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Bacon and Leek Quiche

Quiche may well be the most versatile brunch dish. Rich with eggy custard and encased in a buttery crust, it can be made with a seemingly endless variety of herbs, meats, cheeses and vegetables. It can also be served hot or at room temperature, making it an ideal choice when you have other dishes on the menu.

Ingredients:

  • Single-crust flaky pastry dough
  • 4 thick slices Applewood-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 small leeks, white and pale green parts, chopped
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

Directions:

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. (If the dough is chilled hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes until it begins to soften before rolling it out.) Roll out into a round about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, gently fitting the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Using scissors or a small knife, trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhanging dough over and into the pan, pressing it firmly against the dough on the sides of the pan; the dough should be doubly thick at the sides and rise about 1/8 inch above the pan rim. Line the dough with a piece of aluminum foil and freeze for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F. Place the dough-lined pan on a baking sheet and fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the dough is set and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a frying pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour out the fat and wipe the pan clean with paper towels. Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Remove the baking sheet with the tart pan from the oven. Remove the foil and weights. In a bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg until combined. Scatter the leeks, bacon, and Gruyère evenly in the pastry shell. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the shell. Return to the oven and bake until the filling is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve. Serves 6.

Variation: Instead of bacon, leeks and Gruyère, make a ham, shallot and cheddar quiche. To make the filling, cook 1 cup chopped ham and 1/3 cup chopped shallots in 1 Tbs. unsalted butter over medium heat until the shallots are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Replace the Gruyère with cheddar cheese.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).