A BIG thanks to all the hounds who responded to my last-minute plea here: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
Special thanks to farmersdaughter and DT for the Bouchon recipes provided in the thread. As I soon realized, it's not easy to paraphrase a Thomas Keller recipe; even his quiche recipe is fairly involved and time intensive. Because I felt up to the challenge of working through the recipe and I was making lunch in honor of my FIL's bday, I decided to go for it at 9:30pm the night before. The recipe said to chill overnight, so I didn't want to wait to bake in the morning. I think I got to bed around 3:30am...
Well, I'm happy to report that the quiche was a big success, even though things didn't go perfectly. It was really wonderful and worthy of being a centerpiece for a special occasion. If I'm able to plan ahead and execute more precisely next time, I can only think that it will be the savory custard pie of my dreams. As it was, everyone at the table was just humming over the thing and enraptured by their own little slice of heaven. Not your average quiche...
My lunch menu was as follows:
Smoked wild sockeye salmon and creme fraiche canapes
Carrot ginger soup
Bouchon's quiche Lorraine
3 Citrus Salad (clementines, blood oranges, grapefruit) with avocado, shaved radish, mesclun greens, butter lettuce and creamy olive oil vinaigrette
Dessert was a storebought bday cake that others brought
Photos of the lunch are linked below, and I'm really sad that I missed a photo of the carrot ginger soup since it was really pretty and velvety. Besides the quiche, everything else was my own improvisation.
Back to that quiche: I think the recipe is in Keller fashion...exact and perfect. I hesitate to use the word "perfect", but Keller's perfectionism really comes through and is appreciated by someone like me. If I had followed it exactly, I think it would have worked precisely as intended.
Since I was limited on time, I had to cut a corner somewhere. I cooked the onions for nearly the two hours called for (they were amazing!), but only froze the rolled out pastry shell for about 20 min. when the recipe said optimal time was 2 hrs. The fatal flaw here was that once I blind baked the crust, some parts shrunk and collapsed. I was able to do some repair work, but ultimately, I was unable to get a sturdy 2" high crust. This meant that I couldn't fill the shell w/ all the batter. My ratios were off, as I had too much onion, not enough bacon, and just over half of the milk/cream mixture. Even so, it still tasted great.
The flaky crust was really beautiful to touch, smell, and taste on the tongue. I used Plugra (recommended by many hounds) for the first time, and I was struck by the difference. It smelled so rich and buttery and had a very natural flavor. I can't wait to use this more in my baking!
While I can't and don't want to cook like Keller everyday, it was fun entering his world and brain. In my eyes, he is clearly a genius and can make a quiche an "event."