For magnificently rich flavors and super-chic simplicity, unleash this spicy bacon, egg, and cheese quiche. It has a wonderful and rather unusual pastry crust that partners perfectly with the filling of smoked bacon, strong cheddar, serrano peppers, eggs, and heavy cream.
Our version of this French classic is so astonishingly good that it might banish any negative thoughts you may have about quiche. Forever.
I mention that due to some of the so-called quiches I’ve encountered in the past. They were bad imitations of the real thing, with their sadly soggy pastry crusts and fillings that didn’t taste of, well, anything, really.
Often served at picnics, these imposters would crumble apart in your hand and (thankfully) fall onto the grass and be deemed uneatable.
This one’s nothing at all like that. It’s a keeper, a quiche you can be proud of and will hopefully be keen to make and relish again and again.
The magnificent flavors owe a lot to carefully chosen cheese and bacon
To create the outstanding tastes in your quiche’s filling, it’s definitely worthwhile choosing your cheese and bacon with some care.
Your choice matters because the eggs and cream in the filling are great at mellowing other flavors. So, to compensate for the fact that they’re so effective at softening and rounding the character of their companion ingredients, you need to be using really full-flavored cheese and seriously tasty bacon.
Bearing that in mind, I used a rich, sharp, 18-month matured cheddar, and a well-fatted, rindless streaky (belly) bacon with a darkish pink color in the meat, and a strong, smoky aroma.
The secret to the outstanding pastry crust? It’s made with chickpea flour
This is a strong, easily made pastry that you don’t even have to roll.
It’s a simple mix of chickpea flour, butter, water, and salt. Once you’ve combined the ingredients into a ball of dough, you just press it into place in a fairly shallow, round baking dish.
This might be the quickest, easiest pastry I’ve ever made, but its texture makes it the perfect base for your quiche. It’s a robust pastry with plenty of body, so it’s not naturally absorbent. That means you won’t end up with a soggy base to your quiche. That’s the first big bonus.
The second bonus it that this pastry produces a firm crust around its edges that’s delightfully crisp but doesn’t fall apart as soon as you touch it.
And then there’s its flavor. The combo of chickpea flour and butter gives this pastry a meltingly rich nuttiness that works so well with the big, rich tastes of the filling.
There’s also a little trick that helps to prevent the pastry from turning soggy. Brush it lightly all over with some egg white, then bake the pastry in its dish for five minutes. This creates a slightly glazed seal on the pastry’s surface before you add the filling and finish baking your quiche.
I baked my mine until the exposed rim of the crust turned a dark golden color. I then let it cool to a little above room temperature before serving it. That pastry didn’t crack and crumble as I cut it, and the dark baking had given the rim a lovely crunch and boosted its nutty, buttery savor.
Just like the pastry, the serrano peppers make a big difference
Thinly sliced, fresh green serrano peppers bring in a gentle, bright burn to our quiche. Their heat is very obviously there, but it’s not at all dominating, and it doesn’t distract from the depth of the other flavors.
In fact, the serranos have the opposite effect. They highlight the richness of the cream and eggs, and they emphasize the contrasting flavors of the cheese and bacon.
Now, there are some people who think that quiche-making should follow a set of strict rules. They’d probably be a bit shocked by the presence of chili peppers. But in our quiche, they really accentuate the harmony between all of the filling’s bold flavors.
Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:
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- Chili Buttered Eggs, Roasted Ratatouille, Napoletana Sauce: This is a fabulous brunch eggs recipe, chock full of classic (and bold) flavors.
- Anda Bhurji — Spicy Brunch Eggs: The simplest way to think of this recipe is Indian-style scrambled eggs. But it’s so much more.
Bacon, Egg, And Cheese Quiche with Serrano Peppers
For the chickpea pastry crust – to fit a 9-inch pie dish
For the filling
- 2 serrano peppers sliced into 1/8-inch discs, seeds and all
- 8 ounces strong cheddar cheese grated
- 5 ounces rindless, smoked streaky bacon cut into ¼-inch dice. The fat-to-meat ration on the bacon I used was about 50/50. That’s grand because there’s so much gorgeous flavor in that fat.
- 4 extra-large free-range eggs Beat the eggs but keep the white of one egg aside – that’s important because you’ll use the white of one egg to glaze your pastry before you bake it.
- 1 ½ cups full-fat heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Making the pastry dough
- Use a mixing bowl that’s easily large enough to hold all the pastry’s ingredients.
- Add the chickpea flour, salt, and cold, diced butter to the bowl. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour. This will take a few minutes until the butter and flour are completely combined into a slightly crumbly mixture.
- Now stir in the water and keep stirring until you get a well-mixed dough. I used a stout wooden spoon for this and stirred until I could form the dough into a ball that came away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. That’s it, the dough’s made.
- Cover the ball of dough with plastic wrap and set it in the fridge to chill for 40 minutes. This chilling increases the smoothness of the pastry as it bakes, and also prevents it from shrinking in your pie dish.
- While the pastry’s chilling, you’ll have ample time to make your quiche’s filling and pre-heat your oven to 400F / 200C.
Making the filling
- This begins by crisping the diced bacon. So, set a medium size skillet on to a high heat and let it heat for a minute.
- Stir in the bacon and drop the heat to medium high. You’re now aiming to fry the bacon with a few good stirs so that most of the fat melts and the bacon takes on a good dark color as it crisps. That’ll take about 5 minutes on a medium-high heat.
- Once it’s crisped, tip all the bacon and its fat into a mixing bowl that’s big enough to hold all the rest of your filling’s ingredients. Now stir in the cream, followed by the serrano peppers, cheese, salt, and pepper. Give the bowl a good stir, add the beaten eggs and stir the mix until everything’s thoroughly combined.
Par-baking the pastry crust
- Coat the inside of your pie dish with a teaspoon of butter. I used my fingers to do this, making sure to get a thin, even coating of butter all over the inside of the dish. This stops the pastry from sticking to the dish as it bakes.
- Now use your fingers to press your chilled dough into the pie dish in an even layer about 1/3-inch thick. You want the pastry to reach up to the top of the sides of your dish. Take a little care so that you get a fairly flat, even layer of pastry that fills the dish.
- When you’re happy with that layer, brush all the surface with a light coating of the egg white you set aside. I probably used about two-thirds of one white and stirred the rest into the filling mixture.
- Once your oven has reached 400F /200C, bake the still-empty crust for 5 minutes, and then remove the dish from the oven. The egg white will have added a glossy white, sealing sheen to the pastry’s surface – that’s grand.
- The pastry may have risen a little in places, so gently push it back down so that it’s lying flat on the base of the pie dish.
- Keep the oven set at 400F /200C because you’re now ready to add the filling and bake your quiche.
Filling, baking, and serving your quiche
- Give the filling a final stir and pour it into the par-baked crust.
- Return your filled quiche to the oven and let it bake at 400F / 200C for 35 minutes. Then remove the quiche and set it aside to cool.
- The filling won’t have set completely after those 35 minutes’ baking, but it will continue to do so as the quiche slowly cools.
- Once your quiche has cooled to a little above room temperature it’s ready for serving.