The word quiche means "cake" and, along with the dish itself, has German roots. Before refrigeration, rural homemakers often had more eggs than they could sell or eat before they spoiled. To avoid wasting them, they invented quiche pie. Eggs and milk or cream are mandatory ingredients for this savory custard pie. Cheese, ham, tuna and bacon are among the various quiche pie options, including the French-inspired quiche Lorraine.
Instead of a pie pan, a cast iron skillet often was the pan originally used for quiche pie. This deep-dish container made it possible to bake the pie slowly so the eggs and cream mixture could set. It also provided enough volume for adding bits and pieces of leftovers from the larder. When using a pie pan for quiche, it is recommended that one follow tradition and select a deep-dish pan.
Like sweet fruit pies, a quiche starts with a flour crust. One can buy a ready-to-use piecrust or create a crust at home. For best results, the crust for quiche pie should be slightly thicker than that used for fruit pies.
The foundation ingredients in a quiche pie have a lot of moisture that can make the piecrust soggy. Blind baking the piecrust prior to filling it with the quiche mixture can help prevent a soggy crust. Blind baking can be accomplished by putting the crust in the baking dish or pie pan, covering it with foil and cooking it for five to 10 minutes at 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius). Depending on the ingredients, normal cooking time for a quiche ranges from 40 to 50 minutes. Denser ingredients, such as potatoes, push the time it takes for the pie to set up to around 75 minutes.
The possibilities and variations on the original, rustic custard are endless. Few people who cook quiche stop at egg custard. Quiche Lorraine adds bacon and Swiss cheese to the mixture. One can elevate lowly canned meat products and leftovers to gourmet status by blending them into quiche custard with a selection of herbs and cheese. Vegetables such as onions, potatoes, spinach, peas and asparagus can make a quiche pie heartier.
This pie is traditionally a dinner entree that uses only one dish. Quiche pie also makes a complete breakfast, with many of the same ingredients as an omelet. Recipes that feature crab or shrimp can make an elegant brunch choice. Once the filling sets, one can easily transport a slice of quiche as a lunchbox treat.