The write-up for this spinach pie in a puff pastry crust may be a little shorter than normal, and this is the honest reason why: whenever I stop to think about what I want to say about it, I get distracted, remembering how delicious it was. I lose all train of thought and all stories, witty comments, etc. and may ever-so-slightly resemble Homer Simpson thinking about donuts. Slightly. This dish is pretty straightforward, my friends, so it doesn’t need a lengthy explanation. A sheet of puff pastry (I used and recommend the one sold frozen at Trader Joe’s) makes it a little quicker/easier to put together than a quiche made with a traditional pastry crust, purely for the time saved in resting and rolling out dough. I had the caramelized onions on hand already, made from this recipe; of course, you could make them up specifically to use for the pie, or use jarred onions from the store. In contrast to my usual quiche recipe, this is a simpler two-pan operation with an emphasis on the vegetables more than the egg custard. I will always be a quiche fan, but this is a great option if you don’t have lots of eggs and milk handy. Though the recipe includes bacon, you could certainly leave it out (just saute the spinach in a little oil instead); my original inspiration was spanokopita, the lovely Greek spinach and feta pie in phyllo dough, which does not include bacon. (I actually added it to appease my husband, who later agreed that the pie would be equally good vegetarian.) As for the name, I am calling it a pie despite the fact that I cooked it in a souffle dish; I was eager to make something in my brand-new dish, but otherwise would have made it in a 9″ pie plate or 8″ square baking dish, and you can, too.
Now, on to the recipe for this spinach pie; it’s a keeper, one I will make often. I honestly couldn’t be happier with the results. I hope my first post of this new year is one you will try, and like!, as well. Happy 2014! May this be an exciting, fulfilling year for us all.
Spinach Puff Pastry Pie (serves 4-6)
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
- 4 strips of bacon
- 1/2 lb. fresh spinach
- 1/4 c. caramelized onions
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. dried mint
- liberal amount of fresh black pepper
- 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c. cream
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 qt. souffle dish, 9″ pie plate, 8″ square baking dish or equivalent. Carefully unfold or unroll your puff pastry sheet and drape it over the dish; use two hands to lightly press it into the dish, leaving an overhang of dough on all sides.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat. Remove the strips from the pan to a paper-towel lined plate or rack positioned over a plate. Pour off all but 2 T. of the bacon drippings and then add the spinach to the pan. (You can cook the spinach in two batches if it doesn’t fit in your pan, but it wilts so quickly this isn’t usually necessary.) Cook over medium heat until the spinach is wilted; stir in the onions, oregano, mint and black pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for about 5 mins. Make a well in the spinach mixture and crack the eggs into it; use a fork to lightly scramble and then mix them into the spinach. You can pre-scramble them if you want, but it’s truly an extra step. Chop the reserved bacon and fold it in with the cream and feta, leaving some pieces of cheese larger for texture. The filling may seem a little wet, but it’s okay.
Carefully pour the filling into your puff pastry crust. Fold the overhanging edges up and over to cover the spinach mixture; the sides should overlap some, but try not to create an overly thick center area of dough, as it won’t cook through. Use a sharp knife to slice three or four steam vents in the top and then bake at 400 degrees for 10 mins. Turn down the oven to 375 degrees and cook for another 30 mins., until the crust is flaky and golden brown. Remove, cool for 15 mins. or so and serve.