Crab & Tarragon Quiche


A French quiche is all about the custard. With a texture as delicate as creme caramel, you can’t help but be seduced by its luxurious mouth-feel. This is a quiche that compels you to slow down and savour each bite. Not to be confused with the standard catch-all quiche—while good and easy to prepare—the two are not the same.

This recipe is straightforward but takes a bit of planning. The pastry is pre-baked and the custard is firmed in the fridge, preferably overnight.

In my kitchen, anything that can be cooked in advance is company-worthy. This quiche doesn’t disappoint.

Crab & Tarragon Quiche

Serves About 4


■ 1 recipe Flaky Pastry
■ 6 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
■ 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
■ 1/2 cup onion, finely diced, about half an onion
■ 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced, about half a pepper
■ Kosher salt
■ 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
■ 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
■ 1 tsp white wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
■ 2 oz Black Forest ham, finely chopped, about 2 slices deli ham
■ 4 ounces cooked crab, shelled and picked over
■ 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish
■ 1 3/4 cups whipping cream, room temperature
■ 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
■ 5 whole eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
■ 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Special Equipment

■ You’ll need a 9 1/2 inch cake pan lined with parchment paper with a few inches of overhang (to easily remove the quiche from the pan).  Note: if your cake pan is smaller or larger than specified, you’ll need to adjust the custard and baking time accordingly.

TIP: To quickly bring cold cream and milk to room temperature, combine them in a microwaveable bowl or glass jug and microwave briefly. To bring cold eggs to room temperature quickly, place them (in their shell) in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F.


Prepare the pastry dough according the instructions. Make sure the cake pan is lined with enough excess parchment: you’ll need to lift the quiche from the pan by grabbing hold of the parchment.Roll the dough ⅛ inch thick and transfer it to the parchment-lined cake pan with enough excess pastry to spill over the pan, as pictured (this prevents the pastry from shrinking). The excess pastry will be trimmed after it’s baked. Use your fingers to gently press the dough along the pan’s base and sides to maintain its shape. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes.

Replace the plastic wrap with parchment paper, then fill the pan to the top with rice, beans, or pie weights. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375°F and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and sprinkle the base with about half the Parmesan cheese. Bake until the pastry is golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes longer, covering the edges with foil if necessary, to prevent burning. Cool completely in the pan. Using a serrated knife, trim the excess dough from the cooled pastry shell.


Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onion, bell pepper, and ½ tsp kosher (or table) salt. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally to prevent burning. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the chili flakes, white wine vinegar (or lemon juice), ham, crab, and tarragon. Mix to combine and set aside to cool completely.In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine the eggs, milk, and whipping cream with 1¼ tsp of kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt). Mix until well combined.


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place the cooled, pre-baked pastry shell (still in its parchment-lined cake pan) on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

To ensure the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the custard, the filling is layered as follows: Spread half the cooled vegetable/crab mixture along the base of the tart. Sprinkle with half the Gruyère cheese and the balance of Parmesan cheese. Pour half the cream/egg mixture on top.

Add the remaining vegetable/crab mixture, followed by the cream/egg mixture and remaining Gruyère. Garnish with additional tarragon leaves, if desired.

Bake in a preheated 325°F oven until the centre is softly set and still slightly jiggly in the centre, about 60-70 minutes. Turn the pan once during baking and cover with foil when the top is well browned.

Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate (still in its parchment-lined cake pan) for several hours, preferably overnight.

When completely cooled, lift the quiche from the cake pan by grabbing hold of the parchment edges. Bring to room temperature (or rewarm in a 275°F oven).

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