30 March 2012

Heston Blumenthal's Quiche Lorraine

This is one of the recipes from the Heston Blumenthal newspaper pullout I was so snooty about and then wanted to make everything from it. I've made quiche's before and they are very satisfying but my god this one was a faff to do. Luckily I got so overexcited about the prospect of a picnic that I wanted to be all prepared ahead of time so glanced at this recipe the day before. Just as well as not only does he suggest making it a day ahead but you need a whole day to make it (this includes time waiting for pasty to chill and sitting on the kitchen steps feeling slightly weepy about how long it takes (I've never sweated onions for an hour before).

I would say it was really worth it as it is absolutely delicious when it's done. I'm not sure I'd follow the pastry bit again though. I think maybe I'd just do my usual pastry and Heston's filling. Still absolutely worth a try and if you can make it ahead then it will definitely be an impressive 'quick' kitchen lunch for your friends with a really lovely, balsamicy salad.

I've put his recipe down here exactly as it is - if you are a seasoned quiche maker you probably can just use his filling ideas and go from there.

Quiche Lorraine

Serves 6-8

For the pastry:
230g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
25g egg, lightly beaten (about 1/2 large egg)

For the filling:
40g unsalted butter
4 large onions, peeled and finely sliced
200g bacon lardons
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
300g whipping cream
40g grated Emmental cheese
40g grated Gruyere cheese
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Now I followed this recipe pretty religiously, I even used the unsalted butter, but I used black pepper instead of white. You will need a 20cm, loose based tart tin and it's easier to make the pastry in a mixer. Heston uses all the technical bits on his but I have a magimix so I just used the normal blade and it was fine.

First make the pastry...
1. In a mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment if you have such a thing_ combine the flour, salt and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Change to the hook attachment (if you have one) and slowly add 30g cold tap water and the egg. Continue mixing until a smooth dough is formed.

3. Shape the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Pastry dough

For the filling...
4. Melt the butter in a wide-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and saute the onions until soft and golden in colour, stirring occasionally to prevent the onions catching on the bottom. This will take at least and hour. Drain the onions of any excess butter when cooked.

5. Fry lardons over a low heat until just cooked but not coloured. Drain off any liquid and discard.

6. Place the pasty between two sheets of baking parchment and roll out to a 2mm thickness. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

7. Pre heat the oven to 180C. Line a 20cm tart tin with pastry, then prick the base all overe with a fork. Place tin in freezer for 10 mins.

Lined pastry tin
8. Cut a large circle of baking parchment and scrunch up. Lay it in a chilled pastry case an fill with bakin beans or coins.

9. Place case in oven for 30 minutes, then remove beans or coins and parchment. Return case to oven and bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.

10. Remove tart case from oven and cool a little, then, using a sharp knife,, cut excess pastry from around the top of the tin. Reduce oven to 120C

11. Mix eggs with cream in a saucepan, then add cooked onions, lardons and cheeses. Season with salt, white pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Place pan over a medium heat and bring mixture to 63C (this took about 10 minutes).

12. Make sure the case is still warm when filling. Fill case with egg mixture and ensure the onions are evenly spread out. Return to oven for approximately 40 minutes. When temperature of the quiche filling reaches 70C, remove from the oven (I waited til it was slightly golden on top).

13. Cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, then refrigerate overnight. Bring back to room temperature or warm in an oven preheated to 150C for five mins before serving.

It looked less anaemic in real life


  1. I actually feel kind of guilty for eating this now that I've heard about the process. I'm also no fan of Heston and his unfunny experiments. BUT this was the finest quiche I've ever had. Rich, delicious, melting... I could go on. Highly recommended if you get someone else to cook it!

  2. Hi Corinna - just a question re the cream. What type was it? Thickened cream, or pure cream? If pure, then was it the runny or thick sort? The different types of cream we have here do my head in :)

  3. Hi Jane - whipping cream is like a strange middle cream we have in the UK that's somewhere between single and double cream. It is runny. Where are you based - I'll try and find something similar for you. xx


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