Without detailing European history of wars and of countries taking over other countries, it is important to note that what we know today as Alsace-Lorraine (ceded to Germany by France after the 1871 Franco-German War) is probably as much German as it is French … and the foods are certainly reflective of that. Much of the area is rural, so it is natural to find wholesome, simple recipes. As fancy as some think it is, quiche is actually one of those simple country foods.
Food historians believe that Quiche Lorraine first came about in the 1500s. While there are several ancient notations for similar items, prominent writings date to the 16th Century. The primary ingredients of the recipe include cream and eggs in a fluffy pastry. Bacon was added after Lorraine became known for smoking meats and making sausages. In 1586, the Duke of Lorraine, Charles III was such a fan of Quiche that management at his favorite hotel worried about the losses they were taking on the Duke’s indulgence! By the early 1700s, the royals in the region were still eating quiche, but by this time, cheese had been added. We can assume that the creamy Swiss and Gruyere were favored because they melted easily. At this time, the recipe for Quiche Lorraine included bacon, cream, eggs, onion cheese and harkening back to Germany, nutmeg!
In the United States, quiche first appeared in the 1931 version of Irma Rombauer’s Joy of Cooking. Rombauer had a German ancestry and her first self-published cookbook was filled with recipes she knew from her family history. A recipe for tartlets appeared in a 1941 cookbook and in 1951, a new version of a full-sized recipe was in Rombauer’s newest edition of Joy of Cooking.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy should be credited for making Quiche Lorraine a popular ‘fancy’ food for Americans. It was a staple on White House luncheon menus and her favorite recipe was included in the cookbook authored by the White House chef during the Kennedy administration. By the 1970s, culinary writers were describing the wide variety of quiche found in restaurants across America. In the early 1980s, I prepared two varieties of quiche every day in our restaurant and we served slices with soup, salad or fresh fruit. While I made special varieties, I also made a ‘garden mix’ variety using vegetables left from the previous day! Every chef did that if they were smart!
Quiche was not a popular at home meal item during my favorite vintage period … the 1950s and 60s. It did, however, gain popularity during the early days of my home cooking! It is still popular at my house and my granddaughter even loves it! I’m going to share two specific recipes today, but I also want you to have the standard portions of ingredients. A 9-inch quiche requires a pie crust, 4 eggs and 1 ½ cups of cream. Half and Half works and sometimes I use canned evaporated milk with whole milk. I add ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 cup of shredded cheese. The vegetable combination is up to you! This size quiche needs between 1 and 1 ½ cups of meat and vegetables. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Bisquick was introduced in 1931 and was first promoted for making biscuits. In 1970, the Bisquick Impossible Pie was introduced and became very popular. The first Impossible Pie was for a custard pie. Then came an Impossible Coconut Pie … then hundreds of combinations followed including quiche.
For this quiche, I fried a half pound of breakfast sausage with 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped sweet green pepper. I let this cool, then added it to the milk/egg ingredients. When I poured the mixture in my greased baking dish, I dotted the top with some of my small tomatoes and asparagus. Tomatoes and asparagus did not need to be pre-cooked. I used a combination of cheddar and jack cheese.
Chop the bacon and fry it along with the asparagus pieces. Cut the pie crust sheet into 4 rounds to fit individual pie dishes and press it into the pie dishes. When the bacon/asparagus is done, remove it from the skillet and drain it. Divide it between the pies. Divide the cheese between the pies. Whisk together the eggs, Half and Half, nutmeg and pepper. Pour equal portions in each pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Quiche is certainly historic! This post is part of my Vintage Vegetables special project. If you’d like to see similar recipes, click the menu tab. I’ll also be sharing this with a couple blog parties, so click through those listed on my sidebar. Enjoy!