French Comfort Food

We had a cheerful Mother's Day brunch last Sunday! We set the table with a vintage French grain sack as a runner and used colorful accessories, including gold crowns to symbolize all mothers, and roosters to symbolize all fathers (without whom there would be no mothers :). Garden roses, lavender, orange blossoms and lilies filled a Deruta pitcher. In addition to a luscious quiche, we served a piquant ruby red grapefruit & avocado salad, spring asparagus, blood orange lemonade and a chilled rosé Bandol, along with a basket of croissants and strong café au lait. A wonderful family gathering!

The quiche was inspired by all the wonderful little 4" quiches we had in Provence at Easter...convenient, nutritious and delicious, these little quiches are truly the eat-out-of-hand comfort food of France! I was missing those delectable morsels, so for Mother's Day I decided to try the Tartine recipe. If you have been lucky enough to visit their bakery in San Francisco, you will understand! In this amazing book, some of the best secrets of French bakers are revealed, and they work beautifully!

Oh, and the pretty strawberry cake? Easy bought vanilla cake embellished with the most delicious strawberries found at the farmers market.

these little out-of-the-hand quiches are the
comfort food of France...and they are

our Mother's Day brunch table: simple and rustic with vintage
grain sack runner and old crockery


Bacon & Langostino Quiche

1 (10 inch) quiche or 6 to 8 servings

adapted from Tartine (buy it here)

There are two small but important differences between this quiche filling and most others. The first is that part of the liquid is creme fraiche, which makes the filling smoother and slightly tart. The other is the presence of a small amount of flour. This idea comes from Boulangerie Artisanal des Maures, a bakery in the Var region of France.

1 fully baked and cooled 10-inch tart shell (recipe below, it's worth it!)

5 large eggs

3 tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup Creme fraiche

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground fresh black pepper

1 tbs finely chopped fresh thyme

6 slices well-cooked bacon, crumbled

3/4 cup langostinos, cooked lightly

3/4 cup grated aged gruyere

3/4 cup slivered kale

Have pie shell ready for filling. Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.

Place 1 egg and the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl and mix at high speed or by hand with a whisk until smooth. Mix or whisk in the remaining 4 eggs until blended. In a medium bowl, whisk the creme fraiche until it is perfectly smooth and then whisk in the milk. Pour the egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve held over the milk mixture. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and thyme. (you can prepare the custard up to 4 days in advance before baking; cover and refrigerate)

Scatter the bacon, then the langostinos, then the kale, then the cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell. Pour the egg mixture into the shell and gently press down any solids that have floated on the top. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake until the filling is just set, about 30 minutes longer. The center of the quiche should feel slightly firm, rather than liquidy, when touched. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set up, so that it will slice neatly. It can be served warm or at room temperature. To serve a fully coled quiche warm, cover it with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 325 degree F oven for about 15 minutes.

Flaky Tart Dough
two 9-inch or 10-inch tart or pie shells

1 tsp salt
2/3 cup very cold water
3 cups + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup + 5 tbs very cold unsalted butter

In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Keep very cold until ready to use.

To make the dough in a food processor, put the flour in the work bowl. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs and some of the butter is still in pieces the size of peas. Add the water-and-salt mixture and pulse for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but is not completely smooth. You should still be able to see some butter chunks.

On a lightly floured work surface, divid the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or for up to overnight.

To line a tart pan or pie dish, place a disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions. Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking, and work quickly to prevent the dough from becoming warm. Lightly dust the work surface with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. If lining a pie dish, cut out a circle 2 inches larger than the dish. If lining a tart pan with a removable bottom, cut out a circle 1 1/2 inches larger than the pan. Carefully transfer the round to the pan (fold it in half or into quarters to simplify the transfer if necessary), easing it into the bottom and sides and then pressing gently into place. Trim the dough even with the rim of the tart pan with a sharp knife, or leave a 1/2 inch overhang, fold the overhang under, and flute or crimp the edge.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the pastry shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights.

For a fully baked shell, bake the shells until the surface looks light brown, about 25 minutes; to check, lift a corner of the paper. Remove from the oven and remove the weights and paper. Return the shells to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling. They will keep,well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.



Thanks for visiting! ... Kit

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