Quiche in America

“It seems odd that this very special pie, traditional in France, was so long in gaining popularity in America.” ~Craig Claiborne, The New York Times Cook Book 1961

The savory French quiche, made up of eggs and cream baked in a pastry shell has been around for centuries. The Germans have had zwiebelkuchen, their beloved bacon and onion pie for generations. And the Italians have created egg-based fritatas with varieties of meats, vegetables and cheeses for hundreds of years. Even the British serve up cheese and onion pie. Indeed, America has been slow to catch on to savory custard pies.

quiche_003[1]Armed with a stack of twentieth-century cookbooks, I began exploring the evolution of quiche in America. I found quiche-like recipes with generic-sounding names scattered through various sections of the cookbooks. For example, the earliest quiche-like recipe that I found,  had the unassuming name of Cheese Custard Pie printed in The Joy of Cooking 1931 cookbook, located in the “Eggs…Luncheon and Supper Dishes” section. A simple recipe —  it calls for three fourths cup hot scalded top milk (meaning the cream that has risen to the top of un-homogonized milk) in which a cup of grated cheese is melted. Two eggs are then whisked into the cheesy mixture, along with some salt and cayenne pepper. The filling is poured into a 9″ pastry shell, dusted with paprika and baked at 325* for 45 minutes and  is to be served “very hot”.

Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook 1959

In a cookbook published nearly thirty years later, I discovered a recipe similar to quiche printed in Farm Journal’s 1959 Country Cookbook in the “Milk and Cheese” section — simply called Cheese Pie. The recipe includes shredded Swiss cheese, minced onion, eggs and heavy cream baked in an 8 inch pastry shell at 400* for ten minutes, then reduced to 300* for 40 minutes. It is to be served as an entree.



With GIs returning home after World War II and establishing homes and families, mid-

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 1953

century America was a time of optimism and increasing prosperity. Entertaining in the home was in vogue, and housewives hosted bridge parties, cocktail parties, and dinner parties, creating an interest in appetizer and hors d’oeuvre recipes. The American Everyday Cookbook 1955 lists Savory Tartlets in the “Appetizers” section. These quiche-like tarts are baked in “half-dollar-size tart pans” lined with pastry and filled with eggs, cream and bacon, and seasoned with salt, pepper and dry mustard.

In the trendsetting, The New York Times Cook Book 1961, the term “quiche” finally appears. Printed in the “Appetizer” section, the cookbook presents recipes for three different types of quiche, prefaced with an explanation of sorts:

“A rich custard with cheese and bacon, it may be served either as an appetizer or a main luncheon dish.”~Craig Claiborne, New York Times Cook Book 1961

The popular Quiche Lorraine,  named for the Lorraine region of France (formerly of Germany), includes salt-pork or bacon for flavor. In The Times’ cookbook, the recipe for Quiche Lorraine calls for eggs, cream, bacon and cheese, suggesting cubed Swiss or Gruyere and Parmesan. Thinly slice onion sauteed in a little bacon fat is included, with salt, pepper and nutmeg for seasoning. The Crabmeat Quiche recipe calls for fresh or canned crabmeat, with celery, onion and parsley to be  combined with the eggs and cream. Bay Scallops Quiche calls for 3/4 pound bay scallops, sauteed onion and celery with the eggs and cream to be seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Each quiche is baked in a nine-inch pastry shell.

food photography of sliced bacon on top of brown chopping board

In the “Cheese” section of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook 1963, the recipe for Quiche Lorraine calls for twelve slices of bacon (Yum!) and grated Swiss cheese, suggesting that it be served as a luncheon or dinner main dish, or cut into thin slices and served as  “Nibbler” Lorraine.  Quiche Louisiane (not to be mistaken for Quiche Lorraine) omits the bacon and substitutes one cup shelled cooked shrimp tossed with two tablespoons of chili sauce and a dash of Tabasco. A Quiche Manhattan recipe substitutes the bacon for 1 cup cubed ham, Canadian bacon, chopped cooked beef tongue or two tablespoons snipped anchovy fillets. Finally, Good Housekeeping’s Switzerland Cheese-And-Onion Pie is a nod to Germany’s traditional bacon and onion pie and is to be served for “lunch, supper or an evening snack”.

In Mary Meade’s Modern Homemaker Cookbook 1966 in the “Eggs Cheese and Luncheon Dishes” section of the book, I found another recipe for Cheese-and-Onion Pie. Said to be:

“A close relative of the popular Quiche Lorraine, this delicacy makes an excellent luncheon dish”. ~Ruth Ellen Church, Mary Meade’s Modern Homemaker Cookbook 1966

So similar, Quiche Lorraine and Cheese-and-Onion Pie could be twin sisters, with both pies calling for cooked, crumbled bacon, eggs, milk or cream and cheese, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. The only difference  between the two is the amount of onion called for in each recipe (the Cheese and Onion Pie calls for two full cups of sliced sauteed onions). Ham and Egg Pie covertly placed in the “Meat” section of Mary Meade’s Modern Homemaker Cookbook 1966, presents a cheese-less quiche-like pie made with minced ham to be sliced thin and served as an appetizer.

My Simply Gourmet 1978 cookbook  features a recipe for Spinach Quiche in theIMG_5337 “Vegetables” section. Sometimes called Quiche Florentine — it has become a classic. Two pounds of fresh spinach, blanched, chopped and sauteed with minced scallions in butter is added to the basic egg and cream mixture. A little Gruyere with salt, pepper and nutmeg round out the ingredients. The quiche is baked in a ten-inch pastry-lined dish and served warm.

In spite of its slow start, by the 1970s Americans had fully embraced quiche, creating recipes with a plethora of ingredients from mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, zucchini and potatoes along with distinct cheeses including goat cheese and feta.

mothers day
Mother’s Day Brunch

Not only did quiche come to light during the twentieth-century, but the concept of brunch became fashionable in America as well. A blend of the words  breakfast and lunch —  brunch has become a light mid-morning to early-afternoon meal associated with the gathering of friends and family, such as  Sunday brunch. Holidays including Easter and Mother’s Day are celebrated over brunch as well, often featuring quiche.

IMG_5376 (2)
Jarlsberg Quiche

My Mother’s Day Brunch menu consists of crust-less Jarlsberg Quiche (Jarlsberg is a mild Swiss-like cheese produced in Norway, but is readily available in America), a variety of muffins served along with fruit and yogurt parfaits. Its been our family tradition for years. I have also used this menu when hosting bridal and baby showers. And it works well as a new-mommy meal. Enjoy!


Jarlsberg Quiche

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1-1/4 cup 4% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 5 eggs

  • 1/2 lb Jarlsberg cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350* (325* for a glass pan). Lightly spray a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Whisk in milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook and stir for two minutes or until mixture is thick; set white sauce aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, baking powder, dry mustard and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  4. In large bowl, blend cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing with each addition (mixture will be lumpy). Stir in cottage cheese mixture and cooled white sauce.
  5. Fold in shredded Jarlsberg cheese and Parmesan.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pie dish and bake for 35 — 40 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between the edge and center of the quiche comes out clean (OR test the center of the quiche with a thermometer for a  desired temperature of 170*).
  7. Allow quiche to set for 15 minutes before serving.

Option: Several strips of bacon can be cooked crisp, crumbled and folded into the quiche mixture with the shredded cheese. Cooked finely diced ham may also be added.

Note: Quiche can be prepared a day in advance. Bake as directed and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature or reheat in the oven before serving.

Recipe Compliments of cookbooklady.com

A Platter Full of Deviled Eggs

My recent cookbook reading has me focused on deviled eggs — those rich, creamy ovals  of savory goodness that speak to us of Easter egg hunts and summer picnics.

A Dollop of Mayonnaise

A Dollop of Mayonnaise

In today’s kitchen, mayonnaise is the prescribed ingredient to moisten and bind mashed egg yolks for  Deviled Eggs, but the more recipes  I read, the more I wonder if this has always been the case, and if not, what did home cooks use instead. For a little background, I looked into the history of mayonnaise and I learned that Richard Hellmann, a German immigrant and entrepreneur, opened a delicatessen in New York City at the turn of the last century. It turns out that his salads were very popular due to his amazing dressing. Soon customers were asking to buy just the mayonnaise for use at home. This led Hellmann to leave the deli business and begin mass producing his dressing and selling it in glass jars with a blue bow on the label. Around 1915 the distribution of the still popular Hellmann’s/Best Foods mayonnaise began.  When the product became widely available I can’t say, but I imagine most rural home cooks continued making their own mayonnaise for a number of years after that, or used something else instead.

When I came across a Deviled Egg recipe from the early to mid-twentieth century that called for mayonnaise, I also perused the mayo recipe. They were eye opening. Never having made homemade mayonnaise myself, I realized that the task was tedious indeed, especially before high-speed electric blenders, mixers and immersion blenders were in every kitchen.

Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners by Elizabeth O. Hiller 1913
Fifty Two Sunday Dinners 1913 Mayonnaise Dressing Recipe

My earliest twentieth-century cookbook, Fifty Two Sunday Dinners 1913 (above), includes an extra fancy deviled egg recipe that we will look at later, and a basic recipe for mayonnaise dressing. Its interesting that the recipe calls specifically for olive oil, a product that is ancient yet current at the same time, and that the mayo is to be beaten by hand, one-drop-of-oil-at-a-time, a process that could seemingly take forever.

Modern Meal Maker by Martha Meade 1939

Another mayonnaise recipe, this one from Martha Meade’s book Modern Meal Maker 1939, suggests that a cook begin the mayo making process by thoroughly combining a cooked egg yolk and a raw egg yolk, then adding salad oil a tablespoon at a time using a hand-cranked rotary beater.

Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer 1985

The classic Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer 1985 (above) is the most comprehensive of my twentieth century cookbooks in instructing home cooks on the art of making mayonnaise. The book includes three different methods, each requiring varying amounts of elbow grease.

The first recipe calls for raw egg yolks, vinegar or lemon juice and salad oil added drop by drop with dry mustard, cayenne and confectioners sugar (yes, confectioners sugar) for flavor, stirring all the while by hand.

The second recipe is the same as the first except that the ingredients are combined using an electric mixer.

Finally, the third recipe recommends  a whole raw egg and using an electric blender to emulsify the ingredients. Recognizing that the process of making mayonnaise is long and intense, Ms. Rombauer prompts her readers not to despair. She also advises home cooks to avoid making mayonnaise when a thunderstorm threatens as the ingredients will never emulsify. Who knew?

The Household Searchlight Recipe Book 1944

The most unusual mayonnaise dressing recipe that I  found  was in my grandmother’s The Household Searchlight Recipe Book 1944 (above) calling for sweetened condensed milk instead of egg yolks, combined with mustard, vinegar, oil and paprika. Seriously! Who doesn’t love sweetened condensed milk, however, I have never used it in a savory application.

Dairy and Mayonnaise


Not only were home cooks of yesteryear using mayonnaise in their stuffed eggs, but I discovered that many were using dairy products along with or instead of mayonnaise to moisten the egg yolks.

The Good Housekeeping Cookbook 1963

For example, in The Good Housekeeping Cookbook of 1963 the recipe for Deviled Eggs says to blend melted butter OR mayonnaise into the mashed yolks.

On the following page, a recipe for Stuffed Eggs De Luxe calls for mayonnaise OR cooked salad dressing. A quick check in the index led me to a fairly typical recipe for homemade mayonnaise and a recipe for Cooked or Boiled Salad Dressing which is made by preparing a rich white sauce with egg and milk, seasoned with salt, sugar, prepared mustard and vinegar and finished with a pat of butter.  I think it actually sounds pretty tasty. Even though it has to be cooked 10–15 minutes and then cooled before using, it seems like it might be easier to make than mayonnaise.

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book 1950

Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book 1950 (above) has a Deviled Egg recipe with three options to dress the yolks — salad dressing (Is this referring to Miracle Whip?), vinegar OR cream. American Woman’s Cook Book 1966 suggests mixing buttermilk with the mashed yolks.

Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer 1985

Referring back to the Joy of Cooking cookbook 1985, we find the widest variety of dressing options for Deviled Eggs:

The first option listed, french dressing, I have a hunch, is referring to a vinaigrette-type dressing, so called since the mid-1800s, as opposed to the sweet, catsup-based, pourable dressing developed by Kraft in the 1920s, but either one could be delicious.

The next dressing suggestions are sweet cream or cultured sour cream. Sweet cream is the thick, fatty molecules that rise to the top of milk that has not been homogenized, whereas, cultured sour cream is a commercially prepared dairy product made from cream to which a bacterial culture is added to create a thick, tangy product that is sold in stores to be dolloped on top of everything from tacos to baked potatoes and evidently, mixed into egg yolks.

Final options: soft butter with vinegar and sugar would be interesting to try. Then there is my mother and grandmother’s secret ingredient — sweet pickle juice — mixed with store-bought mayonnaise, of course.

Deviled Eggs with a Flair

Home cooks hosting a party may want Deviled Eggs to look a little fancy. In my research, I found several recipes suggesting ways to do just that:

The New York Time Cook Book by Craig Claiborne 1961

Craig Claiborne’s book The New York Times Cook Book 1961 (above) recommends binding the yolks with a room temperature butter and mayonnaise combination. He then suggests two methods for filling the egg white divots in an attractive way  using a piping bag:

Design number one is achieved by slicing the hard-cooked eggs lengthwise and using a star tip in a piping bag to fill the egg whites with dressed yolks using a back and forth motion creating a “Turk’s Head” appearance (his words not mine).

Claiborne’s other design is created by cutting the hard-cooked eggs in half width-wise, then filling the divots using a pastry bag with a round tip, piping the yolk in a spiral pattern coming to a peak at the center.

Similarly, Joy of Cooking 1985 suggests cutting the eggs width-wise at both ends creating a barrel-shaped Deviled Egg that will stand on its own.

Watercress and Egg Salad

Speaking of barrel-shaped eggs, this Deviled Egg recipe from Fifty Two Sunday Dinners 1913 (above) recommends cutting eggs in half crosswise in a manner that tops of whites will be notched (think a chevron or zig-zag pattern). Once the yolks have been dressed, shaped into a ball, dipped in chopped parsley and carefully placed back in the white, the finished egg will resemble a white tulip with a green center. Place a prepared egg in a nest of water cress with a vinaigrette dressing and you have Watercress and Egg Salad. Extra fancy indeed!

Add-Ins and Add-Ons

Its been said “the devil is in the details” and in the case of Deviled Eggs this seems to be true. Cookbook after twentieth century cookbook lists ingredients that can be added to dressed yolks or sprinkled, flaked or dolloped on top. For example:

Herbs, Spices and Seasonings: paprika — the most frequently called for, cayenne, curry, chives, tarragon, chervil, parsley, basil, oregano, burnet (Google it), horseradish, minced onion, chopped ginger, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce or catsup.

Pickles and Such: dill pickles, sweet pickles, capers, black olives, stuffed green olives or  truffles.

Meats and Cheeses: Bleu cheese, Roquefort cheese, Cheddar, cream cheese, minced ham or beef tongue, crumbled bacon, sauteed chicken livers or foie gras.

Fish and Seafood: anchovy paste, sardine paste, smoked salmon, flaked tuna, lobster or crab meat, shrimp or caviar.

Finally, the most surprising add-in of all was suggested in my grandmother’s The Household Searchlight Recipe Book 1944 in a Stuffed Egg recipe that calls for six hard-cooked eggs. The mashed yolks are  mixed with a little mayonnaise, prepared mustard, vinegar, salt, paprika and ground raisins. Yes, one-third cup ground raisins blended into the yolk mixture and scooped back into the egg whites. Yikes! I wonder if my grandmother ever tried that recipe.

I hope you have enjoyed our cookbook journey. Its apparent that home cooks have been making Deviled Eggs for at least a hundred years and I’m positive we will continue on into the next century. I have included my own tried and true Deviled Egg recipe below. Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs, cooled and peeled
  • 6 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp brine from stuffed green olives or rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp Gulden’s brown mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Dash of ground pepper
  • Sprinkling of smoked paprika for garnish


  1. Slice hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks into a medium–size bowl. Set egg whites aside.
  2. Mash yolks with a fork. Add mayonnaise, brine or vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper to the yolks and cream ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Using a one inch scoop (#60), drop a spoonful of prepared yolk mixture into the divot of each egg white.
  4. Sprinkle eggs with a pinch of smoked paprika. Cover and refrigerate until service. Enjoy!

Recipe Compliments of cookbooklady.com