France's rich and creamy cheese and bacon tart – here with an extra-cheesy crust – is perfect for entertaining.
- 250g plain flour, sifted
- 150g butter, chilled and diced
- 40g grated parmesan
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 tbsp sparkling water, cold
- 180g thick-cut streaky bacon, diced
- 4 large eggs
- 300ml cream
- 200ml full-cream milk
- sea salt and pepper
- pinch of paprika or cayenne
- 100g gruyere, grated
- In a food processor, whiz the flour, diced butter, cheese and salt for about 10 seconds until it resembles coarse sand. Add the cold sparkling water, pulsing, until it forms a ball. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Lightly grease a 23cm x 4cm deep non-stick fluted tart tin. Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to 3mm thick. Line the tin with the pastry, trimming to just above the rim, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
- Heat oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Prick the pastry base with a fork, and cover with baking paper. Fill with dried beans or pastry weights and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights, and bake for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Reduce the heat to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional).
- Fry the bacon in a dry pan for 5 minutes until sizzling, then drain off fat.
- In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, cream and milk with the sea salt, pepper and paprika. Scatter the cheese on the pastry base, then the bacon, and slowly pour in the egg mixture.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and just set in the middle. Serve warm, with Dijon mustard and a green salad.
Need to know
- Quiche Lorraine can be traced back to Alsace in north-eastern France, where it was traditionally baked on bread dough instead of pastry.
- To make shortcrust pastry by hand, place the flour in a bowl, add the diced, chilled butter and rub it in with your fingertips until coarse and sandy. Work in the cheese and salt, then add cold water by the tablespoon until you can form a smooth dough. Store-bought pastry works well, too.
- To bake blind isn't as dangerous as it may sound. It just means to pre-bake the tart shell before you fill it, which helps keep the pastry crisp. Chilling the pastry before baking helps it keep its shape and prevents it from shrinking.
- Instead of bacon, use smoked ham. Instead of gruyere, use aged cheddar.
- For a vegetarian version, use lightly cooked asparagus, zucchini, pumpkin, kale or spinach.
- I add cheese to the pastry crust, which makes it taste like those cheese biscuits often served as nibbles.
- You can make the quiche a day or two ahead, and reheat it gently in the oven.
- For extra pizzazz (not that it needs it), serve with a scattering of crisped bacon, grated gruyere, snipped chives, or roasted truss cherry tomatoes on top.
Each month, food writer and cook Jill Dupleix guides us through the making of a classic dish.