Savoury pie with spinach and ricotta cheese

April, 25th  2013

vegetarian savoury pie: without sugar, without wheat flower, without yeast, without eggs, meat or fish

Today it was the turn of a traditional dish. I repeated a receipt that I started cooking long ago, but with a little “twist”: the type of flower and cheese. If I would like to point out the memories linked to this receipt I wouldn’t know where to start from. I can say that this cake saw me laughing, crying, growing. It has pleased many of our guests, next to our kids. It was with us in may pic-nics of day trips. It is a very simple receipt but of sure effect. I am sure that even nonna Rosa would have appreciated it. She is the real chef and also “gourmand”. Since I started to follow a certain diet because of my breast cancer denying – almost completely – a lot of tasty things (like red meat, sugar, wheat flower and lots of fatty cheese…so far as I could), when she stays at our place, she suffers a lot. Poor nonna Rosa… I stuff her up with vegetables… but today it would have not been a sacrifice, even for her.  After all it’s one of her receipts :-).  

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The original receipt requires puff pastry, which I substituted by a self made “brise’ dough”, using flower, butter, water and salt. This in order to contain the fats and use alternative flowers to wheat flower. If you prefer, of course you could use puff pastry to make the pie even tastier, but I have to say that I am pretty satisfied with today’s result. I don’t miss it at all. The dough resulted very light and friable and the taste was very delicate. The combination spelt-kamut (and butter!) really works…

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Ingredients:

For the base
125 g white organic spelt flower/ biologische speltmeel
125 g white organic kamut flower/ biologische kamut bloem
2 spoons flaxseeds/ lepels lijnzaden
100 g butter (just out of the refrigerator)/ boter (net uit de koelkast)
1 glass of water/ glas water
1 spoon of poppy seeds/ lepel maanzaad
1 pinch of salt/ snufje zout

For the filling
750 g fresh spinach/ verse spinazie
125 g ricotta cheese/ ricotta kaas
50 g aged goat cheese (iI used the type Granpascolo, produced in San Gavino Monreale, Oristano) / oude geitenkaas ( Granpascolo, geproduceerd in San Gavino Monreale, Oristano)
nutmeg as needed/ nootmuscaat zo nodig
salt as needed/ zout zo nodig

Normally I use frozen spinach, the 450 g package, and I let them slowly unfreeze. This time I used fresh spinach, and even organic (from the vegetable package/groentenpakket we receive every week). I started by washing them carefully. Then I boiled them for approximately 5 minutes in salty water. Then I drained them and let them become cold (keep them on the strainer).

Then I started with the dough. I mixed the 2 types of flower, I added the salt and the flaxseeds and I poured them on the wooden plank and I made a whole in the center (the so called “fountain”) where to place the cold butter cut in small cubes. I started to knead by breaking down the cubes with the fingers while mixing them with the flower. I added slowly the water at room temperature until it got a soft and smooth consistency. One glass of water should be enough but this can always vary according to the type of flower and the temperature in the room. I kneaded for 5 minutes (not longer otherwise the butter smelts). Then I placed the dough in the refrigerator (it should stay there at least 15 minutes).

At this point I went back to the filling. I squeezed further the spinach in order to remove all the extra water, then I placed them on a cutting board and I started to chop them. I moved them into a bowl and mixed them to the ricotta, the grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and the freshly grated nutmeg (I like to abound, you can regulate yourself by tasting the filling mix).

I took the dough out of the refrigerator and I divided it into 2 pieces (one bigger than the other one). After laying out the dough for the base I placed it carefully on the baking tin (it should come out) and I pierced it with a fork. Then I poured the filling, I lay out the second (and smaller) dough, I placed it on top and gave shape to the borders by bending inside the extra dough.

I poured a little bit of olive oil on the top and spread it with a brush, then I decorated with poppy seeds. I baked it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.

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time 1 hour approximately of preparation, 20 minutes in the oven
difficulty medium

with the knowledge I have now… I realize that this can not be considered a truly healthy recipe because it contains dairy (not recommended for those who have had breast cancer). Also the dough is made with refined flour (so it has a high glycemic index) and unsaturated fats (butter).

all in all… it is certainly healthier than a quiche because it is not made out of puff pastry and has no eggs, but this recipe can be surely enjoyed during a party or a special occasion, but we should not abuse it!

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