Recipe Review

If You’re a Quiche Purist, Try Julia Child’s Quiche Lorraine

published Apr 21, 2022
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Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Bachrach/GettyImages

When I think of classic French cooking, my mind inevitably turns to Julia Child. I know this is exceedingly American of me, but footage of Child charismatically making coq au vin and soufflé are burned into my brain. When her recipe for quiche Lorraine came up during a recent search, I knew I had to try it.

The recipe appears in Child’s classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and she makes it on an episode of The French Chef. Child describes it as “fancy but it’s also fast and foolproof,” and that is truly music to my ears.

The first thing I noticed about Child’s recipe was the size. It’s based in an 8- or 9-inch tart pan rather than a pie pan, making it a rather modestly sized quiche. Then I noticed that it doesn’t contain any onions or cheese — two ingredients that weren’t added until quiche Lorraine’s later days. Plus, the bacon is cooked in water (you read that right, water) before being crisped and added to the quiche.

Without the extra bells and whistles, Julia Child’s quiche Lorraine recipe feels like a restrained but authentic version of the dish. I couldn’t wait to find out if my modern palate would be satisfied or left wanting.

Credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Bachrach/GettyImages

How to Make Julia Child’s Quiche Lorraine

Start by making a single all-butter pie crust, chilling as needed, then roll it out and press it into an 8- or 9-inch tart pie, trimming as needed. Line the crust with greased parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are starting to brown, then remove the weights and parchment and bake a few minutes more. In a pinch, blind bake a store-bought crust — even Julia Child said it’s OK!

To make the filling, heat an inch or so of water in a tall skillet or wok. Chop the bacon. Once simmering, add the bacon and cook for about five minutes. Blanching helps to remove some of the excess fat from the bacon along with some of the smokiness. Retrieve the bacon and rinse with cool water, then dry. Add to a dry skillet and quickly crisp.

Add the bacon to the parbaked crust. Whisk together eggs, cream, salt, nutmeg, and pepper and pour it over the top. Dot the top with a tablespoon or two of butter divided into pea-sized pieces. Bake until puffed, lightly browned, and set in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and serve.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Julia Child’s Quiche Lorraine

Even though I trust Julia Child implicitly, I must admit I had my doubts. Compared to modern American quiches, this quiche Lorraine seemed practically plain. It features just a few ingredients and looks a bit wimpy next to a full-sized pie pan quiche.

That being said, I loved this recipe. If you can adjust your expectations from quiche Lorraine being an egg pie packed to the brim with bacon, onions, and cheese, then give this recipe a try. It’s simple but still delicious, restrained but flavorful. The texture is silky and uninterrupted by onions and cheese, almost like a savory flan infused with bacon flavor. It’s a truly sophisticated quiche and, especially if you use a store-bought crust, it’s easy. You’d think I would have learned to just trust Child by now, but consider this a lesson learned.

That being said, I’m not sure if this quiche is a guaranteed hit with anyone and everyone. When most people hear the words “quiche Lorraine,” they think bacon, onions, and cheese. While one out of three ain’t bad, the lack of onions and cheese might be unforgivable for some.

A Few Tips If You’re Making Julia Child’s Quiche Lorraine

1. Skip blanching the bacon. While simmering bacon in water will cook it faster, it also makes an annoying mess. What exactly am I supposed to do with leftover bacon water with fat floating on the top? I ended up leaving it to cool completely and scooping the fat off the top. It was… irritating. Next time I’ll just cook the bacon in a dry pan like usual.

2. Add cheese. While cheese is certainly not necessary, it is also delicious. I recommend letting the quiche cook halfway, then gently sprinkling a little cheese on top. That way the custard will still bake up silky-smooth and then have a delicious cheesy layer on top.

3. Use a cake pan. If you don’t have a tart pan, use an 8-inch cake pan instead. It won’t be quite as neat, but it will still bake up crisp.

Rating: 9/10