RECIPE: Tartine's Quiche of the Gods
600 Guerrero Street (at 18th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
On Sunday, I got a craving for Tartine Quiche. I’ve always liked quiche but it wasn’t until I went to Tartine that I started to dream about it. On occasion, I have literally woken up with the taste of their ham and cheese version floating on my tongue prompting me to slip on some clothes and run out the door to 18th and Guerrero with nary even a brush of the hair.
There is no other quiche quite like it in these parts. The creamy texture and not-too-firm but not-too-raw egg body is the essence of comfort food. I love the ham and cheese but their nettles version is equally as satisfying if I’m in a veg mood.
(health note: In herbal-speak, nettles are a "tonic" and a blood-builder and are known to reduce inflammation in the body)
I love Tartine because they make their pastries with organic flour, sugar and local eggs. They use organic produce as much as possible and their meats come from Niman Ranch (not grass fed but better than conventional). The coffee is organic Mr. Espresso and all dairy for the coffee bar is organic from Straus Family Creamery in Marin County. On the downside, the lines can be long.
While sipping my coffee waiting for the warm quiche to be delivered, I read the recipe from the Tartine cook book which was on the counter. There I discovered the secret ingredients — crème fraîche and a small amount of flour. The crème fraîche is what makes the filling smoother and slightly tart.
I haven’t tried this yet at home but I thought I’d put it out there in case one of you wanted to try it more immediately. If you do attempt the recipe, please write back and let us know how it came out. This is only for the eggy inside, not the crust; and it doesn’t include measurements for fillings like ham, cheese or nettle.
UPDATE: I tried the recipe and it comes out exactly how it does at the bakery. DELICIOUS. I added sauteed zucchini and pan-fried prosciutto but mushrooms or sauteed greens would be nice too. Truly outstanding recipe. The only thing i would change is to add a very light dusting of cheese (gruyere, perhaps) on the top so that it browns. There is no need for cheese in the filling. In fact, in my opinion cheese would ruin the recipe because the lightness is what makes it so special. And don't skip straining the eggs through the sieve. It's key to the luscious, custardy texture. I used a 9.5-inch Pyrex pie dish and the quantity of filling was perfect. If you were using a 10-inch, vertical-sided tart pan, you might need more filling.
5 large eggs
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup crème fraîche
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground back pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Place 1 egg and flour in bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl and mix at high speed. Whisk/mix the remaining 4 eggs until blended.
In a medium bowl, whisk the crème fraîche until perfectly smooth, 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.
Pour egg mixture into 10-inch fully baked deep tart or pie shell. Place in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes or longer.
The center of the quiche should feel slightly firm. Let quiche cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set up, so it will slice neatly. It can be served warm or at room temperature.
Yield 6-8 servings.