Just an easy ham and cheese quiche that goes together in a couple of minutes if you cheat, like I do, and use a prepared crust. Serve this with a simple green salad tossed with a lively vinaigrette and your meal is on the table with next to no effort.
Use a nice flavorful cheese in your quiche to get a nice flavorful result. I like to use comté cheese - one of my favorites. Any sort of quality hard cheese (such as Gruyère or Emmental) will work just fine. Note that this ham and cheese quiche calls for cubed cheese instead of grated. You can grate it if you prefer, but I like the effect of distinct bites of melted cheese in my quiche.
Although it is on my list to change this terrible lack of gumption, I am still guilty of using only prepared tart crusts. Here in France they are always beckoning to me at the grocery store - such a selection and so easy to use. You, on the other hand, and much to your merit, may be a crust expert. If so, please go right ahead and make your own. Pate brisée (like a regular unsweetened pie crust) or puff pastry works fine for quiche.
As always with quiche you can use either whole milk, half and half, cream, or crème fraîche. These days I like ham and cheese quiche with whole milk, but the higher fat alternatives do give a much creamier texture. Anyway you make it, the basic quiche recipe is a rich dish. Serve small slices as an entree, or larger slices with a generous green salad for a main meal.
Preparation time: 25 minutes (not including time to freeze crust)
Baking time: 30 min
Makes 6 servings
1 round puff pastry or pate brisée pie crust
3 ounces Comté cheese (about 1/2 cup cubed)
6 ounces ham (about 1 cup cubed)
1 - 1/2 cups crème fraîche, heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
dash or two of nutmeg
Roll out the puff pastry and press it into a 10 inch tart or quiche pan. Prick the tart shell in several dozen places with the tines of a fork. Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (this helps prevent slippage).
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove crust from freezer and immediately place in preheated oven. Bake for 12 minutes then remove from oven and cool before adding the other ingredients. Turn the oven down to 375°F (190°C).
While the quiche shell is baking, dice the ham into 1/4 inch cubes. If you are using sliced ham, slice it in 1/4 by 2 inch strips. Slice the cheese into small (1/4 inch) cubes.
Distribute the cheese and ham evenly on the cooled quiche crust.
Using a whisk, beat together the eggs, crème fraîche (or heavy cream or half and half or whole milk), and seasonings. Whisk just until mixed.
Pour the egg mixture over the ham and cheese and place the quiche in 375°F oven. Bake for 35 minutes or just until the eggs are set (the quiche will continue to cook some after you remove it from the oven, so be sure not to over cook it). The quiche will puff up and turn a nice golden brown on top.