A quiche sounds terribly French and therefore suitably tricky. Nothing could be further from the truth. Think of a quiche as a vehicle for using up bits in your fridge, which combined with the soft custard filing makes a perfect meal. A quiche could be like a sandwich, where the pastry is the bread, and the basic custard a carrier for fillings you like.
For several people the word pastry or shortcrust pastry more precisely, rings alarm bells. If you live in a hot country, like I did in Singapore, it is undoubtedly tricky to make if the kitchen is hot. There are a few ways to get around it (see the notes). If it’s too much bother, buy good shortcrust pastry (all butter, with no additives) from supermarkets. If you do decide to make your own, definitely make double of what you need. The effort needed is the same, but pastry is one of the easiest things to freeze. If you look into my freezer, you will always find a disc of pastry.
The custard: The eggs to dairy ratio will decide how wobbly your custard is. I like a 2:1 ratio of dairy to eggs, as I like the custard quite delicate and unlike an omelette. At the bakery we used a 1:1 ratio, primarily as the quiche would be handled a lot and it was important that it all held to together. Anything in this range is fine, depending on the outcome you desire. From one of my favourite books, “Tartine” I learnt the trick of adding some flour. This is entirely optional, but I find that it helps set the custard, without overcooking it.
The dairy: You can use all cream for the dairy component, but personally I find it too rich. I prefer equal amounts of milk and cream with a little yoghurt or crème fraiche. I like the tang of crème fraiche or sour cream, but in the absence of both, adding some yoghurt to the mix works.
Eggs: Egg yolks will make for a richer filing, and I have tried recipes using only yolks. The benefit of using more yolks is you reduce the likelihood or overcooking your quiche and having a tough set finish. If you have a few yolks lying around, by all means substitute 2 yolks for 1 egg, but it will take a tiny bit longer to set. If you do decide to use all yolks, reduce the cream in the dairy, as yolks make the custard rich.
For the quiche filling, the custard and base are quite bland, so it’s important to have one key flavour component. I have used bacon, but smoked salmon or if you are vegetarian, spinach with sundried tomatoes, or roasted vegetables and goat’s cheese is always a winner.
Here’s a photo of a vegetarian one that I made a few weeks back. I also like to put a layer of grated Gruyere or cheddar (any firm cheese) at the bottom, for added flavour. Although I have provided a recipe below for the quiche I baked last week, nothing is sacrosanct.