Today I decided to make quiche Lorraine for supper. It's been many years since I've made quiche, so many that the boys really don't remember ever eating it. As I splurged on some extra Gruyére cheese a few weeks ago at Sam's Club, which I'd bought for our French onion soup, I shredded up the rest and had enough for four quiches. As quiche doesn't freeze well because of its custard base, you'll want to eat it up within a few days. Good thing because I like it cold or slightly warmed even more than I like it just out of the oven! We gobbled one up for dinner and will enjoy the other two over the next few days: for breakfasts and lunches most likely. The fourth one will go to our friend Anna Hurst tomorrow––she is always making pies for us and it's the least I can do!
I spent many overnights at their old, rambling summer-style house in Fitzwilliam where her daughter Linda and I would camp out on their large sleeping porch and tell ghost stories after sultry days spent swimming and sailing on Laurel Lake. Their home was a warm combination of old antiques, cozy chic, and even a few framed Renoir pastels over the fireplace. In later years, after I moved back to New Hampshire, Hélene held informal salons at her house where she brought together a variety of people. Her Christmas Eve Réveillons were also classic events and for many years we would drop by there before going to the midnight service at our church several towns away.
So this recipe is in honor of Anne Hélene: for having introduced me to two French culinary classics many years ago (and later French bakery treats); for taking us to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on class trips and introducing me to the wonders of art history; for always praising my French accent (honed from having French in school since kindergarten)**; and for giving me As in class, even when I probably didn't deserve them:
Quiche Lorraine from The Joy of Cooking
[Makes one 9" quiche ~ oven to 375 degrees]
• 1 pie crust (I used store-bought: a paté brisée would be just the thing, if time)
• 3 eggs
• 2 cups milk or cream (I used a combo of the two)
• 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch strips and fried
• 1/2 cup of grated Swiss cheese (cheaper than the classic Gruyére, which is a specific regional Swiss cheese)
• 1 Tbsps chopped fresh chives or scallions
• sea salt and fresh-ground pepper
• freshly-grated nutmeg (or a few pinches of it)
Enjoy warm or cold, but let cool a bit before serving as it won't quite be set. Next time I make this I will sauté some shallots and garlic to add to the mixture as I felt it needed a bit of something from the onion family.
You come back when you're ready!
**One of my favorite memories in French class was in language lab: we would all wear head sets and had to "répétez" the French that we heard. It was very auditory and fun but sometimes I would say other things, too, or goof around. Of course, the teacher could randomly listen in to our pronunciations. 'Madame' would often say, in a sweet, lilting voice, "Caffee?" (as she didn't pronounce her "th" very well), "That's enough now!"