Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gorgonzola, Pancetta & Onion Quiche

Although quiche is now a classic dish of French cuisine, it actually originated in Germany in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen, later renamed Lorraine by the French. The term quiche came from küchen, the German word for cake. The original quiche Lorraine was an open pie with an egg and cream custard and smoked bacon or lardons. The addition of Gruyère cheese makes quiche au gruyère or quiche vosgienne. Quiche Alsacienne is similar to Quiche Lorraine, although onions are added to the recipe. The original crust was made from bread dough, and later became a short-crust or puff pastry crust. These days, there are as many versions of quiche as there are culinary inspired chefs and home cooks.

Set of 6 4" Mini Quiche Tart Tins with removable bottoms, from Williams Sonoma

I recently picked up a set of mini tart pans with removable bottoms that inspired me to make these delicious mini Caramelized Onion, Pancetta and Gorgonzola Quiche. Caramelizing the onions gives them a rich, sweet flavor that compliments wonderfully with the salty crisp pancetta. Add some flavourful knobs of Gorgonzola cheese and you have a mouthful of flavours that blossom beautifully in the savoury custard and buttery crust. If you find Gorgonzola cheese and bit too strong, you can always substitute any melting cheese such as Gruyere or Fontina.

These individual serving 4" quiche are delightful served at lunch with a lovely fresh salad of mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette. For this Caramelized Onion, Pancetta & Gorgonzola Mini Quiche recipe, crumbled pancetta, Gorgonzola and caramelized onion are scattered on the bottom of individual 4" fluted pastry tarts and drowned in a luscious eggy custard. Baked to golden brown perfection, these individual-size quiche are the perfect addition to any brunch or luncheon buffet.

Caramelized Onion, Pancetta & Gorgonzola Quiche
Makes 6 mini quiche

1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup diced pancetta or thick bacon
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, diced
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
5 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
cracked black pepper

Savoury Pastry Dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add butter and pulse about 20 times, to finely mix in the butter. Add the egg and egg yolk and pulse until the dough just begins to form a small ball. Turn out the dough and press into a disc about 1/2" thick. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour, until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly brush the inside of 6 removable-bottom mini quiche pans with canola oil or Pam cooking spray. Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out circles to line the 6 pans. Prick the base of the tart bottoms and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Then bake for 5 minutes, and remove from oven; let cool on a large baking sheet.

Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan and then add the chopped onions. Cook over low heat, stirring often until onions are very soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the pancetta into the pan and cook over medium heat until crisp and browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. To compose the quiche, divide the cooked onions and sprinkle into the bottom of each of the quiche. Then evenly sprinkle the pancetta on top of the onions. Break apart the Gorgonzola and divide into the 6 pans, then add the grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, sprinkle the parsley evenly over the onions and cheese. In a bowl, beat together the cream, milk and egg yolks until light. Add the chopped rosemary and cracked pepper. Pour the egg and cream mixture evenly into each mini quiche leaving just a little room to expand. 

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Remove the quiche from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. The quiche can also be left to cool and then refrigerated for up to 3 days.