Quiche originated in the western Germanic kingdom of Lothringen, renamed Lorraine by the French in 1766. The dish included bacon but not cheese. This savory version is perfect for a special brunch, supper, or Easter dinner. Julia Child said quiche is “really just a custard in fancy dress.” If desired, add 1 cup vegetables sauteed in about 1 tablespoon of butter; try mushrooms, zucchini, red bell pepper, or artichoke hearts. Include some onion, shallots, or leeks for flavor. Or instead, add crab, shrimp, or lobster. Pair the quiche with fresh fruit or cooked, marinated fresh asparagus on Bibb lettuce leaves.
Pie dough for a 9-inch pie pan, 2-inches deep (homemade or store-bought)
4 large eggs
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh herbs (snipped chives, chopped basil, or thyme leaves)
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere, Swiss, or cheddar cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or aged Asiago cheese
3 strips cooked crisp bacon, coarsely chopped, or ½ cup chopped ham
Preheat oven to 375 F. Fit dough into pie pan; flute edges or press with a fork. Chill 30 minutes, if possible, to help prevent shrinkage. To parbake, or partially bake, line with a double layer of aluminum foil or parchment. Pour in a thick, even layer of pie weights or dried beans. Place on a heavy baking sheet; bake on a lower rack 15 minutes or until pastry looks set. Remove weights and foil; bake about 5 minutes more until light golden brown. Store weights for reuse. Reduce heat to 350 F. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, then add milk, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and herbs. Combine cheeses; sprinkle over parbaked crust; scatter in bacon. If used, add sauteed vegetables now.
Put pan onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Pour in custard; place in oven on a middle rack, leaving about ½-inch headspace. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until done. If edges brown too quickly, tent with foil strips. When set, the golden brown custard will barely jiggle. A small knife inserted near the center will come out clean. On an instant thermometer, the custard should register 170 to 175 F; at higher temperatures, it begins to curdle.
Cool quiche around 15 minutes to firm up for easy slicing. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. To reheat a whole, chilled quiche, bring to room temperature; place in a preheated 325 F oven for about 15 minutes. Slices can be warmed in the microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serves 6 to 8.
Variation: Make a slightly richer version by substituting 2 cups half-and-half for the milk and cream.