sure his version is delicious.  And a lot of effort.  Plus, I'd have to buy a 2" flan ring.

I do not claim for my version of a quiche to be the ultimate.  I'll leave that to Chef Keller's 2" flufferated version.  If I'm being lazy (as usual) and don't wish to make a pie crust, I'll buy either a full-size frozen pie crust or a refrigerated pie crust that I can cut into smaller sizes.  I blind-bake it (with no filling) for 5-10 minutes, just to get it to set.  I find whatever is in the fridge that I want to add to my quiche and prepare that.  Finally, I mix 3 large eggs with one cup of liquid, be it milk, cream, half-and-half, whatever.  Put the add-ins in the crust, pour over the custard, then bake until it's done (350 degrees F for about 40-45 minutes).  Easy peasy.  (If you're even lazier than I am, most supermarkets sell quiche custard in the frozen section.  Just pour in the crust and you're done.)  If you get heavy-handed with your add-ins and have custard left over, make another quiche or whip up some scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow.

A note on the liquid used in making the custards.  I recently received a frantic call from a certain Handsome Savage regarding the liquid.  Here's the conversation:

LA:  Can I use water instead of milk for the liquid?
Me:  You can, but it will be gross.  Remember the omelet at Libby's that you didn't like because you said the eggs had been watered down?  It will taste like that.
LA:  Ok.  I'll talk to you later.  I need to go buy milk.

Your quiche, and anything you make, will only be as good as what goes into it.  Garbage in, garbage out.  It's worth repeating.  Quiche's return to the mainstage is tenuous, at best.  I'd like to see it stick around, so no crappy quiches, please.  It's better to go without than ruin it for everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment