A few notable dishes seem to engage us from a different time zone.

Although celebrity chefs seem unable to resist adding their ‘riff’ on original recipes, some dishes just taste pleasantly old-fashioned. This one embodies a time before fusion and crossover cuisine, a time when, as a household, you ate what you produced. In most smallholdings, eggs were in abundance, and no one has embraced the range of egg cookery as empirically as the French.

And up there near the apex is a quiche, and the finest expression of this predominately egg tart is a Quiche Lorraine.

As Simon Hopkinson writes in The Prawn Cocktail Years, “The matchless flavours result from the exactness of ingredients in Quiche Lorraine, which should not therefore be tampered with”. Hear! Hear!

On a very brief luncheon stop between train connections in Paris, our son sped us to a pavement café in St Germain des Pres that he had found during an earlier visit to the city. Although the 6th arrondissement houses some noteworthy restaurants, this little gem seemed to be perfectly art directed for an amusing cityscape shot in François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1962). All pavement furniture and gingham, with bread rolls, Pernod ashtray and Duralex glasses discreetly slipped on to the table the moment we sat down. Lunchtime menus were predictably truncated, à la carte was clearly reserved for the evening crowd. Two courses, one tumbler of house wine, one bread roll per head – a blissfully reduced choice. And that choice was a generous segment of Quiche Lorraine with a tossed green salad. The house Chardonnay washed it down so perfectly that I missed desert in my reverie and only came round when coffee arrived. The Quiche was one of the best I’ve eaten and it has not yet been surpassed in any of my subsequent visits to France. However, I’m fortunate to be able to repeat that experience at home thanks to this perfectly correct recipe from Simon. I even bought a pack of Duralex glasses to boot, although waterproof gingham seems so much harder to come by these days and the rasp of a passing Deux Chevaux is rarely heard in my part of North Norfolk.

Quiche Lorraine from The Prawn Cocktail Years (1997) by Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham

Serves 6

For the pastry

100g plain flour

50g butter, cut into cubes

A pinch of salt

1-2 tbsp of iced water

1 egg yolk

A little beaten egg or spare egg white

For the filling

8-10 rashers of rindless, smoked streaky bacon (Italian pancetta is superb)

4 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

500 ml double cream

Salt and much pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

To make the pastry, blend together the flour, butter and salt in a food processor until it resembles course breadcrumbs and tip into a large roomy bowl

Gently mix in the water and egg yolk with cool hands until the pastry is well amalgamated

Put into a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4

Roll out the pastry as thinly as possible and use it to line a greased 20cm wide x 4cm deep tart tin and bake blind for 15-20 minutes

Brush the inside of the pastry case with a little beaten egg or spare egg white, which will form a seal and prevent any leeks

Put back in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until it is well cooked through

Turn down the oven to325°F/170°C/gas mark 3

In a non-stick frying pan lightly fry the bacon until it’s beginning to crisp and some of the fat has run out

Drain it on kitchen paper and spread it out evenly over the base of the cooked tart case

Whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs, stir in the cream and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg

Pour the custard into the case and cook for 30-40 minutes until set

Wine thoughts

Simply put, if you can lay hands on one, a German Riesling is the perfect candidate here.

Unlike France, the unyielding efficiency of German wine laws tend to focus on grape ripeness rather than geographic notions, such as terroir or the strict categorisation of vineyards. So for stunning German whites, and they are myriad, look across the baffling gothic labyrinth of their labels for the term QmP Qualitätswein mit Prädikat or ‘quality wine with distinction’. Not to be confused with QbA Qualitätswin bestimmter Anbaugebiet ‘quality wine from a designated region’, often unripe wines which have had sweet grape concentrate added; such as the spectre of late ’60’s bistros – Liebfraumilch. One final hurdle is to separate Halbtroken (medium dry) from Trocken (dry)

If you’re with me so far, then your well deserved reward is to partner this originally Tutonic tart from Alsace-Lorraine with a QbA Riesling Trocken; preferably from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region. Apart from a green salad little else would be needed for a simply assembled feast, well maybe you could pipe it in with one of Bach’s lighter solo instrumentals on the CD player whilst the cork is being pulled.