Quiche, which is said to have originated in Lorraine, was preceded by such cheese tarts as this 600-year old one, prepared by Taillevent for the Well-Loved King Charles VI of France.
Short pastry (dough made with flour, lard and butter–see my Apple Pie recipe), for a one-crust pie or tart
2 cups of cream
1 tablespoon of flour
4 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Cayenne pepper to-taste
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 cups of shredded or grated Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
Roll short pastry dough and line a pie-plate or pie-pan with it. Make a series of tiny holes all over the dough with a fork. Line the dough with parchment or foil and fill with dry beans, then bake in a hot 425* oven for ten minutes. This step prevents the crust from puffing up during baking. Empty the pie-shell and let it cool.
In a saucepan, cook the cream until it scalds, not quite boiling. Let it cool.
In a large bowl, beat the egg-yolk into the tablespoon of flour. Beat in the two whole eggs, and gradually add the scalded and cooled cream. Beat this mixture until smooth. Add salt, nutmeg, and Cayenne pepper. Spread the Gruyère cheese evenly around the bottom of the crust. Pour the smooth custard from the bowl into the pie shell to cover the cheese. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of butter over the top in little bits. Bake in a moderately hot 375* oven for about forty minutes. If the pie puffs up too much, just pierce it with a fork. Serve Tarte Bourbonnaise warm; this recipe is enough for six people.
~~M-J de Mesterton, April 2009