06 October 2012

Leek and Spinach Pie


I wish I had a picture to show you the interior of this beautiful green pie, but I'm afraid we ate it before there was time. Paul is the usual pie-maker in the house, but he's been slacking recently, and I thought I'd give our pie pans some exercise with a savory pie.

Since we work long hours, the weekends are usually the only days that we hit the markets before the greens are wilted from sitting outside all day. On Friday mornings I always make sure to get some greens, herbs, and lettuce, and then follow my trusty cleaning and storing mechanism to keep them fresh for the week. The spinach here is sold in big shaggy-leafed bunches, and it was looking particularly vibrant the other day so I picked up some along with leeks, and some other newly-arrived fall produce.

I thought a spinach and leek pie would be a great convenient thing to take for lunch during the week. This is sort of the American version of spanikopita, vegetables with just enough cheese and buttery crust to keep them from being too virtuous. The cornmeal crust came out fantastically, and I'll definitely be using it again in the future. In fact, this whole pie is going on the 'save and repeat' list.

Leek and Spinach Pie with Cornmeal Crust
If your cornmeal is a bit coarse, as mine was, just grind it in a coffee or spice grinder until fine. In place of the yogurt in the filling you can always use creme fraiche. Adapted from food52.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (150 grams) butter, cold and cut into small pieces
5-7 tablespoons ice water

1. Mix the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a bowl. Add in the cubes of butter, and work the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 forks. Work until the mixture has lumps the size of small peas. Using a fork, slowly pour the ice water into the butter/flour mixture until a dough just forms. Be careful not to add too much water. Gather the dough into a ball and refrigerate (this can be done a few days ahead of time).
2. Pull the dough out of the fridge and let warm up for 2-5 minutes. Divide the dough in half, and on a floured surface, roll out half the dough and fit it into a pie pan. Roll out the other dough half into a large round. Chill the pie pan and the round of dough while you make the filling.

2 large bunches spinach, cleaned and torn into bite-size pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
4-5 leeks, cleaned, halved, white and light green parts sliced
1/2 cup grated cheese (something like Gruyere, Cantal, Emmentaler)
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
olive oil
salt and pepper
prepared cornmeal crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180C).
2. Heat some olive oil in a wide pan, and add the leeks and saute until golden and soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, spinach, and salt and pepper, and saute until the spinach is dark green and any liquid is cooked off. You may have to add the spinach in a couple batches as it wilts. Transfer greens to a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
3. Mix the cheese, eggs, and yogurt into the greens and season again with salt and pepper.
4. Place the filling into your prepared crust. Fit the top pie crust on top, trim and crimp the edges,and slice 4 slits into the top crust. Bake 45-55 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.


NT said...

Oh yum! What a great idea to use cornmeal for a savory pie crust. Now why hadn't I thought of that?!?

beef jerky said...

I love candy. but sometimes I avoid it to my very own child. because it can cause her tooth ache. but still I love the way you present your ideas..maybe soon if my daughter will know how to limit her eating sweet habits I allow here... Thanks for sharing.