Originating in France, ham quiche loraine is made with bacon and cheese. This low carb version uses ham, caramelized onions, Gouda and a unique low carb crust to create a beautiful presentation.
The other day at the store, I bought a 21 pound ham for $6.00. No, that’s not a typo – six dollars. Needless to say, it was a lot of ham for a family of four. What did I do with all of that ham? I made a hearty low carb ham and green bean soup, three beautiful low carb quiches, we enjoyed ham with our eggs in the morning with breakfast, and I made ham croquettes. There will be some nice recipes coming up in the next few weeks.
I remember when I first started a low carb lifestyle; never a breakfast eater unless it was cereal or toast, I was at a loss. Fried, poached or scrambled eggs have never been my thing, so I was thankful when my husband suggested that I make a quiche. The first few crustless quiches I made were boring, made with left over veggies from the fridge and cheddar cheese, but I soon found that I loved bacon spinach quiche and ate that almost every day for a very long time. Now, I’m branching out.
This quiche originates from the Lorraine region of France where it is typically made with bacon, onions and a custard of eggs, milk, cream and cheese. Quiche Lorraine became really popular when I was a kid and I remember it served at brunches and Ladies Luncheons. I also remember my mother making Quiche Lorraine and my father teasing that it was too unmanly for him to eat! This version is made with ham instead of bacon and has a gluten-free, grain-free almond crust flavored with thyme. I like the play between the salty ingredients of ham and cheese against the sweet caramelized onions. A little nutmeg adds a nice dimension to the custard and gives it a more sophisticated flavor.
After preparing the low carb quiche crust for the three beautiful low carb quiches I made this week, I have worked out the best procedure for putting it into the spring form pan. The crust is totally optional and the carbs will be lower if it’s left off, but it makes for an impressive brunch if kept. I want to provide the recipe and method for this thyme infused crust for when the occasion for a fancy quiche demands.
Now, this is a low carb crust, NOT a flaky wheat pastry crust. It will be different, but it still is delicious. The recipe looks long but this is not a difficult dish to prepare — it just has several steps. Break it up if you like. I would suggest caramelizing the vegetables and making the crust the day before, then assembling the next day.
Crustless for 10: Calories 255, Fat 22, Carbohydrates 4, Fiber 1, Protein 10
Crustless for 8: Calories 319, Fat 28, Carbohydrates 5, Fiber 1, Protein 13
Ham Quiche Lorraine With Caramelized Onions & Gouda
Low Carb Thyme Crust
- 4 ounces onion
- 4 ounces fennel bulb or more onion
- 8 ounces ham
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoons green onion
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk or water
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 8 ounces Gouda cheese I like smoked
- Measure the dry ingredients for the Thyme Crust into a smallish bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk to incorporate ingredients and break up any lumps. In a smaller bowl, blend the egg with a fork, then add them to the dry ingredients mixing until a dough forms. Refrigerate until it's needed.
- Slice the fennel thinly and place into a medium non-stick frying pan. Cut the onion in half from root to sprout end. Peel and slice into thin half rounds. Add the onions to the fennel, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and turn the pan on medium-high until the veggies begin to sizzle. Stir to coat them in the oil. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer them, covered, until soft - the heat will need to be reduced during the simmering. While the fennel and onions are simmering, chop the ham.
- Cut a piece of parchment and trace around the bottom of a spring-form pan and cut the circle out. Cut two strips of parchment to line the sides of the pan, too. Spray the bottom of the spring-form pan and fit the parchment circle on it. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Roll one half of the dough between two pieces of parchment the same diameter as the bottom of the spring-form pan. Transfer the round of dough to the prepared spring form pan and position. Trim off any excess. Spray the ring portion of the pan and attach it to the bottom. Add the strips of parchment along the inside. Roll out the other portion of dough into a rectangle and cut it down the middle lengthwise with a knife. Remove sections of the dough and place it along the inside of the pan - pressing and patching as you go. Trim the top evenly to about 3/4 of an inch from the top. Use any extra dough to patch any holes. Put the thyme crust into the refrigerator.
- Check to see if the fennel and onions are soft. Then, uncover and cook gently until the fennel and onions begin to brown. Remove to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and brown the chopped ham. Add to the fennel and onions. Cool a bit. Grate the cheese and reserve 1/4 to sprinkle on top of the quiche before it goes into the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and place the rack in the lower third. To the same bowl as the cooled ham and vegetables, add the ingredients for the custard, adding the cheese last. Blend together with a hand mixer and pour into the spring-form pan. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Place into the oven and bake for almost an hour. Remove from the oven when there is barely a wiggle in the middle for a properly cooked quiche. I prefer to wait until the top is nice and brown and the quiche is thoroughly cooked. To each his own.
- When the quiche is done, remove it from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before removing the sides.