I love quiche. I could eat quiche every day, every single day. Especially in summer time. You can serve it hot, cold or warm. Plus it has an added bonus: you can make a quiche out of almost everything.
Back in Argentina, at my mother’s house, we used to have quiche every weekend. Over at her house, the greatest hits are: ham and cheese, tuna, zucchini and corn. A normal Saturday lunch would include quiche, milanesas and a variety of salads (and Spanish omelet if we were lucky enough!).
I must say though that what I had known all of my life as a quiche or tart began to change when I first arrived to France. One of the first things we learnt at Lenôtre was how to make a quiche. It’s imperative to know how to make it if you’re attempting to learn French cuisine. They do love their quiche here :) I noticed it was a little different from what I was used to at home... they added milk, and off course they added cream, after all we are in France!
But the star of it all was the crust, oh the crust. I remember never getting used to home-made crust, too heavy, too thick… I can’t really pin point what it was that disenchanted me, and made me buy the pre made ones they sell at the supermarket. I know, I know... Shame on me! In my defense, the Argentinean supermarket quiche crust is awesome. I lo-ve it. Lo-ve it. Really.
All of this was pre-France, pre-cooking school, pre-perfect quiche crust discovery. And also pre-realizing that it’s pretty easy to make, and it takes no more than 15 minutes. I have no choice now but to make it myself! Plus, the pre-made ones they sell at the supermarket here in France... let’s just say I’m not a fan.
The fact that almost everything can be transformed into a quiche is just perfect. Here are some ideas: the classic "Quiche Lorraine" (Gruyère and bacon); salmon and spinach; leek and zucchini; mozzarella, tomato and oregano. The sky is the limit.
Today I bring to you one of my favorites: brie, caramelized onions and arugula. I made it for my family for Christmas two years ago (we have Christmas during Summer time!), and they loved it. It was gone, baby gone in a matter of seconds. And every time I prepare it people adore it. So I though it would be a great idea to share the recipe with you guys.
There are some technicalities you should respect. But other than that is a pretty straightforward recipe.
For the Crust:
(slightly adapted from a recipe I learnt at Ecole Lenôtre)
All purpose flour 250 g
Butter 125 g
Salt 7 g
Water 50 g
Egg yolk 1 u
For the Filling:
Onions 3 u
Butter 20 g
Brie 200 g
For the "Appareil":
Whole Milk 125 g
Cream 125 g
Eggs 2 u
In a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients and add the butter (cold cold) cut into small cubes.
Using your fingertips, break down the butter, until you obtain a sandy, grainy consistency. There should be pieces of butter still visible, and the color of the dry ingredients has changed towards a more yellowy tone.
Add the egg and mix using one finger.
Transfer the dough onto your working surface and use the palm of your hand to smear the dough and obtain a homogeneous mixture. (The technical French term is "fraiser"). You can repeat the operation up to 2 or 3 times.
Form a rectangle of about 2 cm tall (it’s easier to roll it out after); wrap it in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. If you can do it the day before, even better!
For the Caramelized Onions:
Slice the onions as thinly as you can. The proper French technical term would be "émincer", which refers to a particular form of slicing the onion. Peel the onions and cut them in half. Make an incision as to extract the knot of the onion (it is what holds it together). Turn the onion with the knot facing you, and slice as thinly as you can.
Melt the butter in a pot at very very low heat (my burners go up to 6, and I did the whole procedure at number 2!). Add the sliced onions and cook slowly until they are soft, really soft, and caramelized. The key to this process is being patient, and stir from time to time. We don’t want browning! That’s why I cook the onions very slowly. Also, some people add sugar to make caramelized onions... I don’t. They are sweet enough without adding anything extra. Try it out!
Season once they are nicely cooked!
This is a technique you will treasure for life! You can use caramelized onions in many recipes; pizza toppings, salads, as a garnish for chicken or meat... You name it! Maybe the first time around they won’t be perfect, but it’s only a matter of getting to know your pots, your burners, and getting comfortable with the slow cooking!
Whisk all the ingredients together. Season to taste.
Pre heat your oven to 170 C.
Roll out your dough to 3 mm approximately and line your mold.
Remember to make to dough bigger than the mold you are going to line. You can choose any mold you want, in any shape you want. (With this recipe I did 2 quiche: a rectangular one (35 cm x 10 cm) and a round one (16 cm in diameter).
In order to prevent the crust from rising in the oven, line your crust with parchment paper and fill it with rice (beans can also do the trick, but they are more smelly!)
Blind bake in two times: 10 minutes with the rice, and 10 more minutes without the rice or the parchment paper, or until the crust is slightly cooked but without browning.
Proceed to fill the quiche. I personally added in the onions first, and then the sliced brie cheese and finally the arugula leaves.
Pour the "appareil" into the filling until it is properly covered. Use a little jar to pour the liquid, this will prevent the appareil from spilling all over your working surface.
Also it is not necessary to use all of the liquid! The amount you use will depend on how much filling your quiche has already. More filling means less liquid. I like it more this way. But everything is valid!
Cook until set, and slightly brown. It took me in my oven about 40 minutes.