This Quiche Lorraine is sumptuously rich and decadent. Made with cream, packed with bacon and exceptionally cheesy, it may just be the ultimate cheese and bacon quiche. The recipe offers a crisp gluten free almond shortcrust pastry base. However, any good shortcrust pastry recipe (gluten free or not) is good.
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What is Quiche Lorraine?
Quiche Lorraine is considered to be a classic of French savoury pastry. Essentially it is a cheese and bacon tart with a filling made using a savoury cream and egg custard. Sadly, its reputation has been seriously blighted by cheap mass production. Indeed, for the most part, packaged cheese and bacon quiche that you find in the supermarket chiller remains an endless disappointment.
In this post, I share the secrets to making a Quiche Lorraine that will make your taste-buds applaud. Made with a perfect balance of cream and eggs, it is packed with bacon and exceptionally cheesy. For the gluten-avoiders amongst us, I have offered a recipe for my favourite gluten free almond pastry. Crisp and flavoursome, this particular shortcrust makes a wonderful complementary base for this delicious pie.
Of course, if you are not gluten free, then it is fine to use any other pastry recipe that you’re familiar with. Other than the ingredients and basic mixing, the processes for preparation and baking are the same.
Cheddar or Gruyère? Bacon or Lardons?
Search the internet and you will find a few variations of Quiche Lorraine. Although it remains a cheese and bacon quiche, you can opt to use slightly different ingredients as you prefer.
When it comes to cheese, most recipes use either Cheddar or Gruyère. It is simply a matter of personal choice. Indeed, you could use any other similar hard, melty cheese. I have enjoyed many a variation and all have tasted fabulous. The recipe posted here however uses Mature Cheddar, because for the perfect Quiche Lorraine, you want something strong and notable. If you want to use Gruyere, you will also find a separate Cheddar, Gruyère & Bacon Quiche on Gluten Free Alchemist.
Equally, the bacon used is up to you. Smoked or unsmoked, streaky or back. Even Lardons are a straight substitute. It really doesn’t matter as long as it is characteristically salty and makes your mouth water.
What eggs make the best Quiche Lorraine?
Eggs are critical to the quiche setting, but also bring a richness to the custard which can be enhanced by the choice of eggs used. It goes without saying that the eggs should be as fresh as possible and should also be large. However, using Free Range eggs will also take your quiche higher. The yolks are generally larger and more enriched and that will translate into quality on the plate.
But for a truly sumptuous quiche, why not go one stage further and use a goose egg? One medium to large goose egg is equivalent to three large hens eggs. Seriously. If you have ever seen the size and colour of a goose egg yolk, you will know immediately why they make the most incredible quiche.
To make the most of goose egg season (which in the UK runs from about February to mid-June), you will probably need to visit your local farm shops and markets. These are not eggs that you will find in the average supermarket. But they are more than worth the search.
Why use cream to make Cheese and Bacon quiche?
A good quiche should be wantonly thick and silkily decadent and creamy. If you want the ultimate Quiche Lorraine, milk simply won’t cut it. It’s just too watery and light. So I make mine with a good portion of cream… specifically double cream. It may feel lavish, but perfection demands the boat be pushed out from time to time. Trust me on this one… the cream counts!
And it should be whisked. Whisking the eggs with the cream will add a light velvetyness to the filling which will transport you to somewhere way beyond the average picnic.
Handling Gluten Free Pastry
If you are new to making gluten free pastry, there are a couple of things to be aware of. Firstly… Gluten free shortcrust pastry does not handle like its glutenous counterpart. The lack of gluten means that it can be a fickle and fragile beast and may vary from one making to the next. But don’t let this worry you… What it lacks in robustness it makes up for in easy repair… I’ve given my best advice below on how to manage the likelihood of cracks and even occasional ‘disasters’.
Importantly, when you make this gluten free pastry dough, it should initially feel fairly ‘tacky’. Gluten free flours tend to be quite absorbent and will soon ‘take up’ the liquid. You will learn quickly how the pastry feels. But be very careful not to ‘over-work’. Once it has come together, it’s good to use.
If you are less confident about handling gluten free pastry, I would also recommend rolling onto floured cling film when you are first learning. Once rolled, flip the pastry (still on the cling film and with your hand under it) over onto the pie tin and gradually mould into the tin. If the cling film feels stuck to the pastry at all, chill the pastry with the cling film still attached and peel off later.
Dealing with pastry cracks at the pre-cooked dough stage
When making quiche, particularly one which is to be served with bare pastry and not left in a pie dish, it is important to try and avoid cracks. Cracks result in the filling leaking out…
But like I said… gluten free shortcrust pastry is incredibly forgiving, so if you get cracks when you transfer from rolling to the tin, worry not. Simply check for cracks and holes once transferred and use dampened pieces of rolled pastry as patches. To smooth and level the pastry, simply wet your finger with cold water and gently rub until any gaps are covered and sealed.
For the most part, you will hopefully get only one or two small cracks. But if you have over-worked the dough or it is too dry, you may end up with what feels initially like a disaster. I say with experience… ‘don’t panic’. I’ve literally rolled and stuck the pastry together piece by piece jigsaw-style in the past when this has happened. No-one would ever have known and it may well have been the shortest, crispiest pastry I ever made.
Why Blind Bake?
Blind-baking (which basically means baking the pastry first) is really important when making quiche. Because the filling is so wet, the pastry simply won’t cook unless you have baked it before filling. And let’s be honest… there’s nothing worse than a soggy bottom.
This is your second opportunity to hunt for cracks… Once you have blind-baked your pastry, do another quick check for any obvious leak points. Why? Because I have found an ingenious way to repair…
Whilst the pastry is still hot (and having prepared the custard batter ready to fill), simply grab a pastry brush and brush some of the egg filling over the cracks. Given that the pastry is hot, it should set the filling, at the same time sealing the crack. Alternatively, you can use a little egg white in the same way.
If for any reason the filling layer doesn’t set or you are using the pie case from cold, pop it back in the oven for a few seconds to help it along. And if you aren’t confident the crack is secure, add a little more.
When to eat Quiche Lorraine
Quiche is one of my favourite warm weather lunches. Not only is it a simple and straightforward meal, but it’s very tasty and nutritious. Easy to cut and transport, it’s also perfect for picnics, lunch boxes and eating al fresco. Serve with salad and new potatoes or just pick up a piece and scoff.
In addition to Quiche Lorraine, we also have a number of other quiches on Gluten Free Alchemist. Why not try our Chicken, Squash and Gruyère Quiche? We also have a fab Roast Dinner Quiche which is a great way to use up Sunday leftovers. And also a seasonal English Stilton & Asparagus Quiche.
Equipment Essentials & Recommendations
To make the ultimate Quiche Lorraine a few kitchen items are needed :
- You will need a pie tin or tins. I use a Masterclass loose-bottomed tin like the one linked. Actually, I have a range of sizes and sometimes make one large 9-10 inch quiche and sometimes make smaller ones. Just pick the size that suits you best. Or alternatively, use a pie tin that doubles as a serving dish.
- As with most recipes, you’ll need some kitchen scales. I always weigh my liquids as well as the solid ingredients. For the milk and cream used in this recipe 1ml = 1g.
- A large and small mixing bowl are needed. For making and pouring the quiche filling, I use these Joseph Joseph bowls. They are absolutely perfect because they have a built-in egg cracker and a pouring spout!
- If you think you will bake a lot of pastry and haven’t got any ceramic Baking Beans, then I would recommend you invest. Although you can use dried pulses, beans and rice as an alternative, they are simply not as heavy or effective.
- A good kitchen whisk is useful for many recipes and if you want a silky smooth custard for your quiche, it needs a good beating. I use and love my hand-held K-Mix, which is also perfect for bread-making!
- And lastly… You’ll definitely need a rolling pin. Use whatever type you find easiest, although my wisdom is this… I’ve tried every new-fangled rolling pin on the market… When it comes to gluten free pastry, I still always resort to my trusty old traditional wooden pin.
Made my ultimate Quiche Lorraine?
As always, I love to hear your thoughts on my recipes… Leave comment, ping me an email or connect over social media. It will absolutely make my day! x
Quiche Lorraine – Cheese & Bacon Quiche with gluten free Almond Pastry
- 1 x 10 inch (25 cm) pie tin (loose-bottomed or serving) or 2 x 6-7 inch tins
- Kitchen scales
- measuring spoons
- sharp vegetable knife
- cheese grater
- Mixing bowls
- Small saucepan
- oven + hob
- kitchen paper
- flat knife/spatula
- whisk (hand or electric)
- cling film (opt)
- baking paper
- Rolling Pin
- baking beans (or alternative)
- pastry brush
- Baking tray
Gluten Free Almond Pastry
- 110 g brown rice flour fine
- 50 g ground almonds almond meal
- 40 g corn flour (starch)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 50 g unsalted butter cold & cubed
- 50 g margarine or lard cold & cubed
- 1 large egg UK large
- 2 tbsp very cold water
- 200 g bacon or lardons streaky or back bacon (cut into small pieces)
- 110 g mature cheddar cheese grated
- 3 large eggs UK large OR 1 goose egg (see weight NOTES)
- 250 ml double cream = 250g
- 50 ml milk = 50g
- handful fresh parsley fine chopped (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 1 tsp dried thyme or a little chopped fresh
- large grind black pepper fresh ground
- salt to taste
Almond Pastry – By Hand
- Weigh the flours, almonds, xanthan gum and salt into a large bowl and stir together.
- Rub the butter and margarine/lard into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of the water and then pour into the crumb mixture.
- Work the wet ingredients into the crumb mixture using a table knife or spatula until it begins to clump together.
- Add the rest of the water little by little to get a moist dough consistency. You will likely need most or all of it. The dough needs to be on the wetter side as the flours will absorb moisture.
- Now bring the dough together with your hands and press into a ball. Knead briefly to ensure ingredients are fully amalgamated. No need to chill.
Almond Pastry – alternative food processor method
- Weigh the flours, almonds, xanthan gum and salt into the food processor bowl and pulse briefly to mix together and remove any lumps.
- Add the cubed butter and margarine/lard and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of the water and then pour into the food processor with the crumb mixture.
- Turn the processor on and mix until the ingredients start to form a smooth dough.
- Poke the dough with your finger to check the consistency and add the rest of the water in 2 stages as needed to get a moist dough consistency. You will likely need most or all of it. The dough needs to be on the wetter side as the flours will absorb moisture.
- The dough will not require any further kneading. No need to chill.
To Make the Pie Base
- Lay down and lightly flour (with corn starch/flour) either a large sheet of cling film or baking paper (see NOTES).
- If making a single quiche, place all the pastry on top of the floured surface, or divide into separate pieces if making more than one to avoid over-working the pastry. Flatten slightly and lightly flour the top.
- Roll the pastry out straightaway (do not chill in the fridge) to a thickness of 2 to 3 mm, checking the shape as you roll to ensure it will fit the tin (including the sides).
- Carefully lift the pastry with the support of the rolling pin and lay over the flan tin (or use the cling film-flip method as in the NOTES). Working quickly, ease the pastry into the base, gently moulding into the sides of the tin. Try and avoid cracking the pastry too much, but don't worry if it does crack as gluten free pastry is very forgiving and can be easily 'patched'.
- Trim the pastry edge flush with the top of the tin, using a sharp knife.
- Carefully examine the pastry base for any cracks or holes. If there are any, use the trimmed, remains to ‘repair’
- To repair : Roll and trim a piece of pastry dough to rough size, and using cold water, dampen both the area around the crack/hole and the down-side of the ‘patch’ and gently press together, smoothing the edges with a finger dipped in water to seal and tidy. This is particularly important if you are making the quiche in a potentially-leaky tin.
Chill the pastry base
- Place the prepared flan pastry in the fridge for half an hour to chill prior to baking.
- While chilling, pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 5.
Blind-Bake the Pastry Cases
- Scrunch and then flatten a piece of baking paper large enough and lay inside the flan case(s). Then fill the pastry base with baking beans.
- Bake the pastry with the baking beans for 10 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and remove the baking beans (lifting them on the baking paper and carefully pouring into a heat-proof container to cool). Discard the baking paper.
- Place the uncovered pastry base(s) back in the oven for a further 7 to 10 minutes, checking they are dry but do not burn.
- While the pastry base is cooking, prepare the filling.
Cheese & Bacon Quiche Filling – Preparation
- In a small non-stick saucepan/frying pan, gently cook the chopped bacon/lardons, stirring frequently until golden brown but not crispy.
- Once cooked, set aside on some kitchen towel to drain any excess oil.
- Grate the cheese.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, herbs and seasoning together until well combined and airy.
- When the pastry cases are cooked, turn the oven down to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Re-examine for any obvious cracks where the filling may leak. TIP : If you find any cracks, use a pastry brush to brush a little of the egg mixture (or some extra egg-white) over the crack and let the heat from the hot pastry set and seal (or place back in the oven to set for a few seconds).
Fill and Cook the Quiche
- Before filling (if you are using a pie tin that has a loose bottom), place the tin onto a baking tray in case it leaks.
- Sprinkle the bacon in an even layer at the base of the case, followed by a layer of grated cheese (reserving a small amount of cheese to sprinkle on the top).
- Give the cream-egg mixture a final quick whisk and pour over the top of the bacon and cheese.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top.
- Bake immediately for about 30 minutes, until the top is firm, puffed up and set and there is no significant ‘wobble’. The puff will sink when the quiche cools.
- Remove from the oven and cool slightly before taking out of the tin. Eat warm or cold.