Sunny Spinach Pie

Arbuckle HouseI’ve seen the recipe for Sunny Spinach Pie several times now – everywhere from cooking blogs to Facebook pages. I wanted to give it a try because next weekend my family is having a barbecue and camp out at my sister’s country home. She and her husband have been restoring an old Craftsman home to its original glory. It’s been a very slow process with countless hours of sweat-equity. I bring this up because the property is surrounded by almond orchards and sunflower fields. I wanted to bring something to the table that was in keeping with the beautiful surroundings, and this Sunny Spinach Pie seemed the perfect ticket.

For me, the translated recipe came from bestyummyrecipes.com. The original posting is actually in Italian, TORTA RUSTICA di SPINACI From: blog.giallozafferano.it  (Please be sure to check it out, if for no other reason than the beautiful, step-by-step photos). Since this was my first attempt to make this beautiful side dish, I was far too busy following the pictures from the original site to take any of my own. That is, up until the end, of the finished “Pie”.  But don’t let that scare you – once it was all put together, I was very pleased with the overall ease.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the finished “pie”. It’s not really a pie – the dough is more bread-like that pie crust. Yet it cannot be called spinach-filled bread either since it’s not really bread. It’s dense, like Irish Soda Bread, with a nice salty finish. I really liked it, but my family had mixed reactions. I guess you need to be a fan of Spinach and Ricotta to appreciate the Sunny Spinach Pie.

While this is amazingly easy to make, I will pass along one important tip. When you are ready to assemble the Sunny Pie, unless you are very brave, do so on your round baking stone. I wasn’t about to try to move the unbaked pie from the board to the stone – it seemed a disaster just waiting to happen.

After baking this once, there are only two changes I would make. First is to brush the dough with an egg wash just before baking, and the other is to sprinkle the center with sunflower seeds for an added “sunny” touch.  Beyond that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Senza ulteriori indugi, vi do Soleggiato Spinaci torta.

Sunny Spinach Pie
Dough:
17 oz  of flour
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt

Filling:
12 oz  of Cooked Spinach, chopped
12 oz ricotta
1 egg
6 oz  of grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper
Italian Bread crumbs

Finish:
1 Egg Yolk, lightly beaten
Water or White Wine to thin SLIGHTLY
1/2 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using the dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and combined. Wrap in plastic while you make the filling.

To create the filling, mix the spinach with the ricotta. Add egg, half of the Parmesan Cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well, then set aside.

Unwrap the dough from the plastic and divide it into two equal parts. Lay parchment paper over the round baking stone (pizza stone). Dust lightly with flour. Dust rolling-pin and dough lightly with flour. Using a rolling-pin, roll the first half of the dough out to just under the side of your baking stone, or about 12 inches. Sprinkle the first disk with a little bread crumb, remove from stone by lifting with parchment paper under the disk and set aside.

Cover the baking stone with a second piece of parchment paper. Dust rolling-pin and dough lightly with flour. Roll second dish out to about the same size as the first. DO NOT sprinkle this disk with breadcrumbs. You want to keep it somewhat “sticky”. Lift with parchment paper and remove from dish.

Invert first dish onto baking stone. Sprinkle with a little breadcrumb. This will help absorb the liquid from the filling and help to keep the bottom dough dry.

On the breadcrumb dough, make two circles with the filling – an outer circle and an inner circle “mound”. Leave room between the circles and along the edge to seal the dough. Sprinkle the filling with the remaining grated Parmesan Cheese.

Place the second dough circle over the top of the filling. Seal the edges by hand, then press with a fork. Place a small bowl in the middle of the pie over the center mound, and press lightly to make an indentation in the dough. Use your fork to press LIGHTLY around the bowl.

With the bowl still in place, cut the dough into pieces approximately just under an inch. Once the outer dough has been cut, lift each section and twist back to expose the filling. Continue to lift and until each outer slice is twisted. Remove bowl and brush lightly with egg wash. Arrange sunflower seed in the center as desired.

Transfer round baking stone to oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, transfer to a round serving platter.

2 thoughts on “Sunny Spinach Pie

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