It’s hard to go wrong with Quiche. It’s the perfect, make-ahead recipe for breakfast, brunch or a light dinner. Maybe in front of a cozy fire in the winter or on the deck with a glass of wine on a balmy summer evening. A little side salad or some fruit and you’re set. While I love just about any Quiche, there is one quiche that is the pinnacle of all Quiche. Or is it Quiches? It’s this Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated version.
If you’ve never had the Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated Version, you’ve been missing out. Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated Version is definitely the best quiche, ever. It’s absolutely, rich, creamy and dreamy, cheesy with the most beautiful light and fluffy texture and flavor you can imagine. It’s the stuff dreams are made. It’s the recipe that’s going to spoil you for all other quiches.
About Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated version:
If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated, you know they’re the people (along with all their varied entities like America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Country, and any others) that extensively test each component of every recipe to get the best possible version. Sometimes they’re a little fussy, but not this recipe. Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated version has a few helpful little tips (and if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself using those techniques in other quiche recipes) and is straightforward and easy to make.
I think what mostly sets the Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated version apart from the other Quiche I’ve made (and I’ve made them for decades, now, since the early 80’s when Quiche had a kind of renaissance. If you’re old enough you might remember the book or the phrase “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.“) is just how creamy and rich this quiche is. I do make other Quiche, still, like this Broccoli, Ham & Cheese Quiche, but this Quiche Lorraine Cooks Illustrated is the Quiche I pull out for those special occasions. Maybe for a holiday weekend or when company is staying overnight, or when asked to bring something for a party or brunch. Quiche can be served warm, room temperature or cold, so it’s ideal.
You’re not limited to just the Quiche Lorraine, though, when you make this recipe. Cook’s Illustrated also gives instructions for Ham and Asparagus and a Crabmeat Quiche, and of course, you can load this same recipe up with all kinds of ingredients, just about any meat/veggie combo you like (just precook the veggies and drain well so they don’t weep and water down the filling.) Quiche is also the solution to all kinds of leftovers since everything basically has to be cooked before it goes in. Umm, holiday ham, anyone?
Making Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated version:
I made a lot of bad Quiches before I came across the Cook’s Illustrated version. As a matter of fact, I remember when I was young I’d pick up a carton of Quiche filling that came from the freezer section and dump it in a frozen pie crust. (And I felt oh, so sophisticated, too!) There’s no need for that – making your own is super easy and I don’t remember how good that carton was, but I know it was pricey!
The key takeaway from Cook’s Illustrated is their method of partially baking (See my post on Blind Baking a Pie Crust) the pie crust and then filling that crust when it’s still warm from the oven. Then just like when you make pumpkin pie, start out at a higher temperature, reduce it when the quiche goes in and that filling turns out beautifully. And just like a pumpkin pie, you will probably need a pie shield in case the crust threatens to darken too much. Have one at the ready or make one. The instructions are in my post on Blind Baking a Pie Crust, linked above. Remove the Quiche when it’s still a bit wobbly in the center. I know, I know, it’s a bit of a trust issue, but trust me (or trust Cook’s Illustrated, lol) it finishes up beautifully.
When I’m making Quiche, I love to double the recipe and put 1/2 of it into a Ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer. It will thaw overnight in the fridge and it’s nice to get the mess out of the way. Plus I usually buy the ingredients on sale so I know I’ll have “sales priced” Quiche whenever I want. (It also gives me more than 2 extra egg whites to work with, see below)
Saving Money on Quiche Lorraine Cook’s Illustrated version:
So watch for sales, especially during pre-Holiday and Holiday weeks, like Thanksgiving and Christmas for great prices on any baking items, and that goes for cream. Check Aldi and Costco, too. Their everyday prices are sometimes better than the grocery store sales prices. Cream, with its high-fat content, keeps for weeks past it’s “buy by” date so I often have some on hand.
Shop well for that cheese. Watch the grocery store specials and coupon deals; grocery store cheeses keep for weeks, unopened and can be frozen. Buy it when it’s cheap and use it as needed. Grocery store cheese has become very competitive with so many newer brands along with the store brands. You’ll likely find specials all through the holiday season.
Bacon is another item that goes on sale almost every holiday, and you’re likely to pay half the normal price. It’s an easy thing to stock up on and toss in the freezer, especially since it takes so little room. I just take my bacon out of the freezer (we’re not big bacon eaters) and slice across the package from top to bottom in strips. The bacon thaws enough to cut with just a few minutes on the counter, and 4 ounces is the same as four strips, 1/4 of the package.
Be sure to check my post on what to watch for on sale over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holiday sales and stock up at a low on many items. And don’t forget about your two extra egg whites. I have a ton of ideas and instructions on how to freeze on my post Over 75 Ways to Use Leftover Egg Whites. My Quiche Lorraine Cooks Illustrated was made February 2012 at $3.41, repriced February 2014 for $3.48. I recently remade in 2019 using holiday sale priced ingredients for $3.75.
Quiche Lorraine Cook's Illustrated version
- 1 pie crust; partially baked, still warm
- 4 ounces bacon; 1/2″ pieces, cooked
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream (see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- pinch ground nutmeg or a few swipes from a microplane
- 4 (1 cup) ounces Gruyère cheese; grated, or substitute Swiss
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and adjust oven rack to the center position. Gently press a square of aluminum foil into the pie shell; evenly distribute 1 cup or 12 ounces of ceramic pie weights over foil (you can also use dried beans). Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering sides of foil and pulling up and out. Be careful – it helps to have a large bowl ready to deposit the foil into.
Have the filling ready when the crust comes out of the oven – you will want to put the ingredients into the WARM pie shell. (If you have a cold shell, put it in the oven for a few minutes to heat.) While the crust is baking, cook bacon as desired: pan, oven or microwave. Try chopping it, then frying it for a quick option.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Distribute cheese and bacon evenly over the bottom of the warm pie crust. Pour in egg mixture to about 1/2 inch below top of crust (you may not use every bit of it – you can place any extra in a small custard cup in a larger container of hot water and bake for about 15 -20 minutes along the Quiche – the timing depends on the amount and the size of the container.)
Turn oven down to 350 degrees. Bake quiche until lightly golden brown and a knife blade inserted about one inch from the edge comes out clean, and center feels set but is still soft like jello, 32 to 35 minutes. A protector for the crust may be necessary if the crimped edge browns too much.
This Quiche will be surprisingly soft when first removed from the oven but will continue to cook and set as it rests. Transfer Quiche to rack to cool, at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- If using other fillings that are bulkier, decrease milk and cream to 3/4 cup.
- Because 1/2 and 1/2 is half milk and half cream, 2 cups may be substituted.
- For Crabmeat Quiche: Reduce milk and cream to 3/4 cup each. Add two tablespoons dry sherry and a pinch of cayenne to custard mixture. Use eight ounces of crab with two tablespoons chopped fresh chives instead of bacon and cheese.
- For Ham and Asparagus Quiche: Blanch 8 spears of asparagus, cut on the bias to one-inch pieces, till tender but still crisp, about two minutes. Reduce cream and milk to 3/4 cup each. Replace bacon and cheese with asparagus and 8 ounces of ham. Ham should be in 1/4″ fine dice.
from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated