For the shortcrust pastry
- 175g (6oz) plain white flour
- 75g (3oz) butter
- 1 egg yolk, preferably free-range
- 2 teaspoons cold water, approx
For the filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 175g 6oz) streaky bacon cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) lardons
- 100g (4oz) chopped onions
- 3 eggs and 2 egg yolks
- 300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
- 1 scant tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 scant tablespoon chopped chives
- 110g (4oz) Gruyère cheese, grated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- For the pastry, sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl.
- Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and then rub in with your fingertips. Keep everything as cool as possible; if the fat is allowed to melt, the finished pastry may be tough. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stop.
- Whisk the egg or egg yolk and add some water. Using a fork to stir, add just enough liquid to bring the pastry together, then discard the fork and collect it into a ball with your hands, this way you can judge more accurately if you need a few more drops of liquid. Although rather damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape as the water evaporates in the oven. The drier and more difficult-to-handle pastry will give a crisper, shorter crust. This will make the pastry much less elastic and easier to roll.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worktop and line the 23cm (9 inch) diameter baking tin, the pastry should come up just above the top of the tin. Line with kitchen paper and fill to the top with dried beans. Rest for 15 minutes in the fridge.
- Blind bake the tart shell for 25 minutes. Remove the beans and paper. The base should be almost fully cooked. Remove the parchment paper and beans, brush the base with a little beaten egg white and replace in the oven for 3-4 minutes. This will seal the base and avoid the “soggy bottom” effect.
- Brush the prebaked tart shell with a little beaten egg and pop back into the oven for 3-4 minutes or until almost cooked. Cool.
- Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the bacon over a medium heat until crisp. Remove to a plate and cool. Add the chopped onions to the pan and sweat gently on a low heat in the same oil for a further 10 minutes - covered.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a medium-sized bowl, add the cream, herbs, cheese and cool bacon and onions. Mix well and add seasoning. Taste or otherwise, heat a frying pan, cook a teaspoon of the mixture on a gentle heat for 2 or 3 minutes until it coagulates – taste and if necessary correct the seasoning.
- Pour the filling into the pastry base and return to the oven for 30–40 minutes or until the centre has just set. Serve warm with a green salad and relish.
Photography: Harry Weir
More O'Connell Family Recipes:
To make a Gruyére and Dill Tart instead of Quiche Lorraine, make the filling as follows: Whisk together four eggs and 350ml/12fl oz cream together in a bowl, then add 75g/3oz Gruyére and 25g/1oz Parmesan cheese with 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped dill. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg. Pour the filling into the tart shell, bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes approximately or until the filling is slightly puffy and golden brown.