Taking a cue from the weather, I decided on making something I could take on a picnic that should please just about anyone.
Made with a simple shortcrust pastry it's filled with sautéed onions and spinach that have been flavoured with ground nutmeg and grated parmesan - whole eggs are then cracked onto this filling before being covered with it's pastry lid. As it cooks the the egg whites solidify around the filling, the yolks set and when you slice it, it will be a delight to the eye as well as a delight to eat.
Spinach and Egg Pie
[Makes 1 x 12x34cm [5x13 inch] rectangular pie]
1 portion Shortcrust pastry
1 large red onion, sliced finely
250 grams spinach leaves, washed and dried
salt and freshly ground pepper
ground nutmeg, to taste
grated parmesan, to taste
poppy seeds, to sprinkle
I have made this in a rectangular fluted pie tin - you can of course make it in whatever shape you desire.
I divided my dough into two pieces in a 2/3 - 1/3 split.
Take the larger portion and roll out to line the base of the tin - leave the overhang as we tidy that up at the end. Roll the smaller portion out to form the lid. Let this rest while you make the filling.
Heat a little oil in a pan and over a gentle heat, sauté the finely sliced onions until softened and just beginning to colour. Turn the heat down and let them slowly sweat so the natural caramels can develop. When they have reached that rich golden colour, add the spinach leaves and toss through to mix. Let them wilt and soften, then increase the heat to remove any excess water as we don't want a damp mixture. Season with salt and pepper then set aside to cool.
When cool, taste and season with ground nutmeg and a generous grating of parmesan. Spread the mixture out over your lined tin, don't press down the mixture as we want the eggwhites to be able to seep into the gaps, creating a layered look.
I've used 3 eggs for this recipe but they are jumbo sized Green eggs - if you have smaller eggs, you might need to add one or two more. The number needed is also dependant on the shape of the tin used - you will be the best judge of how many eggs will suit your pie.
Make shallow indentations in the filling where the yolk will be sitting - then crack the eggs, one by one, opening them directly over these indentations.
Using a milk wash, brush the edge of the dough before covering with the other piece of pastry - press to seal before cutting off the excess. Give another brush to the pastry top and sprinkle, if desired with poppy seeds. Also make a couple of slits in the top to allow the steam to escape, this will help lessen the chances of the pie coming apart at the seams.
Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. If you feel the dough is browning too quickly, drop the temperature down to 160°C/325°F.
Let the pie cool a little in the tin before removing onto a wire rack.
You can serve this warm from the oven or wrap it up and serve it cold at a picnic.