Caramelized Onion and Gruyère Quiche

I was recently in Paris scouting out places to take students on a culinary tour to the City of Lights (stay tuned). During the trip I wanted something a little more substantial than just a pain au chocolat for my le petit déjeuner. Okay, so I had a pain au chocolat and a slice of quiche. That slice of delicious was my inspiration after I returned home to make one myself.

I’ve made many a tart dough, tweaking the amount of ingredients here and there but this latest rendition will likely be my go-to tart dough from here on out. It has a tad more flour (1/4 cup) which makes it easier to roll to the correct size for a 9-inch tart shell without forcing it to be rolled too thin.  Also, using half and half instead of water, worked beautifully; and why use water when you can use half and half.

1 large egg yolk
2 – 3 tablespoons half and half, divided
1 ¾ cups (7 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons (2 ½ ounces) very cold butter, unsalted cut into 10 pieces

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons half and half; set aside. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix. Evenly distribute the pieces of butter over the flour and pulse again (about 5 times) or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Remove the lid and pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture. Buzz again until the dough just begins to come together. If it is being stubborn and not wanting to come together pour the additional tablespoon of half and half over the flour mixture and pulse again a couple of times.

Pour the contents onto a clean smooth surface. With the palm of your hand, smear the dough away from you a little at a time. Fold back over with a bench knife. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, or better yet overnight.


Remove the dough from the refrigerator about a half hour prior to proceeding with the recipe. This will allow the dough to become  malleable for easier rolling. Lightly flour a smooth surface and roll dough to about 11- inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick.

Set the dough over a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan; pressing it snugly and firmly into bottom edge and fluted sides to form the tart shell. Refrigerate prepared tart shell while making the filling.



3 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch dice
2 large yellow onions
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 – 3 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
6 ounces gruyère, grated
5 large eggs
3/4 cup half and half
freshly ground black pepper

Set a rack in the oven to the lower third and the temperature to 425°F.

Cut the onions in half through the stem end and peel off the outer layer.  Thinly slice into half moons.

Set a large skillet over a medium fire and add the pancetta. Cook, stirring just until crispy;  using a slotted spoon remove the cooked pancetta to paper toweling to drain; set aside. Pour off all but one tablespoon of fat.

Reduce fire to low and add the onions and bay leaf; stirring often. As the onions cook the sugars begin to caramelize causing them to stick to the skillet. As this happens add a couple of tablespoons of water and continue stirring, scraping up the brown bits (sometimes referred to as “fond”).

Keep stirring and adding a little water (no more than 2 tablespoons at a time) as needed and add freshly ground black pepper to taste. This process will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to allow the onions fully caramelize. When the onions are cooked remove from the fire and discard the bay leaf; set aside.

While the onions are cooking crack the whole eggs into a bowl and whisk in the half and half; set aside.


About 25 minutes prior to the onions being finished, remove the tart shell from the refrigerator and set on a sheet pan. Line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. (I use 12-inch lengths of chain). Place in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown.

Take out of the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment paper.  Spread the caramelized onions evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Distribute the cooked pancetta over the onions along with some of the thyme.  Sprinkle the grated cheese over; then pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle the top with any remaining chopped thyme.

Return the quiche to the oven and continue baking for another 40-45 minutes or until the top edge is nicely browned and the middle does not jiggle when the pan is shaken.

Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove from the tart ring, cut into serving pieces and serve with a green salad or fresh fruit.



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