The Guilty Pleasure: Quiche Lorraine Where To Get It: Amuse Bouche, Bell Road and Cotton Lane, Surprise The Price: $9.99 What It Really Costs: Pick your favorite. A) This ain't diet food. B) In case you missed it the first time (unless you live in Glendale or Peoria): Bell Road and Cotton Lane. C) How much are Spring Training tickets at the Surprise Stadium?
I love to cook. I like to think I'm a fairly accomplished home cook. I do Thai curry instead of Hamburger Helper. I consider a cheese soufflé a perfect Thursday night dinner. (Seriously, it's almost as easy as macaroni and cheese. Make bechamel sauce, stir in cheese, fold in beaten egg whites, bake until puffed, everyone oohs and aahs.) There's one dish that has managed to consistently vex me.
The filling is a snap. You take heavy cream, beat in just enough eggs that it will stand upright once baked, and pour it over the fillings of your choice. The bit that gets me is prebaking the damned crust. Every freaking time, it shrinks like a cashmere sweater in the dryer. Besides, the whole process from making the crust to letting it chill to the proper texture takes so long that you have to make the quiche the day before you want to eat it. So, I love knowing a place that makes a great quiche when I want some instant gratification.
There's one problem with this idea. Great quiches are few and far between. Whoever convinced Americans that quiche should be made in a pie dish did us a great disservice. It should be baked in a deep pan. And while you're at it, make sure there's not too much egg. It should be a quivering custard, not a frittata in a pie crust. It figures, damn near nobody in town knows how to make 'em right.
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I almost curse getting to chat with the other Chow Bella writers. Last summer when I was discussing my baking misadventures, Laura Hahnefeld told me about incredible quiche, with a catch. It's at Amuse Bouche, all the way the hell out in Surprise. After trying to get out there for months, a window of opportunity finally opened, so off I went to the western hinterlands.
You know what? It's truly the best quiche I've had in town. Hell, I'd say it's just about the best quiche I've ever had. It was so soft that it could barely stand upright, with a texture closer to panna cotta than the ubiquitous overcooked quiches that dot the American brunch landscape. I want to send brunch cooks out here just to show them this quiche and tell them "Look, this is how you're supposed to make the damn thing, capisce?
Now if only it wasn't 45 minutes each way from Chow Bella HQ. As long as I'm free for an extra-long lunch, I'd say it's worth the trip. Or, I can make it a double guilty pleasure, and skip the rest of the day to catch a Spring Training game at the nearby Surprise Stadium.