Clearly, The Brooklyn Paper has gone hog wild — so how could I refuse to offer the best savory pork recipe on the Sweet Melissa menu: Quiche Lorraine.
There are a few basic components that make this savory tart so special: a buttery crust, a light but decadent egg custard, deeply nutty Gruyere, and earthy sweet caramelized onions.
But there’s only one ingredient that brings it all together: bacon.
I tried the slab bacon from Staubitz Meat Market and Esposito’s Jersey Pork Store, both on Court Street — they were equally delicious (after all, we are talking about bacon here!), and the pork’s sweet smoke perfumed the custard in a way that nothing else simply can.
Quiche Lorraine is the very first savory item that I put on Sweet Melissa’s opening menu almost 11 years, and remains our most popular dish today. Enjoy!
Makes one quiche
Pre-baked 9-inch flaky pastry crust (see recipe below)
1 slice slab bacon, 1/2-inch thick (approximately 1/4 pound)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stem
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (about seven swipes across the microplane)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
Center a rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the bacon into quarter-inch lardons. In a small saute pan over medium low heat, slowly cook the bacon until some of the fat is rendered and the bacon begins to turn golden. Do not make the bacon too crispy or it will be hard in the quiche.
Reserve the bacon fat, and set the bacon aside to drain on a paper towel.
Over medium low heat, gently cook the onion in two tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat. Season the onions with a salt and pepper, and cook slowly until the onions are caramelized, but not dry. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, salt, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, cream and milk.
Place the pre-baked pie crust on a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle the prepared bacon evenly over crust.
Spread the onions over the bacon. Sprinkle thyme leaves over the onions and then add the cheese over the thyme. Pour the custard over.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the custard is set and the quiche is golden brown.
Let cool to warm before slicing.
Flaky pastry shell
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Add the butter pieces, tossing with your fingers to coat each cube in the flour. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of medium peas.
Sprinkle six tablespoons of the water over the mixture and toss with a fork. The dough should hold together when you squeeze it in your hand. If it is too dry, add the rest of the water (or more if absolutely necessary).
Turn dough out onto your work surface. Pat it together into one piece. Divide the dough into two equal parts, flatten each into a round disk, and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before rolling. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness and fit into the pie plate. Fold the edges under and crimp as desired. Refrigerate an additional 30 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and then fill with pie weights (dried lentils work). Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.
Melissa Murphy is the chef/owner of Sweet Melissa Patisserie [175 Seventh Ave., between First and Second streets in Park Slope, (718) 502-9153; 276 Court St., between Butler and Douglass streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 855-3410]. Full menu at www.sweetmelissapatisserie.com.
Makes two crusts