Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Double Crust Parmesan Spinach Pie

A couple weeks ago, my friend Tammy and I went to Canadian Tire. We had been studying slash illegally eating Parmesan Thyme Sundried Tomato Pumpkin Seed Pesto Shortbread at the library and since it closed, we were needed to kill a couple hours. It had just snowed and a thick blanket of powdery, white snow ensconced the greyness of the city blocks. Inspired by the swirling snow, I decided that it was as a good a time as any to go to Canadian Tire to pick up a few plastic mats for tobogganing.


So, before I continue that story, let me tell you another one. It begins many years back, when I was but a child. I had gone tobogganing with my family on a huge hill nearby my grandmother’s house one winter. Since my grandmother had moved, we had never gone back to the hill, even as kids. Last year, in the February of my sophomore year, I finally went back to that park. It was a Wednesday afternoon; the second snow day I had ever experienced in my life. It was bitterly cold, but the excitement of finally going back to the tobogganing hill was enough to drag my brother and I out of the house.


First, we ate a light lunch at the crepe place and then we headed to Canadian to buy a couple mats for tobogganing. It turned out that we weren’t the only brilliant kids who had decided to use the snow day to embrace the snow; the toboggan aisle was bare. The only remaining “toboggan” (I use this term lightly) was a blow-up Dora the Explorer mat, intended for children under the age of five.

We bought it anyways.


After several near faint spells suffered from hyperventilation, we finally managed to blow the mat up. Self-consciously (would all the other cool kids point and laugh at our childish mat?), gingerly, I sat down and rode the hill. It was fun. Or at least it was until my brother used the mat for the second time and ripped the thing.

Oh no, but that was fine because the Dora the Explorer mat manufacturers obviously foresaw this problem because they were thoughtful enough to include a small square of tape in the package. But then the mat ripped again. We threw it out.


Which leads me back to why I had to go to Canadian Tire to buy toboggan mats: so I could go tobogganing for real and finally cross that item off my bucket list. With a couple hours to kill, hanging out in Canadian Tire in the warmth was a much better option than wandering aimlessly outside. Tammy and I began to comb the cooking section of the store, admiring pans and flipping through the racks of kitchen tools. We came upon a miniature whisk, and I mentioned offhandedly that I had always wanted a mini whisk because it was so adorable.


A week later, I turned seventeen. The next day, Tammy presented me with a card and a long pen-shaped object wrapped in newsprint. It was the mini-whisk, something that I wanted, but would never buy for myself. Tammy knows me too well.

Immediately that weekend, I made a Parmesan Spinach Pie. The mini-whisk, as turned out, was perfect for breaking up an egg for the eggwash. 

Ever try googling a recipe for spinach pie? All the hits that turn up are always for spanakopita. There weren’t any clear recipes for plain spinach pie, so I decided to devise my own recipe.


Double Crust Parmesan Spinach Pie

Ingredients:
Crust:
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 10-12 tablespoons ice water
Filling:
  • 2 300 gram packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, all excess water squeezed out
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Bechamel: 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste.
  • 1 egg

Directions:

For crust, in a large bowl, stir flour and salt together. Cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs form. In a small bowl, stir lemon juice with water.

Gradually add a few teaspoons of water to the flour-butter mixture at a time. Stir and push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat until all flour is moistened. Form the pastry into a flattened ball and fold the dough over itself a few times. Divide into two discs. This will create more layers of butter and pastry and result in a flakier crust. Wrap, and chill for at least an hour.

In a small saucepot over medium heat melt butter. When it is bubbly, add the flour and stir vigorously for a couple minutes until the flour turns a slightly darker shade of golden yellow. Slowly add the milk and cream, stirring constantly to ensure that there are no lumps. Once all the milk and cream is added, stir the béchamel until it begins to thicken. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Take the béchamel off the heat and then stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and freshly grated nutmeg. Let cool completely.

In a medium bowl stir the spinach, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice together. Stir the béchamel into the spinach. Stir in one egg. At this point, the filling can be refrigerated for a day or two.

Preheat the oven to 425F. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of pastry to 3/8-inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish and spread the filling into the pie dish. Roll out the other disc to 3/8-inch thick and carefully align it over top of the pie. Trim the excess dough and crimp the edges to seal the pie. Cut a couple steam vents on the top of the pie. In a small bowl, beat the other egg with a few teaspoons of water until slightly frothy. Brush the pie with a thin layer of eggwash. Pop the pie in the freezer for 15 minutes while you clean up.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 375F and continue to bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, until the filling in bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Note: if you have excess pie crust, don’t throw it out! Pat it down into a disc and refrigerate for an hour. Then use it to make a simple Blueberry Galette.

18 comments:

  1. This pie sounds amazing! That's crazy that googling spinach pie gives you results for spanakopita. A savory spinach pie is such a great idea! If I ever host brunch, I would totally make this. But I don't know when that will happen, so I'll make it for dinner some night instead.

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  2. I love my mini whisk. I use it all the time. People always think its weird until they get one of their own. Love the parmesan crust...everything is better with cheese right?

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  3. I love spinach pie, this one looks wonderful

    Mal @ The Chic Geek

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  4. This looks incredible! I love spinach and I love pastry, so this is definitely a winner! :)

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  5. How delicious! Your pie looks perfect.

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  6. Yay! Looks like someone got her snow wish after all the griping. ;) I want a mini whisk too and always tell myself I don't need it. But you've convinced me. Your spinach pie looks like a perfect brunch or dinner dish... Beautiful too!

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  7. Oh my goodness, I LOVE spinach. This looks delish. And that spice combo is genius!

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  8. I'm glad you took the time to design your own recipe for this. It sounds fantastic, and your pictures are just beautiful. I love that top view of the pie!

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  9. You had me at double crust - what a perfectly delicious dinner/lunch recipe :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  10. Beautiful pie!

    I'm pretty sure a mini whisk is almost as good as a real toboggan...okay, so it's definitely better than a Dora the Explorer one.

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  11. lol about the Dora the Explorer toboggan :D Could you not have used it in deflated form? I've seen people toboggan on trash bags before so I'm sure it would work.

    Love the look of your spinach pie - I've made one before but it was boring compared to this one... I'll try this next time :)

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  12. Looks like a good way to get some green into my diet! Some much needed green!
    Did it fill you up enough, or would you serve it alongside something?

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  13. What a story!! Happy that you got to go toboganing afterall..it's a very Canadian thing to do ;)

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  14. Oooh that looks so decadent! Looks like you crammed loads of spinach into that pie! Beautiful crust too! Mine never come out that beautiful ;)

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  15. It's amazing how a tobogganing (mis)adventure could somehow lead you to a whisk...and this delicious pie! I love a good savory pie and now I'm craving this double-crusted deliciousness!

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  16. Looks really amazing! Can't wait to start preparing this!

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  17. This sounds delicious! Will have to try it some time. Thanks for sharing this with us:)

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  18. oooh, this looks wonderful! what a fun idea!

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