Just learned that the phrase ‘easy as pie’ refers to how easy it is to eat pie, and not how easy it is to make one. Thank god for that minor clarification, the world makes sense again.
Not that making a pie (quiche in this case) is hard, but it’s admittedly not as easy as the idiom would suggest. It also requires prior planning and attention to detail – butter needs to be fridge-cold, ice water instead of regular etc., A bit fiddly especially if you’re making one for the first time; good news is that you very quickly get the hang of it.
First make the pastry base. I’ve written out the nitty gritties below but if you can remember only two things from it, let it be this: 1) Don’t overwork your dough, and 2) Use butter that’s fridge-cold. I’m no expert at this (clearly) and I’ll even controversially tell you that you don’t need to use weights to blind-bake the base. (Weights are used to make sure the base doesn’t puff up as it bakes. It’s definitely a safer methodology to adopt. Use them if you’d like but I’ve jettisoned that step entirely.) Tl;dr – use at your discretion.
Cannot stress this part enough though – it’s completely fine if your pastry tears as you roll or shape it into the dish. Mine always tears. I just do a patchwork job of it: pick up the leftover bits of dough from the overhangs and press them down into the torn areas. However big or small. Just make sure the base and sides are an even layer when you’re done, and you’re good to go.
For all of the attention that the pastry takes up, the filling comes together in minutes. Wilt spinach in a pan and wring out moisture. Sauté onions and garlic until browned. Now mix the whole lot together: spinach, onions and garlic, eggs, ricotta, nutmeg, and pepper. That’s your filling. Pour into your base, crumble over feta, and bake until golden.
(Note: recipe includes directions to make the pastry by hand and in a food processor.)
SPINACH, RICOTTA AND FETA QUICHE
- A 9 or 10” pie dish, preferably with a removable base
- 225 grams all-purpose flour
- 100 grams butter, fridge-cold
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons ice water
- 300 grams spinach
- 3 large eggs
- 250 grams ricotta
- 75 grams feta
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or 10 grams butter
- Salt, if needed
- PASTRY BY HAND: Step 1: Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter. Using the tips of your fingers, break up the butter into the flour (like you would for a crumble). You want coarse bits of butter in the flour.
- Step 2: Drizzle the cold water in, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every addition. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. Do not add any more water than you need.
- Step 3: Lay out a large sheet of cling film on your work surface. Tip the dough into the center. Bring together the sides of the cling, bringing the dough together as you do.
- Step 4: Flatten the dough with your hands into a roughly 6” disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins before using. The dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance and kept refrigerated.
- PASTRY IN A FOOD PROCESSOR: place the flour, butter and salt in the food processor. Pulse a few times just to break the butter up slightly. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water at a time and pulse between each addition. You want the mixture to just about clump.
- Follow steps 3 and 4.
- Roll the chilled dough on a floured surface. Make sure it’s slightly bigger than your pie dish. Roll the dough around your rolling pin and then lay it out in the pie dish.
- Shape it into the dish. Trim off any overhangs. Don’t worry about tears and holes - use the excess dough to patch them up. Pierce all over the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 15 mins.
- Make the filling while the dough rests. Add the spinach to boiling water. Remove after 2-3 mins and run under the tap. Squeeze out all the excess moisture with your hands and roughly chop.
- Heat butter or olive oil in a small pan. Sauté the onions until nicely browned. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Place the chopped spinach, ricotta, eggs, cooked onions and garlic, nutmeg and black pepper in a bowl. Break up the eggs and mix everything together until well combined. (We're using feta, so add salt accordingly.)
- First blind bake the base: place the pie dish in a preheated 190 C oven for 15 mins. You want the base to be lightly golden and dry.
- Add the filling into the base and crumble over the feta. Place back in the oven for 40-50 mins, or until nicely browned on top. Let rest for 5 mins before unmoulding the sides. Serve warm or at room temp.
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