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Sarah’s Quiche Lorraine is the perfect dish for Easter brunch

Sarah's Quiche Lorraine includes crumbled bacon, whole milk, cream cheese, eggs, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper and onion

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Elegant, rich and delicious, Sarah's Quiche Lorraine is the perfect dish for Easter brunch.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

FARGO — Easter is just around the corner, and this week, I am sharing my version of the classic Quiche Lorraine. Layers of smoky bacon, lightly caramelized onion and nutty-flavored cheese are enveloped in a lush and silky egg custard with a buttery, flaky crust holding it all together. Elegant, rich and delicious, this quiche is the perfect dish for Easter brunch.

Despite its inherent elegance, quiche is a surprisingly simple dish to make. I use one disk of my All-Butter Pie Crust for the base, and blind bake it in a 9-inch pie pan before adding the filling. This step helps to prevent the dreaded soggy bottom, and I also brush the hot crust with beaten egg whites as soon as I take it out of the oven for added insurance.

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Sarah's Quiche Lorraine recipe includes crumbled bacon, whole milk, cream cheese, eggs, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper and onion.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Quiche is wonderfully versatile, and while bacon and nutmeg are traditionally the only flavor add-ins of a French quiche Lorraine, my version also includes onion, as well as Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses (and an optional dash of Tabasco sauce).

I cook the bacon first to render its fat, then I transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate and break it into bits once it has cooled. I drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and use that to sauté the onions over medium-low heat until they are lightly caramelized. This step softens their bite and adds a lovely touch of sweetness to the dish.

I have always diced the onion when making quiche Lorraine, but as I was researching for this column, I came across several recipes from lofty food publications that insisted they should be thinly sliced, instead. So, I gave that a try when I made the quiche for this week’s photo shoot. While the taste was still sensational, my family and I agreed that we prefer the texture of the diced onions, which tend to melt into the custard better.

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Smoky bacon bits and lightly caramelized onions are layered in a pre-baked pie crust to form the base of the quiche.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Just like my Savory Vegetable Quiche and Three-Cheese Ham and Spinach Quiche recipes, the custard base for this recipe features a blend of cream cheese, eggs and whole milk to create a wonderfully smooth and creamy filling. Quiche is a great option when you need a dish that can be prepared in advance. You can make the custard and refrigerate it for up to three days before using, and the baked quiche can be frozen for up to three months.

To assemble the quiche, start with a layer of half of the bacon crumbles and then top that with the caramelized onions. The remaining bacon bits are added next, followed by a generous amount of shredded Gruyere cheese and grated Parmesan. Finally, I pour the egg custard over it all and bake the quiche at 425 degrees until it is golden brown with just a slight jiggle in the center.

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The quiche is topped with a generous amount of freshly shredded Gruyere cheese.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

If you are not up to baking this spring, my Quiche Lorraine is available to order on my Easter SarahBakes menu , which also features a variety of brunch pastries as well as my signature Bespoke Buttercream Sugar Cookies. For my fellow home cooks and bakers, I am always happy to share my recipes with you and I wish everyone a happy and delicious Easter season.

Sarah’s Quiche Lorraine

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

Pastry for a 9-inch pie plate
6 strips bacon
1 medium onion, diced or thinly sliced
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Tabasco sauce, to taste (optional)

To prebake the pie crust:

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Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pie crust, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. To keep the crust from shrinking as it bakes, let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line the pie crust with a layer of parchment paper and fill with pie weights (rice or dried beans also work), making sure to distribute evenly along the bottom and the sides.

Bake the crust until the edges start to brown, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 375. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights from the pan.

Cover the edges of the crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Return the crust to the oven and bake until the bottom and sides begin to turn a light, golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes (times will vary depending on your oven).

Remove crust from oven and use a pastry brush immediately to coat the bottom and sides with the beaten egg white. This will seal the crust and prevent weeping once the quiche is baked.

Let pie crust cool completely before using. Prebaked pie crust may be covered in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

To assemble and bake the quiche:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a plate with a paper towel.

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Cook the bacon until crisp but not crunchy. Remove the bacon from the pan and place it on the paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Cook the onion in the remaining fat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until they are soft and just lightly caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the onions to a plate and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, use a stand or handheld mixer to beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating hard after each addition until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the whole milk, nutmeg, Tabasco (optional) salt and pepper and beat on medium-low speed until well combined.

Break the cooked bacon into crumbles and fill the cooled pie crust with half of the pieces. Cover with the cooked onions, followed by the remaining bacon bits.

Distribute the Gruyere cheese in an even layer atop the bacon, followed by the Parmesan cheese. Add the egg mixture and gently shake the pan to evenly distribute.

Cover the edges of the crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning — this can be done at the start or anytime throughout the baking process.

Bake until the top of the quiche is golden brown, and the center has just a slight jiggle, about 28 to 32 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Lush and creamy, Sarah's Quiche Lorraine is studded with smoky bacon bits and caramelized onions.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

To store:

Cover the quiche in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to five days.

To freeze:

Cover with a layer of plastic wrap and place the quiche in a plastic freezer bag — can be frozen for up to three months. To reheat, remove the plastic and place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top (there is no need to thaw before reheating). Bake at 375 degrees until the center is hot, about 45 to 55 minutes. You can also freeze individual slices for easy reheating.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.
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