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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: A tall, regal, mile-high quiche Lorraine is ideal for a brunch or supper buffet

Mile-High Quiche Lorraine.
Mile-High Quiche Lorraine.Sally Pasley Vargas

Makes 1 deep 9-inch round or enough to serve 6 generously

When we were all still living regular lives, a friend and I drove to Vermont to visit another friend. We met up for lunch at Piecemeal Pies in White River Junction, Vt. Along with adorable little English-style meat pies, the place served a slice of quiche du jour with a salad. Its impressive height intrigued me and I set about trying to more or less duplicate it. This is my Lorraine version of their tall, creamy quiche, baked in a springform pan with meaty strips of bacon, Gruyere, and onion. Its height makes it regal and party-worthy for a brunch or a supper buffet. Because of its depth (the filling takes six eggs and 3 cups of cream), this quiche takes longer to make than a traditional savory pie, but it's mostly hands-off time. You start with a generous amount of buttery food-processor dough that stands up well in a deep pan. It's more than you need, but ensures that you won't have to fiddle too much with getting it into the pan. After you roll it out, freeze the dough in the pan to help it keep its shape, and then pre-bake it filled with pie weights or dried beans. A long pre-baking yields a well-cooked crust without a hint of sogginess. (You can cut up the extra dough and sprinkle the pieces with cinnamon-sugar; bake these sweet nibbles at 375 degrees for 8 minutes, or until golden.) While the crust is baking, make the custard filling in a blender. A small amount of flour in the filling keeps it from weeping; it dissolves in the blender, and the custard is easy to pour into the pie. Check the quiche after it has baked for about 45 minutes and cover it loosely with foil to keep the top from turning too dark. Finally, let it rest and settle for at least two hours before slicing. It's worth the wait for those mile-high slices.

PASTRY

¾cup ice water
1teaspoon distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
cups flour
½teaspoon salt
teaspoon baking powder
1cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
Extra flour (for sprinkling)

1. Have on hand a 9-inch springform pan.

2. In a measuring cup, stir together the ice water and vinegar.

3. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and baking powder to blend them. Add the butter, separating the cubes as you add them. Pulse 10 to 12 times, or until the butter is in small pea-size pieces.

4. Open the processor cover and drizzle 8 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture. Pulse in a short bursts until the mixture looks like small beads but does not clump together. Press a small amount of dough in your hand. It should form a clump that holds together without cracking. If it feels dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

5. Tip the crumbs onto the counter and cup your hands around them to compress them into a flat, round disk. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 15 minutes. At this point, you can roll the dough, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

6. On a generously floured counter, roll the dough into a 14- or 15-inch circle that is about 1/8-inch thick. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over the springform pan. Lift the edges gently as you fit the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. You will have plenty of dough to work with. Once the dough is securely in the pan, roll the rolling pin over the top edge of the pan to cut off the excess dough. Use the tines of a fork to make a pattern around the top edge. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

7. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet and pie weights or dried beans or rice.

8. Place the springform pan on the baking sheet. Line the pastry with foil. Fill it to the brim with pie weights or dried beans or rice. Transfer to the oven and bake the pastry for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the crust is light brown at the edges. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Lift out the foil and weights or beans.

FILLING

½pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1large onion, coarsely chopped
6 eggs
3cups heavy cream
1tablespoon flour
½teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon black pepper
5ounces Gruyere, grated (3 cups)

1. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, render the bacon, using 2 forks to separate the pieces as they cook. When they are golden brown, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.

3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from the pan. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until it is golden brown.

4. In a blender, pulse the eggs, cream, flour, salt, and pepper to blend them.

5. Leave the springform pan on the baking sheet. Spread half the Gruyere on the bottom of the pastry. Spread the bacon on top, then the onion. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry, leaving about 1/8-inch headspace at the top. Do not overfill; the filling will expand as it bakes. Sprinkle the remaining Gruyere on top.

6. Carefully slide the pan into the oven. Bake the quiche for 45 minutes. Check to see if the cheese on top has browned; if so, cover loosely with foil. Return the quiche to the oven and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges of the filling are set and the center is still a little wobbly. (Total baking time is 70 to 75 minutes.) The custard is done when a knife inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours. Unlatch the sides of the springform to cut the quiche into slices.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Makes 1 deep 9-inch round or enough to serve 6 generously

When we were all still living regular lives, a friend and I drove to Vermont to visit another friend. We met up for lunch at Piecemeal Pies in White River Junction, Vt. Along with adorable little English-style meat pies, the place served a slice of quiche du jour with a salad. Its impressive height intrigued me and I set about trying to more or less duplicate it. This is my Lorraine version of their tall, creamy quiche, baked in a springform pan with meaty strips of bacon, Gruyere, and onion. Its height makes it regal and party-worthy for a brunch or a supper buffet. Because of its depth (the filling takes six eggs and 3 cups of cream), this quiche takes longer to make than a traditional savory pie, but it's mostly hands-off time. You start with a generous amount of buttery food-processor dough that stands up well in a deep pan. It's more than you need, but ensures that you won't have to fiddle too much with getting it into the pan. After you roll it out, freeze the dough in the pan to help it keep its shape, and then pre-bake it filled with pie weights or dried beans. A long pre-baking yields a well-cooked crust without a hint of sogginess. (You can cut up the extra dough and sprinkle the pieces with cinnamon-sugar; bake these sweet nibbles at 375 degrees for 8 minutes, or until golden.) While the crust is baking, make the custard filling in a blender. A small amount of flour in the filling keeps it from weeping; it dissolves in the blender, and the custard is easy to pour into the pie. Check the quiche after it has baked for about 45 minutes and cover it loosely with foil to keep the top from turning too dark. Finally, let it rest and settle for at least two hours before slicing. It's worth the wait for those mile-high slices.

PASTRY

¾cup ice water
1teaspoon distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
cups flour
½teaspoon salt
teaspoon baking powder
1cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
Extra flour (for sprinkling)

1. Have on hand a 9-inch springform pan.

2. In a measuring cup, stir together the ice water and vinegar.

3. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and baking powder to blend them. Add the butter, separating the cubes as you add them. Pulse 10 to 12 times, or until the butter is in small pea-size pieces.

4. Open the processor cover and drizzle 8 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture. Pulse in a short bursts until the mixture looks like small beads but does not clump together. Press a small amount of dough in your hand. It should form a clump that holds together without cracking. If it feels dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

5. Tip the crumbs onto the counter and cup your hands around them to compress them into a flat, round disk. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 15 minutes. At this point, you can roll the dough, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

6. On a generously floured counter, roll the dough into a 14- or 15-inch circle that is about 1/8-inch thick. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over the springform pan. Lift the edges gently as you fit the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. You will have plenty of dough to work with. Once the dough is securely in the pan, roll the rolling pin over the top edge of the pan to cut off the excess dough. Use the tines of a fork to make a pattern around the top edge. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

7. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet and pie weights or dried beans or rice.

8. Place the springform pan on the baking sheet. Line the pastry with foil. Fill it to the brim with pie weights or dried beans or rice. Transfer to the oven and bake the pastry for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the crust is light brown at the edges. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Lift out the foil and weights or beans.

FILLING

½pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1large onion, coarsely chopped
6 eggs
3cups heavy cream
1tablespoon flour
½teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon black pepper
5ounces Gruyere, grated (3 cups)

1. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, render the bacon, using 2 forks to separate the pieces as they cook. When they are golden brown, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.

3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from the pan. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until it is golden brown.

4. In a blender, pulse the eggs, cream, flour, salt, and pepper to blend them.

5. Leave the springform pan on the baking sheet. Spread half the Gruyere on the bottom of the pastry. Spread the bacon on top, then the onion. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry, leaving about 1/8-inch headspace at the top. Do not overfill; the filling will expand as it bakes. Sprinkle the remaining Gruyere on top.

6. Carefully slide the pan into the oven. Bake the quiche for 45 minutes. Check to see if the cheese on top has browned; if so, cover loosely with foil. Return the quiche to the oven and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges of the filling are set and the center is still a little wobbly. (Total baking time is 70 to 75 minutes.) The custard is done when a knife inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours. Unlatch the sides of the springform to cut the quiche into slices.Sally Pasley Vargas