Quiche Lorraine (Cheese and Onion Flan)
Quiche Lorraine (Cheese and Onion Flan)
This used to be a popular lunch dish at our house when girls were young. They learnt to make it at their school later on and made it themselves as they grew older. Here, I have modified the recipe they used. Some variations are also given. You can use ready made short crust pastry or make your own. Serves 4
For the pastry:
175 gm. plain flour (maida)
A pinch of salt
75 gm. butter or margarine
For the filling:
250 gm. mature cheddar, grated
4 tomatoes, sliced (optional)
1 red onion, sliced
4-5 slices of streaky bacon, (optional)
100 ml. milk*
5 standard or 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
200 ml. fresh double cream/Crème fraîche* (Only milk was used in the school version)
1/2 tsp. salt (cheese has salt)
A good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
A little freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp. chilli flakes (optional)
*You can use 300 ml. of normal milk alone, if you don’t have cream
1 tsp. chopped fresh herb of choice like coriander, thyme, marjoram, basil or chopped chives (optional)
8-9 inch flan dish (a flan dish is a round oven proof dish with raised edges)
Sift flour in a largish bowl, add a pinch of salt and butter. Mix with your fingers or in a food processor, until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add a little cold water at a time, to make firm dough. Be careful, it does not need a lot of water. This can also be done in a food processor.
Cover with a cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Making the Quiche;
Fry onions and bacon together until bacon is crisp and onions are lightly browned. Keep aside.
Lightly dust the kitchen table or rolling board with flour and roll out the pastry into a 25 cm. or 10 inch diameter circle, about 4-5 mm. thick, same as a 1 £ coin. Lift it off and gently roll it onto the rolling pin. Now unroll it onto a buttered flan dish. Press it in gently. Do not trim edges yet.
Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge again for 25-30 minutes. This stops shrinkage during baking.
Preheat the oven to 190°C or 375°F or Gas mark 5.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge. Place a sheet of grease proof paper or aluminium foil to cover the pastry. Now fill with baking beans (not baked beans!). This will stop it from ballooning during baking. You can press it with another flan dish that is slightly smaller and fits inside the main dish, placed over the grease proof paper.
Bake blind (without any filling) for approximately 20 minutes, until it is set and lightly crisp.
Remove the foil roll/baking beans and baking paper and return to the oven for another five minutes, so that the inside corners are also cooked well. Take it out.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
Slice tomatoes and spread them over the pastry case.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Sprinkle onions and bacon on top of cheese. Keep aside.
Place eggs, milk and cream/ crème fraîche in a bowl, along with salt and pepper and any herbs and spice you are using.
Beat lightly and pour over the bacon and cheese.
Now trim the edges of the pastry. This late trimming stops them from shrinking. You can leave the edges untrimmed, giving it a more rustic look.
Bake for 30-35 minutes in the centre of the oven, until just set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. It will set further.
Serve at room temperature or hot with salad of choice.
You can use different types of cheeses, like Gruyère, Parmesan and cheddar mix, a mix of cheddar and any of the blue cheese like Stilton, a mix of Swiss cheese and double cream.
Use Any one or few of vegetables like very thinly sliced courgettes/aubergines, a few peas, chopped broccoli, carrots, sliced red/green pepper, sliced mushrooms, asparagus tips, tinned or cooked corn kernels. Stir fry the vegetables you want to use a little. This will enhance their flavour.
Use Ham and or other cold cuts of meat, left over roast chicken pieces.
Add a few peeled prawns or a few pieces of fish like salmon, instead of bacon.
Add a few chopped green chillies or coarsely ground red chillies.