Tuscany's Sweet Spinach Pie

[Photograph: Pinella Orgiana]

If you've only ever had spinach pie in the form of spanakopita, this one is certainly worth a go. Into a lovely lattice-topped pie goes an egg soufflé-like filling made from ground almonds, lemon zest, candied citron, and enough blanched spinach to color the whole thing a vibrant green.

Reprinted with permission from Dolci: Italy's Sweets by Francine Segan. Copyright © 2011. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Tuscany's Sweet Spinach Pie

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 8 to 10
Active time:1 hour
Total time:2 hours
This recipe appears in: Bake the Book: Tuscany's Sweet Spinach Pie

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 4 cups 00 flour
  • 18 tablespoons butter
  • 7/8 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the filling:
  • 12 ounces frozen spinach
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched whole almonds
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • A small handful minced candied citron or lemon peel
  • 4 tablespoons marschino or other liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Confectioners’  sugar 

Procedures

  1. 1

    Make the crust: In a large bowl, in a food processor, or on a work surface, combine the flour, butter, and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the egg yolks, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt and mix until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  2. 2

    Lightly butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan.

  3. 3

    Roll two thirds of the dough out into a circle large enough to line the pan and hang well over the sides. If you like, make a series of “fret” shapes along the outer edge of the dough. To do that, fold the edges of dough over, and cut into the edges and gently press “fret” shapes by pinching the dough between thumb and forefinger at a distance of about ½  inch apart. With a fork, pierce the bottom and sides of the crust all over.

  4. 4

    Roll the remaining dough out into a circle and cut into strips to form lattices over the top of the filling. Refrigerate all the dough, covered in plastic wrap, until ready to use.

  5. 5

    Make the filling: Cook the spinach in a few tablespoons of salted water until tender. Let cool to room temperature. Squeeze out all the excess water, then finely chop the spinach in a mini food processor. Set aside.

  6. 6

    In a food processor, grind the almonds until the texture resembles coarse sand. Set aside. 

  7. 7

    In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar until creamy and light yellow. Add the almonds and beat until well combined. Add the spinach, candied peel, and liqueur and stir until well combined.

  8. 8

    In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.

  9. 9

    Slowly fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour into the bottom piecrust. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and top with the dough strips in a lattice pattern. Bake for about 1 hour, until golden.

  10. 10

    Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

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