A quiche is like an omelet that is prepared like a pie, except it does not get a top layer of dough before being baked. Some cultures refer to these full-size savory pies as quiche tarts, but that moniker could also refer to a quiche made to be about the size of a hockey puck. The ingredients for quiche tarts vary widely depending on the recipe, but often include ingredients like scrambled egg or custard, cheese, bacon and onions that are baked on a standard pastry crust. This is just the basic formula, though. Chefs may use spinach, tomatoes and any number of seasonings or other vegetables to make what looks like a pie feel like a meal.
Common to all quiche tarts — from full-sized to tiny — is the pastry crust. Most chefs stick to a basic recipe for pie dough, with flour, oil or butter, salt and water. Others also add some dry yeast for a flakier feel. One recipe vigorously mixes 4 cups (about 525 g) of flour with nearly 1.5 cup (about 355 ml) of water, 2 tbsp. (about 30 ml) of oil, 0.5 tsp. (about 2.5 g) of salt, and 1.25 tsp. (about 6 g) of dry yeast. If butter is being substituted oil, 6 tbsp. (about 85 g) of butter should be mixed into the dough instead.
The dough can then be rolled out on a counter that is dusted with flour and cut into circles that will fit small pastry tart tins. Another option is to roll the dough out until it is round enough to cover the entire bottom of a standard, 9-inch (about 23 cm) pie pan. The edges can then be bunched up thicker or trimmed and decorated with a fork.
The traditional recipe for quiche tarts, around which all others are built, is called quiche Lorraine. A full-size pie will need about four whipped eggs, along with some cream, crisped bacon, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a Swiss or Gruyere cheese. This is all fully whisked and poured over the pie crust that is waiting in the pastry tins. At 375°F (about 190°C) it will take about a half-hour to cook a full-size tart all the way through, but a little less for small tins.
Many cooks are not appeased by this basic concoction. Other common additions to quiche tarts are blanched spinach, stewed tomatoes, different types of cheeses like feta or cheddar, and more vegetables like onions or artichokes. For a heartier meal, some even add chunks of potato or substitute a different type of meat for the bacon, like prosciutto or ham.