Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is pie considered comfort food?

Having spent most of the last two weeks in bed (food poisoning, then the flu, followed by an angry bronchities, no less!) I was craving a home cooked meal once I got back on my feet.

As it happens, the magazine Country Homes and Interiors showed up in my mail box this day, featuring what looked like a good recipe for cheese and spinach pie.
As it also happens, I'm unable to follow a recipe to it's T, so after some alterations and tweaks, I ended up with a cheese, spinach and pine nut spanakopita, which is a Greek pie where the pie dough is made with olive oil rather than butter. (I changed it to canola oil. I told you I'm incapable of following a recipe! *LOL*)

Anyways, for the dough, this is what you'll need:

1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil or canola oil
1/2 cup milk (I use 2% but any milk will do!)
1 egg, beaten.

Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Cover bowl and refridgerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling, you will need:

2 tablespoons butter (the original recipe calls for olive oil, but I prefer butter in this case)
6 anchovy fillets, chopped (I forgot to add the anchovies, and the pie still tasted great. Add them if you like, or omit them if you can't stand anchovies)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 pound spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup double cream.
1 teaspoon dries thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat butter in a frying pan and add the anchovies, onion and garlic. Saute for five minutes, or until tender.
Add the spinach and saute for another couple of minutes.
Set aside.

Some people will say that you need to roll out any pie dough. This dough, on the contrary, is so flexible and easy to push out with your fingers, I just add a little dough at a time to the pie tin until the tin is covered. Make sure you let the dough sit all the way up the edges as it will shrink a little.

Pre-bake pie shell for about 10 minutes in the oven, or until lightly golden in colour.
Take the shell out of the oven, let rest for some minutes, then sprinkle dried bread crumbs on the bottom of the pie shell. The bread crumbs will soak up excess moisture and keep the pie shell dry.

Spread the onion and spinach mixture over the base, and sprinkle with cheese.
Mix the eggs and double cream. Rub the dried thyme between your palms to get out more flavour out of the dry herb before you add it to the egg and cream mixture. Add salt and pepper, and pour the mixture into the base. Sprinkle with pine nuts, and bake the pie the oven for 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Serve with a green salad on the side.

This pie will serve four hungry people!

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