This gluten-free quiche lorraine with leeks is perfect for Mother’s Day brunch! The crisp cassava flour crust and custardy filling studded with leeks and bacon are both total crowd pleasers.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and if your mom is anything like mine, she would love this quiche. I’ve been working on it for weeks, playing with the proportions to make a crisp but sturdy crust with my new favorite grain-free flour, Otto’s cassava flour, and balancing the flavorings of the filling so that they’re just right. After more tries than I care to count, I’ve finally nailed it. This gluten-free quiche lorraine is good enough for your mother, skeptics who raise their eyebrows at the thought of grain-free pastries, and just about anyone else. Don’t tell your gluten-eating family members and I bet they won’t know there’s no wheat in here.
Quiche is a bit of a process, so setting aside my recent burst of quiche-testing mania, I don’t make it often. A frittata is quicker and easier and does just fine for a regular meal, but when the occasion is special or you want to treat yourself, a quiche 100% worth it.
Despite the many recipes that try to bill a frittata as a crustless quiche, the absence of crust is not the only difference between the two. The fillings of quiches and frittatas, even when made with similar ingredients in similar proportions, are totally different in texture. In addition to the quiche crust being delicious and satisfyingly toothsome in its own right, it plays a vital role in ensuring that the filling is delicate, light, and custardy instead of chewy and overcooked. The crust shields the egg and cream mixture from getting too much direct heat, which allows it to bake into an impossibly smooth and irresistible sensation that’s worlds better than an omelette or frittata.
Thanks to Otto’s cassava flour, this quiche is free of nuts and only requires ONE kind of flour. If you haven’t tried cassava flour yet, I highly recommend it. It’s super finely ground and can be used as a one-to-one replacement for all-purpose flour in a lot of recipes. It’s also a whole food made from just dried and ground yuca root.
Before measuring cassava flour, I recommend fluffing it up a little. I just stick a whisk right into the bag and shake for a few seconds. Then, I spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a knife, just like you’re supposed to for regular all-purpose flour.
Bacon and leeks are such a great pair (and the custardy filling is so great on its own) that this quiche does not need any cheese. It’s not traditional to add cheese to quiche lorraine anyway, but most recipes these days do. I was surprised by how I didn’t miss the cheese at all. Part of the beauty of this recipe is that it highlights the simple combination of bacon, eggs, and cream inside a crust. I did add leeks, though–I can’t resist them this time of year, and they add an extra layer of savory goodness. As they sizzle on the stovetop in a bit of bacon fat, they also perfume your whole kitchen with one of the best smells on earth.
Have I convinced you to make this quiche? What else are you making for Mother’s Day? I want to hear all about it in the comments!
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick + 2 tablespoons), cut into small cubes
- 1½ cups Otto’s cassava flour*
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon raw sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water
- 6 slices bacon, chopped crosswise into pieces ½-inch thick
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced into pieces ½-inch thick, and thoroughly washed**
- 6 large eggs
- 1 egg white
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Note: Prep time does not include time for the dough to chill (it needs at least 90 minutes total--1 hour before rolling out and another 30 minutes before baking). You can make the dough a day or two in advance to make this recipe easier.
- Freeze the butter for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, measure the flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor (I have this one and love it) and pulse a few times to combine. Separate an egg, keeping the yolk at the ready and stashing the white in the fridge for later, and get a glass of ice water.
- Add half the frozen butter to the food processor and pulse 3-4 times, then add the remaining butter and pulse about 6 times until most of the pieces of butter are tiny. Add the egg yolk and 4 tablespoons of ice water (no actual ice, just the very cold water) and pulse a few more times. Keep adding water a tablespoon or two at a time and pulsing briefly until a clump of dough sticks together when you squeeze it.
- Dump the crumbly dough out onto a clean surface and form it into a disc, working in a little more ice water if necessary. Wrap the dough in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a day.
- Once the dough has chilled, dust it with a little cassava flour and roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper until it's less than ¼-inch thick (if your dough is very difficult to roll out, you can knead in a little more cold water at this point; a few small cracks, though, are easy to fix one the dough is in the skillet).
- Carefully place the dough in a well-seasoned ten-inch cast iron skillet or deep dish pie pan, gently pushing it down into the corners. Remove any dough that goes above the rim of the skillet and use it to patch any cracks elsewhere in the dough. If desired, use your thumb and index finger to flute the edges of the crust (I only sometimes have the patience for elegant touches of that sort). Freeze the crust for 30 minutes before baking. When the crust has 15 more minutes or so to chill, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line the crust with parchment and fill it with rice, beans, or pie weights going ⅔ of the way to the top of the skillet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then lift the parchment and rice out, prick the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork, and bake for 10 more minutes. Set aside until the filling is ready.
- While the crust is baking, get started on the filling. Fry bacon over medium to medium-low heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour out all but a tablespoon of fat from the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the leeks are very tender, 8-10 minutes more.
- Whisk the eggs, egg white, cream, water, salt, and pepper thoroughly in a large bowl. Stir in about half the bacon and leeks. Pour the filling into the crust and sprinkle the rest of the bacon and leeks on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set. A tiny bit of wiggle in the center is okay because the quiche will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven, but the top should be dry even in the middle of the pie.
- Cool for at least 20 minutes (preferably 30-40) before slicing and serving warm or at room temperature.
**Leeks can be really sandy. It's easiest to get out all the grit if you chop them before you wash them. I put my chopped leeks in the bowl of a salad spinner and soak them briefly in a few changes of cool water, and then rinse them one more time just to be safe.
I like to serve quiche with a simple green salad. The one pictured here is baby arugula and chopped sugar snap peas with a quick maple lime vinaigrette (3 parts olive oil, 2 parts lime juice, and 1 part maple syrup whisked with salt and pepper to taste). It's also fabulous with breakfast potatoes!
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