Is a Flamiche a Quiche?

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Is a flamiche a quiche? Or is it a pie? Well, if I told you that flamiche is a Flemish word for cake, would that clear things up? Once upon a time, an old-world flamiche was typically seen wrapped in a yeast-based dough – making it appear a bit more cake-like, I suppose. But in my mind, it’s neither quiche nor pie. A flamiche is a flamiche, and it’s different than a quiche. Unlike most open-faced American-style quiche, a flamiche stays closer to its French roots and often features a top and bottom crust.

Crust aside, the differences between a quiche and a flamiche are subtle (if they exist at all). However, for me, a quiche is best when it’s a true custard – no matter what ingredients or flavors you stir in. In fact, a French quiche is a very precise thing. The result “should tremble as if it were on the verge of collapse”, according to Thomas Keller.

A flamiche on the other hand is far more rustic. It can be sliced and eaten out of hand if you like. It still has egg in it, but the ratio is different – usually just enough egg to bind the ingredients together. I think one egg and one egg yolk is just about right.

In either case, a true flamiche is a specialty of the Picardy region of northern France. I haven’t thought about or thought about making a flamiche in several years. After all, the regional differences between a flamiche, a quiche, a tart and a pie can be altogether too fussy for day-to-day dining. However, a few weeks ago I saw a delicious looking caramelized onion flamiche on Chef Mimi’s blog. She too pondered the question, “Is a Flamiche a Quiche?” So I decided to add this leek version (from my book Savory Pies) to the discussion. GREG

flamiche flamiche

leek and egg flamiche

Leek Flamiche

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6-8Source Savory Pies by Greg HenryPublished
Leek Flamiche

Ingredients

  • chilled pastry dough (enough for a double-crusted tart, divided into 2 discs)
  • all-purpose flour (as needed for rolling)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4-5 leeks (white and light green parts, thinly sliced, about 1 pound after slicing)
  • kosher salt and white pepper
  • 8 ounce semisoft cow’s-milk cheese (such as Port Salut, Morbier, or even fontina, grated)
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 egg yolk (lightly beaten)
  • ¼ cup half and half (plus more for brushing)

Directions

On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll 1 dough disc to an 11 or 12-inch round, a generous 1/8 inch thick. Carefully fold in half, slide onto the rolling pin, and transfer to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Gently press to line the pan without stretching or tearing. Use light pressure to push the dough into the sides, letting the excess drape over. Repair any holes with a bit of extra dough. Chill the dough-lined pan while you make the filling.

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often until the leeks are quite softened but aren’t yet coloring; about 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and a pinch of white pepper. When the cheese is melted, set it aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, and ¼ cup half and half. Stir in the cooled leek mixture and a bit more salt and white pepper. Pour into the lined tart pan and spread evenly across the bottom.

On a freshly floured surface, use a freshly floured rolling pin to roll the remaining chilled dough disc to a large round, a generous 1/8 inch thick. Carefully fold in half, slide onto the rolling pin, and transfer to cover the tart. Press to seal the crust at the edge of the pan; run a rolling pin over the top to neatly trim. Cut a ½-inch hole in the center of the top. Brush the exposed dough with more half and half.

Set on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the heated oven until lightly golden, about 45 minutes. Let rest on a rack at least 10 minutes before removing the tart ring. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

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