Savoury Pie – with Spinach, Handmade Ricotta, Prima Donna Maturo, Basil and Egg

In Baking, Cheese, Egg, Main meals, Pastry, Pickles & Preserves, Pie on February 3, 2012 at 1:40 am

Savoury Pie - with Spinach, Ricotta, Prima Donna Maturo, Basil and Egg

I got an idea to make this pie from my Italian cookbook – which had a recipe for a savoury Easter pie, and the ingredients included ricotta, grated parmesan, beet leaves, artichokes and eggs. I decided not to follow the recipe because I lacked too many of the ingredients, but I ran with the general concept.

I will refrain from giving exact ingredient measurements, because I didn’t really use any, but rather made the recipe up as I went along. I began with about half a packet of leftover frozen spinach – defrosted it in the microwave, squeezed out excess water and sauteed it in frying pan with generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. I had thought to do onion and garlic beforehand (I put them in almost EVRYTHING savoury) but forgot. To the spinach, I added basil and some thyme from the garden – washed and shredded. I removed the pan from the heat, then added what was left of my handmade ricotta – about 100-150g? I completed the filling with about 90g of prima donna maturo – grated – which I bought from the Dutch cheese sellers at the Dargaville Farmers Market.

Prima Donna Maturo, Thyme, Basil and Handmade Ricotta

Sauteed spinach

Then I made the pastry, trying to stick with the authentic method described in my cookbook. Instead of using a bowl, I just mounded around 2 cups of white flour on the bench – maybe a bit more – making a well in the centre. I poured in olive oil and a little bit of water, and started to work the flour into a pastry dough, adding more oil and water as necessary. I eventually ended up adding an egg as well. It made the pastry quite springy, and I was worried that the pastry was going to be too tough – but it actually turned out to be well suited to this pie, and wasn’t tough at all!

Once more or less the right consistency, I split the dough in half and rolled out to a circle. I put this in my small, greased pie dish, and trimmed the edges until they were neat. I filled the pastry shell with the ricotta mixture (I found the amount of mixture a bit much, I only needed about half of it in the end – will have to find something to do with the rest!). I then made a circular dent in the middle of the pie and cracked an egg into it. I covered the top with the remaining pastry.

Egg with filling in pastry shell

Topped with pastry

Finally, I brushed the pie top with an egg, then left it in a preheated oven (180 degrees celsius) for about 35 mins. I left it to cool a little before before cutting. I devoured my (very generous) slice with some of my homemade tomato relish.

Pie fresh out of the oven!

Pie - with my epic slice removed!

I was very excited by how well the egg cooked!

Served with my homemade tomato relish!


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