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Ham and Cheese Quiche with Crème Fraîche and Chives

Smoked ham and Gruyère cheese are classic ingredients in this celebrated French dish. This version adds a touch of crème fraîche for flavor and richness and a sprinkle of chives for freshness. Quiche is equally delicious served warm or at room temperature, which makes it ideal for almost any occasion.

Ingredients:

For the buttery pastry dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for
      dusting
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 7 Tbs. (3 1/2 oz./105 g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into
      cubes
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) ice water, plus more as needed

For the filling:

  • 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) crème fraîche
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh chives
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 6 oz. (185 g) smoked ham, cubed
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) shredded Gruyère cheese

Directions:

To make the pastry dough, in a large bowl, whisk together the 1 1/4 cups flour and the sea salt. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter just until the mixture forms coarse crumbs about the size of peas. Drizzle the 1/4 cup ice water over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until moist clumps form. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a little more ice water. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

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 (30 cm) in diameter and about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Transfer to a 9-inch (23-cm) 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 (12-mm) overhang. Fold the overhanging dough over and into the pan, pressing it firmly against the sides of the pan; the dough should be doubly thick at the sides and rise about 1/8 inch (3 mm) above the sides of the pan rim. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Line the dough with aluminum foil and freeze for 15 to 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).

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 bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, eggs, chives, mustard, kosher salt and pepper until combined.

Remove the baking sheet with the tart pan from the oven. Remove the foil and weights. Scatter the ham and cheese evenly in the pastry shell. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the shell. Return the sheet to the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Bake until the filling is puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve. Serves 6.

Variation: Instead of the ham, substitute 4 bacon strips, coarsely chopped and cooked until crisp and browned, about 4 minutes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers (Weldon Owen, 2010).