Quiche is a large and attractive savory circular French pastry with a filling. Usually categorized under open pies a quiche is eaten as a main course dish during meals. It is made up of a custard filling with a number of toppings. The custard consists of a milk, egg and cream base with tomato or pastry curst garnish. Bacon spinach, cheese, potato, broccoli, and sausage are some of the ingredients that are used as fillings and toppings for the quiche. Quiches are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the dishes recommended for the courses differ from each other.
History of the Quiche
Though the Quiche is generally known to be an integral part of the French cuisine and is commonly believed to be representative of the cuisine, the dish is found to have German roots. The dish seems to be derived from Kuchen, the German term for the cake, in the region of Lorraine (the kingdom of Lothringen). The original quiche did not include cheese, though it is included by most quiche recipes these days. It consisted of a creamy bacon or lardon custard with egg. Emmental or Gruyere cheese is included in the Lorraine quiche recipe. The base of the quiche was initially made of bread dough though it has now evolved into shortcrust or puff pastry. Post 2nd world war, the quiche gained prominence in the English cuisine and were tried with mushrooms, ham, broccoli, and seafood. The method of cooking the quiche also evolved. The original quiche from Lorraine was baked in a cast iron pan and there were no crimped edges whereas later the quiches were baked in a springform pan and they had neatly crimped edges.
Ingredients used in Quiches
A quiche essentially is made with eggs, cream, and milk. Custard made with these ingredients forms the base of many quiches. Cheese is also used in many quiches these days. Other ingredients, like vegetables, meat and seafood are being widely used in the modern day quiches. Quiche Lorraine, the original traditional quiche is made with egg, bacon and cream as the essential ingredients. Cheese is an optional item that is added later on. Whipping cream or half and half cream can be used for making the quiche. Seasonings of white pepper and nutmeg are used for making the quiche. Gourmet versions of the quiche can be prepared by adding other ingredients like ham, spinach, leek, and mixed cheese (made of two or three varieties of cheese like gruyere, fontina, mozzarella, or parmesan) and crème fraiche.
Preparation of Quiche Recipes
A quiche is essentially prepared by baking. As it consists of two components namely, the quiche crust and the custard filling these need to be prepared individually first for baking. The quiche crust can either be bought from the local supermarket or made at home with flour, butter, salt and water. Dough is made with the ingredients in a food processor. It is chilled and rolled out into discs which are arranged on deep dish pie pans. Cooking tip: It is advisable to bake the quiche crust lightly prior to baking it with filling to prevent it from getting soaked in the custard filling. On baking, it attains a tough structure which can hold the filling without the risk of it getting damaged. The quiche crust can also be baked ahead of time and preserved in a refrigerator. The filling is the next thing that needs to be prepared. Vegetables or meats that are used should be chopped well and cooked before assembling it for the custard. Vegetables or meat sautéed in cooking oil are preferred as they do not contain additional liquids which can damage baking. Meanwhile a mixture of egg, cheese, milk and cream are prepared by blending one into the other. Herb and spice seasonings are added to the mixture at this stage. The vegetables are mixed with the wet mixture and the combination is poured into the pre-baked quiche shell. The entire assemblage is set for baking in the oven with toppings of choice. When fully done, a knife edge will come out clean from the quiche. The quiche is cooled, cut into wedges and served with accompaniments of choice.
A quiche can be consumed as a main course item for any one of the main meals, which may be breakfast, lunch or dinner depending upon the ingredients that are used and the size of the quiche. It is also served as an entrée. Quiche can be served with salads or sauces or other suitable accompaniments. Bread is also eaten as an accompaniment if the meal is supposed to be a filling one.
Dishes Similar to Quiche
The pie is similar to quiche; or rather a quiche is considered an open pie. But the pie differs in that, it can have a top crust also and the filling is always not a custard.