14 December 2009

Ham, Bacon, and Leek Quiche

Last week I told my Theory students that I'd make breakfast for them on the day of the final. They were, of course, happy to allow that, and one even made a request for something I've never made: Ham and Bacon Quiche. It's not that I don't like quiche, because, well, I do, but I just never want to go to the trouble or consume the calories. It's a bit of a luxury in my world.

Well, with request made I decided I'd better find a suitable recipe that satisfied my need for absolute deliciousness. Oh, did I succeed, and the end product was declared a smashing success at this morning's final. Here it is, just as I made, or as close as I can recall. Now, the bacon and ham are nice, no doubt about it, but the real jewel of this eggy delight is the over half pound of cheese; three of them to be more precise. Not only are they rich and wonderful in flavor, but they also provide the salty savor for the entire dish.

Ham, Bacon, and Leek Quiche
loosely adapted from Gourmet, April 2006

For the crust (or you can buy one)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold, shredded or cut into cubes

For the Quiche
2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-4 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2" lardons
1/4 lb thinly sliced smoked ham OR a few slices of a dinner ham, cut to fit pie crust
3 oz Gruyère or other swiss cheese, coarsely grated (1 cup)
3 oz Italian Fontina, coarsely grated (1 cup)
3 oz whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated (1 cup)
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups crème fraîche OR 1 cup sour cream loosened with 1/4 cup milk


Place a few ice cubes in a bowl of water and set aside. In a food processor fitted with a pastry blade combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter and pulse until mixture is the size of small peas; don't over mix. Add 1/4 cup water and pulse until dough comes together; you may need a little more water, but I didn't. Pour dough onto a floured counter and bring together into a ball. If it doesn't stay in a ball add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time until it does. Form into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425˚F. After chilling, roll dough out and place in a 9" pie plate. Poke holes in crust, line with foil pressed tightly against the crust, and if desired, weight with pie weights of dried beans. Prebake crust for 15-20 minutes, or until dry. Remove from oven. Of course if you bought your pie crust, you can just prebake according to the package directions.


Reduce oven temperature to 350˚F. Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well in a bowl of cold water, agitating leeks. Lift out and drain leeks in a colander and pat dry. Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat and cook leeks, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes. Add bacon, and continue cooking until bacon is cooked through and leeks are soft, 4-5 minutes more.

Line warm pie shell with sliced ham, overlapping layers as necessary to cover bottom of pie shell completely. Toss cheeses together and sprinkle evenly into pie shell (do not pack cheese), then spread leek and bacon mixture evenly on top of cheese. Whisk together eggs, nutmeg, and pepper until combined well, then whisk in crème fraîche until smooth. Don't be afraid to use the sour cream mixture instead of the crème fraîche; it'll work great as long as you loosen it with that 1/3 cup milk to get the right consistency. I used crème fraîche, but that's only because I made some and had it on hand.

Carefully pour half of custard on top of pie filling, gently moving cheese with a spoon to help custard disperse evenly. Slowly add remaining custard in same manner. Cover pie loosely with foil, gently folding edges over crust (keep foil from touching top of cheese mixture) and transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake until center of filling is puffed and set (center will be slightly wobbly but not liquid), about 1 1/4 hours (75 minutes.) Cool on a rack at least 20 to 30 minutes before serving (filling will continue to set as it cools). Serve warm or at room temperature.

I made this the night before, then brought it to room temperature, then reheated it in a 350˚F oven for 15-20 minutes, covered loosely with foil.

1 comment:

Mom said...

I bet every college student wishes you were there theory teacher!