Quiche in America

Quiche in America

“It seems odd that this very special pie, traditional in France, was so long in gaining popularity in America.” ~Craig Claiborne, The New York Times Cook Book 1961

The savory French quiche, made up of eggs and cream baked in a pastry shell has been around for centuries. The Germans have had zwiebelkuchen, their beloved bacon and onion pie for generations. And the Italians have created egg-based fritatas with varieties of meats, vegetables and cheeses for hundreds of years. Even the British serve up cheese and onion pie. Indeed, America has been slow to catch on to savory custard pies.

quiche_003[1]Armed with a stack of twentieth-century cookbooks, I began exploring the evolution of quiche in America. I found quiche-like recipes with generic-sounding names scattered through various sections of the cookbooks. For example, the earliest quiche-like recipe that I found,  had the unassuming name of Cheese Custard Pie printed in The Joy of Cooking 1931 cookbook, located in the “Eggs…Luncheon and Supper Dishes” section. A simple recipe —  it calls for three fourths cup hot scalded top milk (meaning the cream that has risen to the top of un-homogonized milk) in which a cup of grated cheese is melted. Two eggs are then whisked into the cheesy mixture, along with some salt and cayenne pepper. The filling is poured into a 9″ pastry shell, dusted with paprika and baked at 325* for 45 minutes and  is to be served “very hot”.

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Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook 1959

In a cookbook published nearly thirty years later, I discovered a recipe similar to quiche printed in Farm Journal’s 1959 Country Cookbook in the “Milk and Cheese” section — simply called Cheese Pie. The recipe includes shredded Swiss cheese, minced onion, eggs and heavy cream baked in an 8 inch pastry shell at 400* for ten minutes, then reduced to 300* for 40 minutes. It is to be served as an entree.

 

 

With GIs returning home after World War II and establishing homes and families, mid-

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Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 1953

century America was a time of optimism and increasing prosperity. Entertaining in the home was in vogue, and housewives hosted bridge parties, cocktail parties, and dinner parties, creating an interest in appetizer and hors d’oeuvre recipes. The American Everyday Cookbook 1955 lists Savory Tartlets in the “Appetizers” section. These quiche-like tarts are baked in “half-dollar-size tart pans” lined with pastry and filled with eggs, cream and bacon, and seasoned with salt, pepper and dry mustard.

In the trendsetting, The New York Times Cook Book 1961, the term “quiche” finally appears. Printed in the “Appetizer” section, the cookbook presents recipes for three different types of quiche, prefaced with an explanation of sorts:

“A rich custard with cheese and bacon, it may be served either as an appetizer or a main luncheon dish.”~Craig Claiborne, New York Times Cook Book 1961

The popular Quiche Lorraine,  named for the Lorraine region of France (formerly of Germany), includes salt-pork or bacon for flavor. In The Times’ cookbook, the recipe for Quiche Lorraine calls for eggs, cream, bacon and cheese, suggesting cubed Swiss or Gruyere and Parmesan. Thinly slice onion sauteed in a little bacon fat is included, with salt, pepper and nutmeg for seasoning. The Crabmeat Quiche recipe calls for fresh or canned crabmeat, with celery, onion and parsley to be  combined with the eggs and cream. Bay Scallops Quiche calls for 3/4 pound bay scallops, sauteed onion and celery with the eggs and cream to be seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Each quiche is baked in a nine-inch pastry shell.

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In the “Cheese” section of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook 1963, the recipe for Quiche Lorraine calls for twelve slices of bacon (Yum!) and grated Swiss cheese, suggesting that it be served as a luncheon or dinner main dish, or cut into thin slices and served as  “Nibbler” Lorraine.  Quiche Louisiane (not to be mistaken for Quiche Lorraine) omits the bacon and substitutes one cup shelled cooked shrimp tossed with two tablespoons of chili sauce and a dash of Tabasco. A Quiche Manhattan recipe substitutes the bacon for 1 cup cubed ham, Canadian bacon, chopped cooked beef tongue or two tablespoons snipped anchovy fillets. Finally, Good Housekeeping’s Switzerland Cheese-And-Onion Pie is a nod to Germany’s traditional bacon and onion pie and is to be served for “lunch, supper or an evening snack”.

In Mary Meade’s Modern Homemaker Cookbook 1966 in the “Eggs Cheese and Luncheon Dishes” section of the book, I found another recipe for Cheese-and-Onion Pie. Said to be:

“A close relative of the popular Quiche Lorraine, this delicacy makes an excellent luncheon dish”. ~Ruth Ellen Church, Mary Meade’s Modern Homemaker Cookbook 1966

So similar, Quiche Lorraine and Cheese-and-Onion Pie could be twin sisters, with both pies calling for cooked, crumbled bacon, eggs, milk or cream and cheese, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. The only difference  between the two is the amount of onion called for in each recipe (the Cheese and Onion Pie calls for two full cups of sliced sauteed onions). Ham and Egg Pie covertly placed in the “Meat” section of Mary Meade’s Modern Homemaker Cookbook 1966, presents a cheese-less quiche-like pie made with minced ham to be sliced thin and served as an appetizer.

My Simply Gourmet 1978 cookbook  features a recipe for Spinach Quiche in theIMG_5337 “Vegetables” section. Sometimes called Quiche Florentine — it has become a classic. Two pounds of fresh spinach, blanched, chopped and sauteed with minced scallions in butter is added to the basic egg and cream mixture. A little Gruyere with salt, pepper and nutmeg round out the ingredients. The quiche is baked in a ten-inch pastry-lined dish and served warm.

In spite of its slow start, by the 1970s Americans had fully embraced quiche, creating recipes with a plethora of ingredients from mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, zucchini and potatoes along with distinct cheeses including goat cheese and feta.

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Mother’s Day Brunch

Not only did quiche come to light during the twentieth-century, but the concept of brunch became fashionable in America as well. A blend of the words  breakfast and lunch —  brunch has become a light mid-morning to early-afternoon meal associated with the gathering of friends and family, such as  Sunday brunch. Holidays including Easter and Mother’s Day are celebrated over brunch as well, often featuring quiche.

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Jarlsberg Quiche

My Mother’s Day Brunch menu consists of crust-less Jarlsberg Quiche (Jarlsberg is a mild Swiss-like cheese produced in Norway, but is readily available in America), a variety of muffins served along with fruit and yogurt parfaits. Its been our family tradition for years. I have also used this menu when hosting bridal and baby showers. And it works well as a new-mommy meal. Enjoy!

 

Jarlsberg Quiche

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1-1/4 cup 4% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 5 eggs

  • 1/2 lb Jarlsberg cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350* (325* for a glass pan). Lightly spray a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Whisk in milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook and stir for two minutes or until mixture is thick; set white sauce aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, baking powder, dry mustard and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  4. In large bowl, blend cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing with each addition (mixture will be lumpy). Stir in cottage cheese mixture and cooled white sauce.
  5. Fold in shredded Jarlsberg cheese and Parmesan.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pie dish and bake for 35 — 40 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between the edge and center of the quiche comes out clean (OR test the center of the quiche with a thermometer for a  desired temperature of 170*).
  7. Allow quiche to set for 15 minutes before serving.

Option: Several strips of bacon can be cooked crisp, crumbled and folded into the quiche mixture with the shredded cheese. Cooked finely diced ham may also be added.

Note: Quiche can be prepared a day in advance. Bake as directed and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature or reheat in the oven before serving.

Recipe Compliments of cookbooklady.com

Whipped Cream

Whipped Cream

“Life is SO much better with whipped cream on top.” ~Unknown

close up photo of pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

It turns out that Whipped Cream has been around for a long time. Records show that the Italians were whipping cream in the mid-1500s, with the French not too far behind. Evidently cooks used a handful of twigs or thin branches to form a primitive sort of whisk with which to whip the cream. As time went by, wire whisks became the tool of choice. Eventually whisks morphed into rotary beaters, and those beaters evolved into electric mixers. Recently, I read about an innovative family that  puts cream, sugar and vanilla into an air-tight container and lets the children shake their “whipped” cream.

Rich, Aged and Chilled

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The American Woman’s Cook Book 1966

The American Woman’s Cook Book 1966 gives a basic formula for whipped cream success: Rich, Aged and Chilled. Rich refers to the level of butterfat in the cream to be whipped. The higher the fat content, the more stable the whipped cream. Heavy whipping cream, as regulated by the FDA must contain 36 — 40% butterfat. Regular whipping cream contains 30 — 35%.  Light cream comes in at 18 — 30% , and Half and Half contains only 11 — 18%. By comparing the levels of butterfat, it becomes apparent that heavy cream and regular whipping cream are suitable for making whipped cream, whereas, light cream and Half and Half are mainly coffee creamers. (Incidentally, heavy whipping cream is a better option in cooking as well — think of alfredo sauce or scalloped potatoes — as it is less likely to separate or curdle with its high fat content).

The American Woman’s Cook Book 1966 continues to point out:

“Cream must be ‘aged’ [24 hours] to produce lactic acid. The acid thickens the cream”.

Watkins Cook Book 1948 also calls for “day-old” cream for whipping. However, in the twenty-first century, cream is now ULTRA-pasteurized, meaning that dairy products are quickly heated to 280*F (as opposed to traditional pasteurization of 161*F). This higher temperature extends the shelf-life of dairy products, but causes the cream to become more difficult to whip. To offset this, processors add stabilizers to the cream to help make it whip-able again. And unlike the days of family farms and local creameries, the time it takes these days for milk to go from producer to processor to consumer, the cream has already “aged”.

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As far as the chilling goes, everyone knows that the cream must be thoroughly chilled. Nearly all twentieth-century whipped cream recipes suggested chilling the beaters and the bowl as well, warning that the warmer the cream gets the more likely it is to churn to butter. Joy of Cooking 1985 warns home cooks to begin whipping cream on low and to increase the speed only to medium-high as the mixture thickens. Beating cream on HIGH creates friction which warms and softens the butterfat resulting in a softer set. With all this fuss, its no wonder whipped cream from a spray can has become so popular. However, I’m sure most home cooks would agree that a homemade dessert deserves homemade whipped cream.

Stabilization

Home cooks of today want their whipped cream to be soft and billowy, yet sturdy and long lasting. Our twentieth-century grandmothers were no different. While researching, I found several interesting suggestions to extend the life of whipped cream:

cookbook 006Modern Meal Maker 1939 includes a recipe for Whipped Cream Sauce (above) which suggests folding a stiffly beaten egg white into a cup of sweetened whipped cream.

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Watkins Cook Book 1948 offers two stabilizing suggestions (above). The first recipe says to dissolve a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in a tablespoon of water and to add it to a pint of whipped cream. The second recipe calls for an eighth teaspoon of Cream of Tartar to be whipped with a cup of cream. These suggestions may seem a little antiquated, but many home cooks of today still use them. A more modern suggestion comes from Cooking from Quilt Country 1989 — a teaspoon of light corn syrup per cup of heavy cream. (My recipe for Whipped Cream, including a “magical” stabilizing ingredient is posted below).

Flavorings

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A lot of things can be said about twentieth-century home cooks — hard working, industrious, dedicated — but creative must top the list. I am amazed with how many different ways cooks elevated humble whipped cream. Sweeteners ran the gamut from powdered sugar to honey, jam, jelly or marmalade, brown sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup and molasses. Recipes included almond extract or flavored liqueurs in the cream. Fresh or frozen fruit purees, orange juice (I must say, adding liquid ingredients to the cream seems risky to me), crushed fresh berries, chopped nuts, including pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, toasted coconut or almond paste were all suggested add-ins. Crushed candy, such as nut brittle and mints were listed. Instant coffee, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate sauce were included as well. The American Woman’s Cook Book 1966 published the most unusual whipped cream recipe of all. Flavored with salt and sprinkled with paprika and finely chopped parsley, it is recommended as a simple garnish for soup. I have never tasted whipped cream flavored with anything but sugar and vanilla. Its obvious that I have been missing out!

What is a Dover

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While doing research for this post, I found instructions for making whipped cream in my grandmother’s The Household Searchlight Recipe Book 1944 that calls for a particular tool that I had never heard of — a “dover”. So I turned to the internet to learn that “Dover” is a brand of cast iron egg beater manufactured by the Dover Stamping Company located in New Hampshire at the turn of the last century. Dover beaters were so popular that they became synonymous with all rotary egg beaters, (similar to “Kleenex” in referring to any brand of facial tissue) and folks just called them “dovers”.   Interestingly, in my collection of vintage kitchen utensils, I found a cast iron egg beater (above). Now I know it is a Dover!

Stabilized Whipped Cream

cookbook 003As promised, I have included my recipe for whipped cream (below) along with the “magical” stabilizing ingredient — mascarpone cheese. In the article above it was mentioned that the higher the fat content the more stable the whipped cream, so by adding additional fat (mascarpone cheese) it stays whipped longer. Fortunately mascarpone has a mild taste so it won’t over-shadow the addition of creative flavorings. This is my go-to recipe every time I make whipped cream, and I also use it for frosting cakes. If refrigerated, the “frosting” will stay fluffy 24 — 48 hours. Enjoy!

Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 Tbsp powdered confectioners sugar (or to taste)
  • Speck of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Chill mixing bowl and beaters in refrigerator for 30 minutes or more.
  2. Place mascarpone cheese in chilled bowl, mix on low  for a few seconds.
  3. Continue mixing on low and gradually add heavy whipping cream. Sprinkle in powdered sugar and salt, increasing speed gradually as mixture thickens. Blend in vanilla extract.
  4. Whip until soft peaks form (at this point it can be used as a topping), or continue whipping until stiff peaks form (to be used as frosting), being careful not to over-mix.

P.S. A couple years ago, I was having guests over for a meal. In a rush, I over-whipped my cream and it started to turn to butter. I didn’t have a Plan B for dessert, so I used it anyway to frost my Banana Poppy Seed Cake. Everyone complimented me on the delicious dessert. Whew! I got lucky.

Recipe Compliments of cookbooklady.com