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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Florentine pie (with spinach and egg)

When in Rome (in this case Florence).... :).  If you do enjoy spinach (at least a little bit) you'll like this savory pie also. The inspiration for it came from the February number of Good Food Romania. One important adaptation made was reducing the dough quantity from 375 g to 275 g, thus making the pie way lighter, but the cheese and spinach composition into a thicker layer. If you prefer the pie fluffier and the composition not so concentrated, just follow the original dough quantity instructions and use 375 g of dough. 
Very easy to make, fast ready and fast downed :). It's also good cold, so you can enjoy the rest later.
You can have it simple, with extra pepper and some lemon juice (the way Miriam prefers it), or topped with mildly hot mustard and more garlic (like Bogdan likes it). Either way, it's a great way to use spinach and there have been rumors in high-level chef circles that 2011 will see a grand return of savory pies in culinary trends so... enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
  • 275 g store-bought French dough (theoretically, it can be home-made from scratch, but the thin paper-like sheets will never come out as fine as in a factory-made dough. It's easy to find in supermarkets at the frozen foods section, and to choose a healthy one make sure it contains butter instead of "hydrogenated vegetable oils" which is just a name for nasty margarine) 
  • 400 g spinach (fresh or pre-boiled)
  • 250 g ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • some freshly ground pepper (optional)
  • 4 medium or small eggs

First, preheat the oven to 220 C or level 7 gas. Boil (or steam in a little butter) the spinach until it's softened if using raw. Drain it very well by squeezing the extra water and juices out of it. Put it a bowl:

Add the ricotta cheese, ground nutmeg, finely chopped or crushed garlic clove and salt:

Next, unroll the frozen dough into a non-stick tray that fits its size. If the tray is not non-stick, you may have to grease it first. Pierce the dough with a fork, like this (it will prevent over-the-top swelling):

Pu the tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden. Meanwhile, mix the spinach, ricotta and spices into a paste:

Take out the tray from the oven. Don't turn off the heat:

Put the mixture on top of the dough, leaving 4 little valleys for the eggs:

Add the eggs on top:

Put the tray back in the oven (careful so the eggs don't run around). Bake for another 15 minutes (or a little less if you like the yolks gooey). Take out of the oven:

Sprinkle a little pepper on top of the eggs. Cut in 4 slices (each with an egg) and dig in! 

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