Updated: Jul 18, 2020
The cuisine of our grandmothers was to use only local products, no surprise, they didn’t have Amazon then to deliver. Today I want to share a recipe that goes back more than 400 years. Quiche Lorraine originated in the 16th century in Lothringen, which was then part of Germany. When the area later became French, its name changed to Lorraine – the word ‘quiche’ is a derivation of the German word ‘kuchen’ meaning cake. The meal started its life as a simple winter dish that could be cheaply made from readily available ingredients in any farmhouse kitchen. Open tart of extra bread dough filled with a custard of eggs and cream and smoked bacon lardons. Baked in a hot oven.
There is the argument, cheese or no cheese. Granny Jeanne’s recipe from the Lorraine Tourisme only uses crème fraiche, Henri-Paul Pellaprat’s book from 1869 calls for Gruyere. Larousse Gastronomique, again uses only crème fraiche. And Julia Child’s recipe only calls for cream, no cheese.
Today, the bread dough has given way to a short crust and the creamy egg custard has the addition of grated cheese to make it even richer. And if you add onions to the recipe it then becomes Quiche Alsacienne. Now quiche finds itself fairly ubiquitous in Paris and the rest of France. It is sold in nearly every traiteur or bakery and can vary wildly. Some are in tarte pans, oblong sheet pans or even in individual sizes for a great lunch picnic or even cut into small chunks to go with an aperitif.
The dish first appeared in cookbooks in England back to 1805. And it is said that it was a signature dish of Julia Child from her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Then in 1963 with The French Chef on television, Quiche Lorraine started to become an iconic “gourmet” lunch on menus in the 60’s and 70’s. And now can be found in every freeze section from Costco to Whole Foods. Maybe just try Granny Jeanne’s for authentic flavors.
Granny Jeanne’s Quiche Lorraine recipe
350 g of short crust pastry 200 g of smoked streaky bacon 4 tablespoons of crème fraîche 4 eggs 5 turns of the pepper mill
Dice the streaky bacon after having removed the rind. Fry the bacon in a pan (do not add butter or oil). Preheat the oven to 220 °C (425 F) Roll out the pastry, place in a buttered pie tin and use a fork to prick the dough. In a bowl, beat the eggs as if making an omelette. Add the cooked bacon, the cream and pepper. Stir. Pour the mixture over the pastry. Bake for 25 minutes and poke any bubbles that might form at the surface. Remove from the pan and serve.