I was raised in the rural west, Clinton, Utah, to be exact.  There were only 500 people in our little one-service-station town.   Quiche was not the kind of dish you would find at the church potluck or the PTA luncheon.  I don’t think I had even heard of it until my mid-twenties when I cautiously tried a slice.  I was an instant convert.  Later there was a popular book, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.  It was obviously fiction. Full-BaconQuiche

A couple decades later–when I had morphed into a serious baker—I made a serious run at making quiches.  With a stack of recipe books, a thermometer (used for testing doneness), and spreadsheets (I would like to think that you can solve any problem with spreadsheets), I made dozens of quiches. Now, with the help of all those authors and experiments, I think I understand quiche.  I’m ready to share what I know with some great recipes.  In fact, with the information herein, you should be able to design your own recipes.

Here you will learn about:

  • How to Make Quiche
  • How to Create Your Own Quiche Recipe
  • Secrets of Great Quiche
  • Tools and Ingredients
  • Quiche Recipes

How to Make Quiche

A quiche is a savory custard pie and a custard pie is an egg-based pie of which pumpkin pie is the most famous.  (So a pumpkin pie is a custard but not a quiche.)  If you can make a pumpkin pie, you can make a quiche.

Full-BrocPepperQuiche

Making quiche is simple.  There really are just five easy steps to making a great quiche. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the oven rack on the lower 1/3.

  1. Form the crust in a nine-inch pan.  If you use a just-add-water pie crust mix, it’s simple and will just take a few minutes.
  2. Prepare the meat and vegetables.  Usually, these will be precooked.  Grate the cheese.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, and seasonings.
  4. Stir in the meat and vegetables and grated cheese.  Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell.
  5. Bake until the internal temperature of the filling is at least 165 degrees but not more that 185 degrees (about 45 minutes). 

How to Create Your Own Quiche Recipe

We wanted to develop a standard recipe, a recipe that you could use and vary over and over by adding different meats, vegetables, or spices.  We have done that.    The recipe that follows conforms to the basic rules for quiche.

Here is the basic formulation:

  1. Use 1/2 cup dairy for each large egg.
  2. Use 1/4 cup grated cheese for each egg.  (You may use less cheese if you desire but we feel this is about right for both taste and mouth feel.)
  3. Use 3/4 teaspoon salt for a four-egg quiche.
  4. Use about 1 cup of added meats and vegetables for a four-egg quiche.  (This is a rule of thumb only and may vary depending on your tastes and the ingredients used.)
  5. Bake until the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees but not more than 185 degrees.   This typically takes about 45 minutes in 375 degree oven for a four-egg quiche but may vary according to the ingredients and pans used.   A thermometer is the only way to accurately tell if the quiche is done. 

So a four-egg quiche would use one cup of grated cheese. Many recipes call for less than that but we feel this is about right and makes for an excellent quiche.  Swiss cheese is traditional but many recipes call for cheddar.

For a richer quiche, use cream instead of half and half.  Milk can be used and is especially satisfactory in cheese-rich quiches. 

As mentioned earlier, most vegetables and meats need to be precooked.  Vegetables need to well-drained so that water does not leak into the quiche and interfere with the coagulation of eggs.  Some vegetables, such as mushrooms, need to be well cooked to remove excess moisture.

In the guidelines above, spices are not mentioned.  The traditional seasoning is nutmeg.  Nutmeg is strong enough that only 1/8 teaspoon is used.   Paprika, thyme, basil, oregano, and taco seasoning are other seasonings that can be considered. 

So here is the basic quiche recipe:

1 pie crust shell
4 large eggs
2 cups half and half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon seasonings (optional)
1 cup prepared vegetables or meat
1 cup grated Swiss or cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the oven rack on the lower 1/3.

  1. Form the crust in a nine-inch pan.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, and seasonings.
  3. Stir in the meat and vegetables and grated cheese.  Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell.
  4. Bake until the internal temperature of the filling is at least 165 degrees but not more that 185 degrees (about 45 minutes). 

The Secrets of a Great Quiche

A quiche consists of a pie crust and an egg-based filling, a custard.  Meats, vegetables, spices, and herbs can be added to the filling.  The custard relies on the coagulation of the proteins in the eggs to provide structure and firm the pie.

Secret #1: The right ratio of eggs to dairy.

The eggs need to be diluted with milk or cream but if you use too much dairy, there will not be enough proteins from the eggs to set the quiche.  The right ratio is 1/2 cup dairy for each large egg.  A four-egg quiche should have 2 cups of milk or cream or half and half.

Secret #2: Baking the quiche until it is just right.

As stated, a quiche relies on the coagulation of the egg proteins to set into a firm pie filling.  A mixture of egg whites and egg yolks coagulates at 165 degrees.  These same proteins become tough at 185 degrees.  So your target temperature is 170 degrees.

The secret of a well-baked quiche is a thermometer.  To test for doneness, insert a thermometer right in the center of the quiche half way through the filling.  When the temperature reaches 170 degrees, remove the quiche from the oven.   If you let it cook longer than that, the temperature of the filling toward the edges where the filling sets first, may be over 185 degrees.
 
Secret #3: Avoiding a burnt crust.

By the time the center of the quiche reaches 170 degrees, the crust may be over cooked, even burnt.

The secret of avoiding a burnt crust is to protect the crust.  A dark pie pan absorbs heat and while they are preferable for avoiding soggy crusts with fruit pies, they are not desirable for quiches.  A light pan, especially a stainless steel pan, reflects heat.  (By the way, aluminum is a much better conductor of heat than is steel; never use an aluminum pan for quiche.)

A pie crust shield  or aluminum folded around the edges of the pie is usually necessary to protect the protruding edges of the crust.  Both reflect heat.  A pie crust shield is easier to use than aluminum foil which always seems to fall off or protrude into the filling.

Secret #4: Adding the right amount of cheese.

Cheese performs two functions in our quiche: It delivers flavor and adds fat that contributes to a pleasing “mouth feel” and substance.


 

 

  We prefer a cup of grated cheese in a four egg quiche but admittedly, the amount of cheese is a matter of taste.

 

 

 

  For us, less than a cup of cheese and the quiche tastes light with insufficient substance.  If you use cream with its high fat content, you can use less cheese.

Everything else you add is a matter of taste and preference including meats, vegetables, seasonings and cheese.

Tools and Ingredients

Pie Pans  A few years ago, we were using light colored pie pans for quiche.  We’ve switched.  We don’t like soggy crusts and darker pans absorb heat and cook the quiche properly and quicker.  To remedy the burnt top edges of the crust, we simply drop on a pie crust shield. Full-BroccoliQuiche 

Using our dark Professional Pie Pans, we can slip a whole quiche, once it has cooled a bit, right from the pan to the display plate for easy cutting and serving.

Pie Crust Shields:   Drop these over your pies to keep the edges from burning or crimp aluminum foil around the edges for the last ten minutes of baking.  

Pie Crust Mix:   It’s simple to make a pie crust with a just-add-water pie crust mix.  Measure the mix and the water and mix in the bowl of your stand-type mixer.  Beat for a couple minutes with the dough hook and you are ready to form the crust.  Don’t over-beat your crust else your pie crust will turn out tough instead of light and flakey.

Recipes

Quiche Lorraine

New Potato, Ham, and Cheddar Quiche

Corn and Cheddar Quiche 

Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Quiche

Spinach, Onion, and Swiss Quiche

Broccoli, Corn, and Red Bell Pepper Quiche

My Favorite Seafood Quiche

Mushroom Quiche

Dennis Weaver is the president of The Prepared Pantry at www.preparedpantry.com