This is the main course lunch pie I make for my Paddock Picnic guests. It’s pretty simple, hearty and yet light and a mighty flavoursome vegetarian dish. I have also made Gluten Free and meat-eater versions so use your imagination and add whatever takes your fancy.
This recipe will make one large 23cm or four small 11cm spring form cake tins and will generously feed 8 people served with a fresh green side salad.
Ingredients for the shortcrust pastry
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour (Spelt flour if wanting GF)
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 120gm cubes of cold butter
- 1 chilled egg
- a little iced water
Ingredients for the pie filling
- 1 bunch of green shallots, finely sliced and chopped
- 215gm blanched and squeezed spinach, silverbeet, chard or whatever green leaves. Blanching method below. Cheat and use store bought frozen if you wish.
- zest from 2 lemons, oranges or any citrus.
- 200gm danish feta cheese crumbled into largish chunks
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green herbs- parsley, thyme, basil or whatever
- 9 large eggs
- 230ml pouring cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
How to make it
Pastry is first and can be done the day before and stored in the fridge.
Place the flour, seeds and salt in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds.
Add the cold cubes of butter and pulse with the flour mix until it resembles a fine crumb texture.
Add the egg and pulse again until it just comes together, if it doesn’t, add little sips of the iced water until it does.
Divide the pastry into 4 equal blobs (if using small tins) or leave as a single blob and hand shape into a fat disk. Wrap them closely with cling film.
Pop the pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until you are ready to roll it out. Overnight in is fine.
When you are ready to bake the pies, preheat the oven at 180 Deg. and lightly grease the tin/s making sure to do all up the sides of the tin.
Blanch your green leaves by dunking into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, drain and cool under running cold water. Tightly squeeze the excess water from the greens and thinly slice and chop them. Or DEFROST your store bought spinach.
In a large bowl add ingredients 1 to 5 and mix gently but throughly, try not to crush the feta chunks into mush too much.
In another bowl, beat together ingredients 6 to 10.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and let soften for 5+ minutes and roll out on a baking-paper covered bench until about 3mm thick. Sit your tin lightly on the pastry and trace a circle slightly larger than the base. Cut out and place in the bottom of the tin. I then cut wide strips of pastry to further cover the tin walls. Try to use as few separate pieces as possible but a patchwork effect, pressed and joined with fingers is perfectly fine and adds to the rustic look. Return the pastry lined tins to the fridge while you complete the filling.
Add the egg mixture to the greens mixture bowl and fold with a spatula until well combined. Fill your chilled and firm pastry-lined tin with ladles of the filling, up to a minimum of 1cm from the top lip edge. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden and it very slightly wobbles when touched in the middle. Let it settle and cool while you toss your salad and then serve whole at the table, because it looks so good. Let your guests do the serving.
Or cool completely and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost and bake again for another 20-25 minutes.
With love from,
Mrs Frost’s Kitchen xx