Thursday, April 28, 2011

SPINACH, FETA AND YOGHURT PIE





This delicious pie was born after a frustrating attempt at a recipe that involved milk. The darn thing never cooked, wouldn't slice and was not appropriate for picnics.

However, this quiche sets easily, slices well and is made for travelling. It also impresses guests, hence I'm making it tonight for a friend for dinner.

BUT, you must use full-fat thick yoghurt. None of that runny, skinny stuff. I also use a lot of eggs.

Homemade pastry really kicks this dish into the upper echelons of eating. However, if getting the rolling pin out is enough to send you running, please wander the freezer section of your supermarket and pick up some short crust sheets.

To make this pie really stand out from the crowd I use coconut oil, as well as butter, for the pastry. This idea comes from Cynthia Lair's Feeding the Whole Family.  Coconut fat has no cholesterol and lots of other good stuff going for it. You need to appreciate the faint taste of coconut, but it's not over-powering. Coconut oil comes in jars as a solid form - like the consistency of ghee - and is great for frying as does not burn. It's available from health food shops but if you haven't got any, stick with butter.




SPINACH, FETA AND YOGHURT PIE



Pastry: 
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons cold butter
2 tablespoons cold water (the colder the better)


Filling:
1 and a half cups full-fat thick yoghurt
6 eggs
Bunch fresh spinach leaves (English spinach, NOT silver beet)
1 block feta cheese, crumbled
pepper - a few grinds


If making your own pastry, put flour in food processor and add fats. Pulse until crumbly, then slowly add water while pulsing. Mixture should gather into a ball after enough pulsing, or it may need a bit of help form your hands. 


If you don't have a food processor, use a large mixing bowl and cut butter and coconut fat into the flour. Slowly dribble water in, mixing with a fork, until you have a moist, pliable dough. 


Gather into a ball and place in container in fridge for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to medium hot. Then roll pastry out on a floured surface or a piece of baking paper. Make it quite thin and line a greased round pie tin. Bake it 'blind', ie empty, for ten minutes. ( I use a sprung cake tin, which then can be removed before serving. But any pie dish will do.)


Wash, dry and chop spinach then combine with crumbled feta. Whisk eggs and pepper then gently combine with yoghurt. Place spinach and feta in pie crust. Pour eggs and yoghurt evenly on top and bake in centre of oven for 35-40 minutes. Check, and put back in oven for another ten minutes if not set or lightly browned. Do the cake test - place a knife or skewer in center, and if doesn't come back clean it needs more oven time.


Allow to settle and cool a little before slicing. This pie also works very well cold.


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