"Quiche” is probably related to the German word “kuchen,” or cake. A quiche is made of eggs and milk or cream, baked in a pastry crust. A Quiche Lorraine (named from the Lorraine region) includes pieces of bacon.
The word “quiche” is recorded in English from at least 1890, where it was described as a flat round cake “composed of flour, butter, and eggs, with a shade of an onion.” Quiche a la Lorraine is cited in French from at least 1903. New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was serving quiche as a hot hors d’oeuvre by at least the 1930s.
In French cuisine, a quiche (IPA: [ki:ʃ]) is a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables, or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked.
Quiche Lorraine is perhaps the most common variety. In addition to the eggs and cream, it includes bacon or lardons. Cheese is an ingredient of the original Lorraine recipe, as Julia Child informed Americans: “The classic quiche Lorraine contains heavy cream, eggs, bacon, and cheese.” The addition of Gruyère cheese makes a quiche au gruyère or a quiche vosgienne. The addition of onion to quiche Lorraine makes quiche alsacienne.
The word quiche is derived from the Lorraine Franconian dialect of the German language historically spoken in much of the region, where German Kuchen, “cake”, was altered first to “küche”. Typical Allemanic changes unrounded the ü and shifted the palatal “ch” to the spirant “sh”, resulting in “kische”, which in standard French orthography became spelled quiche.
To this day, there is a some German influence on the cuisine of the Lorraine region. The origin of Quiche Lorraine is rural and the original Quiche Lorraine had a rural flair: it was cooked in a cast-iron pan and the pastry edges were not crimped. Today, Quiche Lorraine is served throughout France and has a modern look with a crimped pastry crust. Consumption of Quiche Lorraine is most prevalent in the southern regions of France, where the warm climate lends itself to lighter fare. The current version of Quiche Lorraine served in France does include cheese: either d’emmenthal or gruyere. Unlike the version served in the United States, the bacon is cubed, no onions are added and the custard base is thicker.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
[< French quiche (1805), further etymology uncertain; perhaps related to German Kuchen (see KECHEL n.).
A form guiche is attested slightly earlier (and subsequently in a small number of cookery sources), apparently in the same sense, perhaps showing a misapprehension of the French word, or perhaps reflecting a French regional variant:
1923 X.M. BOULESTIN Simple French Cooking for Eng. Homes 100 (heading) Guiche. Cheese Tart.]
An open flan or tart consisting of a pastry case filled with a savoury mixture of milk, eggs, and other ingredients baked until firm.
Recorded earliest in quiche Lorraine (see quiche Lorraine n. at Compounds).
1925 Indiana (Pa.) Evening Gaz. 4 Dec. 5/3 ‘Quiche Lorraine’ is one of the specialties of this department.
1949 A. L. SIMON Dict. Gastron. 199/1 Quiche, a savoury custard in an open tart, a Lorraine spécialité.
1966 Daily Tel. 18 Oct. 13/5 After a soup..we had a smoked salmon quiche.
1990 House & Garden Aug. 138/1 Artichokes..can be prepared in many..ways; in gratins and quiches (they go beautifully with eggs), and as perfect containers for hot or cold stuffings.
quiche Lorraine n. [< French quiche lorraine (1904 or earlier) < quiche QUICHE n.2 + Lorraine, the name of a region of north-eastern France] a quiche made with bacon or ham.
1925 *Quiche Lorraine [see main sense].
1969 S. BURNFORD Without Reserve v. 180 So we sat in the sun on the dock, eating the quiche Lorraine that Mary had providently packed for just such an occasion.
1993 Homemaker’s Mag. (Toronto) Mar. 64/1 There was nothing to differentiate the nutrition content of the quiche lorraine, say, from the beef dip served alongside.
North France, Lorraine and Alsace, Including the French Bathing Stations on the North Sea, the Mineral Waters of Contrexéville, Vittel, Martigny, Plombières, Luxeuil, Aix-la-Chapelle, Etc.
By Charles Bertram Black
Published by A. and C. Black
... is famous for a round flat cake called Quiche, about a foot in diameter, and composed of flour, butter, and eggs, with a shade of an onion.
1903, Pot-au-feu (Paris), pg. 65:
Quiche a la Lorraine (facon paysanne).
Letters to Young Housekeepers
By Marie de Joncourt
Published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.
Make a short paste, with about 8 ozs. of flour and 2 or 3 eggs, spread it about 1/2 an inch thick on to a tart tin. Put it in the oven for a quarter of an hour…
November 1926, The Caterer and Hotel Proprietor’s Gazette, pg. 37, col. 1:
Then came Quiche Lorraine. It is a sort of ham and eggs pie, prepared after one of M. Escoffier’s 79 ways of preparing ham and (Col. 2—ed.) eggs. This pie was very popular with the doughboys while over in France.
Cook’s Tour of European Kitchens:
The Best Continental Dishes Suited to an English Table
By K. and M. con Schumacher
London: Chatto & Windus
Pg. 26 ("France The Gourmet’s Paradise"):
25. Mix together 1 lb. of flour, 6 oz. of butter, 2 eggs, salt, and enough water (about a glass) to obtain a smooth paste. Work it well. Roll out 1/2 inch thick. Spread on your tart tin and raise the edge about 1 inch all round.
Fry 2 or 3 fine rashers of fat bacon lightly in butter and cut them into small pieces. Put them on your paste.
Beat up 3 eggs and mix them with a cupful of grated Parmesan cheese and enough cream to fill the tart to the edge. Place small pieces of butter here and there and bake 30 to 40 minutes.
Along the Wine Trail
by G.Selmer Fougner
New York, NY: New York Sun
Croustade de Quiche Lorraine
Cheese custard with diced fried bacon, chopped onions, chives and parsley.
Bake in crust.
December 1937, House Beautiful, pg. 110, col. 2:
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (NYC).
One of Oscar’s hot hors d’oeuvre which would be simple to prepare at home for a cocktail party is made in this way: To a quart of boiling milk add a half pound of diced bacon and Swiss cheese. Mix three egg yolks, season and cook in a round or square pan mold till it is the consistency of a rarebit. Then cut to the size wanted and serve hot. The name is Quiche.
February 1939, International Steward, pg. 6, col. 1:
Then Again, an Onion Pie in Alsace Lorraine…
“Ah...She Ess Deeeferent”
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The first thing on the menu is the famous “Onion Pie” or Quiche Lorraine—an Alsace Lorraine dish. I would like to explain about this onion pie and anyone who thinks he does not like onions, I advise him to try this dish. This dish is usually eaten in the winter times, around the holidays. It is made in the southern part of Germany and some parts of France. The recipe for one pie is:
One and a half punds onions smothered in 5 strips bacon cut in dice and a little butter. The onions are smothered until practically done. Then take 3 whole eggs, 1 cup milk, a little salt, a little nutmeg, 1 level tablespoon flour, and a little sugar. When onions are done, mix with eggs beaten with milk and flour, mix all together, and put into raw pie crusts made according to any recipe. Crust is rolled out, put into tin, folded a little on border, mixture put into it, and baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. It should be eaten good and hot.
December 1948, Gourmet pg. 89:
October 1965, Farm Journal, pg. 84:
If you’ve never eaten or made a quiche (pronounced keesh), I think you’ll welcome an introduction to this versatile dish from rural France. The most famous version is the Quiche Lorraine, an open-faced pie with an eggy, buttery crust and a filling of cheese and bacon in an unsweetened custard.