Here's a savory pie that's great for brunch or a side dish for dinner.
- 1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cubed and chilled
- 1/4 cup (4oz) cream cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
- About 2lb fresh spinach, stemmed and cooked until wilted
- 3 10oz packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 eggs -- 2 for the filling and the 3rd to finish the pie
- 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese*
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 lb ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (optional)
- *My store only had a 15oz container, which worked out just fine.
PREPARING THE CRUST
The original recipe used a food processor; however, call me a Luddite but I prefer to do it by hand. I like to see the chunks of butter/cheese in the dough.
Mix the flour and salt.
Drop in the butter cubes then chunks of cheese, making sure each piece gets coated with the flour mixture.
Using a pastry knife, cut in the butter and cheese, breaking it down into [more like flattened] pea-sized bits.
Drizzle in cream and use a spatula to work the dough, bringing it together. If necessary, get your hands in there.
As soon as it comes together, divide the dough and shape into flat disks.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Preheat oven to 350°.
If using fresh spinach, chop it up.
Here's the most crucial part of this recipe...wringing out the spinach. Using a cheesecloth, you're going to want to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. The end result will be something that look like a firm, green soft ball. Skimp on this step and you're gonna get a soggy crust.
Over medium heat, sauté the onions in the oil until translucent. Set aside to cool.
In large bowl, combine TWO eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Once combined, add the remaining filling ingredients.
Take out one disk of dough and roll out to fit your pie pan.
Line the pan with your dough and trim excess, about 1/2 inch past the edge of the pan.
Park your pan in your fridge to keep it chilled as you work the remaining dough.
Take out the second disk of dough and roll it out.
Retrieve your lined pie pan and spread the filling evenly.
Place the rolled out dough on top and trim the excess, about 1/4 inch past the bottom.
Fold over the edges and crimp decoratively.
Cut vents in the top crust.
Scramble the last egg and add a few drops of water.
Brush egg over the top of the crust.
Bake for an hour. If necessary, wrap edges with foil midway to prevent over-browning.
Cool for 10 minutes then serve.