This is hands down, my personal favorite breakfast that Jeff makes! And it has a funny, first-time-innkeeper history… We serve our quiche without a traditional crust. In all honesty, that’s because we couldn’t make the crust!
Last summer, when we arrived at Northern Comfort, Pam and Kathy, the previous innkeepers, graciously stayed around for a few weeks, showing us the ropes of innkeeping, the quirks of the farm and most importantly… sharing recipes.
I can’t recall why, now, but this quiche Lorraine was the first recipe we tried that wasn’t tested and approved from Kathy’s recipe file. I think in part we wanted to try something on our own. I also don’t remember if we did a test run of the recipe, but knowing us and our hectic schedule, we likely did not.
We’ve learned a lot since then.
I’ve mentioned before that my family has an over-thirty-year tradition of baking apple pies in the fall. A lot of apple pies, like, three bushels worth in one day, which is about 55 pies. As a result, I’m quite capable of making a pie crust. I usually use the Betty Crocker standard recipe (but, oh, so much better with lard!) So when it came to our first time serving quiche, I threw together a batch of pie crust the night before breakfast service. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge.
Bright and early the next morning I got up, rolled it out and stuck the empty crust in the oven to bake. While Jeff does most of the breakfast prep, I do certain things, pie crust making being on my list of responsibilities. I’d promised him I’d have a cooled crust, ready for filling by 8 a.m. for him to fill with delicious eggs, bacon, cheese, and onions for the guests.
I was a bit anxious, so I got up extra early. The crust rolled out like a dream. It was the first time I’d chilled a crust, and I reflected on the nature of cooled fats and the resulting easy to use flaky crust. I stuck the crust in the oven, set the timer — for an empty shell, it’s not very long, maybe 10 mintutes — and went on with morning chores.
When the timer went off and I pulled out the crust, I wasn’t expecting any trouble. I’ve made pie crusts one million times. Ok, maybe hundreds of times. So you can imagine my surprise when I pulled out the pan and saw the crust had collapsed, slid down the edges and was looking a bit like it’d been caught with its crust-pants down.
Disgusted, I tossed that crust, found another pan and fished out the frozen, pre-prepared pie crust dough Kathy had left in the freezer. I’m not going to lie, I’d felt a bit smug when I saw that. I’ve made a million (ok, maybe hundreds) of crusts. I don’t need to resort to store-bought pie crust.
Turns out Kathy is a fine planner, and I was happy as our farm cat sunning in a window sill to have a backup store-bought crust. I unfolded, set in the new pie pan and made sure to crimp super well, wrapping around the edges of the pan. THIS crust wasn’t going to fail.
It did of course. Same story as the first crust — the sides collapsed during the baking time and settled in a lumpy, wrinkled, pile at the bottom of the pan. It wasn’t useable.
And it was also almost time to stick the quiche in the oven, or our guests would be eating leftover Chinese food and plain yogurt for breakfast.
A quick internet search later, and we found recipes to compare what we had prepped for (sauteed bacon and onions) with crustless quiche recipes. I can’t remember exactly the difference in recipes, but the mix of eggs and cream was a bit different with no crust. We threw everything together, stuck it in the oven, tapped our toes and chewed fingernails for 45 minutes.
It ended up being an amazing breakfast. Since I try to stay away from unnecessary carbs, I was thrilled to find something so tasty that skipped the crust. And our guests were happy and didn’t even know about the two-failed-crust-last-minute-crazed-recipe-search.
And we learned some valuable lessons.
- After conferring with prior-innkeeper Kathy, I learned that crusts that are cold tend to slide down in the pan. While I had made millions (ok, hundreds) of crusts, I’d never stuck in the freezer before. Both my home-made batch AND the follow up store-bought brand had been very cold when I stuck in the pan. Going forward, all crusts will be room temp when they head to the oven.
- Always. Practice. We’ve learned this lesson slowly over the past year. When looking for new recipes, always, always do a test run if you are planning on serving for guests when scheduling matters.
- Treat internet recipes with caution — this is an ironic lesson since I’m sharing a recipe today, but we’ve come to really value print cookbooks and a few online sources for recipes over the past year. There are a lot of amazing, lovely, cooking blogs out on the interwebs as well as a bunch of crowd-sourced sites (like allrecipes.com, food.com, and epicurious.com). We’ve found that a lot of the pretty food/recipe blogs have great photos, but the recipes are not tested and frequently it’s difficult to get good results from food blogs. Likewise, the crowdsourced sites, like allrecipes.com depend on a lot on other folks’ tastes and we frequently are amazed at the 5-star recipes on site slike those! Two great online sources are the Cooks Illustrated websites (we pay a $25 a year subscription for access) and most Martha Stewart online recipes have given us great results.
That said, I can assure you that this recipe has made a lot of our guests happy and quiche mornings I will make sure Jeff makes a second pie pan full just for us. It’s a nice brunch recipe because you can do the prep the night before, then just mix together, bake and serve — no having to man the griddle! It’s also great reheated and a few rushed mornings have proven that leftovers are passable cold.
When selecting your ingredients, pay attention to the bacon you choose and your salt levels. In our opinion, the recipe really needs the 1/2 teaspoon salt added in, otherwise, it’s a bit too blah. But certain brands of bacon — particularly the lower priced packages of ends and miscellaneous parts — can be quite salty, so less salt should be added while preparing.
We serve this breakfast with our parmesan potato nests, fruit and side of fresh greens with a bit of vinegar, EVOO and garlic salt.
- 12 oz bacon, sliced and cooked
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 5 eggs
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup heavy cream (ok to sub 1/2'n'1/2)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)
- Chop bacon into very small pieces
- Cook bacon on sauté pan until crispy. Set aside to drain on paper towel. Retain a bit of bacon grease in pan.
- Cook onions in bacon grease until just starting to brown. Turn off burner and let sit.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, cream, flour and mix well.
- Stir in salt, pepper and cheese.
- Add onion and bacon, stir.
- Pour into greased 10 inch pie tin
- Bake at 350 degrees for approximately45 minutes until golden brown and puffed up.
- Remove from oven, garnish with chives.