Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mini spinach pie

I decided today that it was high time to finish up the leftover Easter ham. That, and my post-gym legs were craving some serious protein. These mini spinach pies are more like quiche than the Greek phyllo-dough treats of the same name (spanakopita translates to "spinach pie") and are a quick and easy way to spice up a solo breakfast or serve up a weekend brunch for friends.

*White cheddar pie crust
1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
7 tablespoons shortening (I'm partial to Crisco Baking Sticks)
3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Dash salt
Dash sugar
1/2 cup ice water

How to
With a pastry blender, mix dry ingredients until coarse and crumbly. Slowly add water, kneading the dough by hand until it is soft and gummy. Form into a disc, wrap with parchment paper and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

*Mini spinach pie
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup spinach - if frozen, then defrosted and fully drained
3/4 cup diced ham
3 tbsp heavy cream
Dash salt
Dash pepper
3 eggs
5-6 cherry tomatos, one for each pie
About 5-6 mini pie tins, muffin cups, tart cups, etc.
   Non-stick cooking spray (if, like me, you bought your tins from a sketchy kitchen supply company in the Bowery and they are not, in fact, non-stick.)

How to
In a large pan, saute the onions, spinach and ham in the olive oil until nicely browned, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream and stir until creamy, but take care to not burn the cream. Remove from heat.

While the vegetables are cooling, roll out the cheddar dough on a floured surface. Using a stencil (I use a small glass prep bowl) cut out enough rounds to fill each pie tin. Spritz the non-stick cooking spray onto the bottoms and sides of each tin if necessary, then gently press each dough round into the tins.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Fold the vegetable mixture into the eggs, then spoon the batter into each tin, leaving about 1/4" of space at the top, as the egg mixture will slightly rise. Brush edges of crust with egg wash, or with remaining batter if possible. Slice cherry tomatos and place two halves in the center of each pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are browned and egg is fully cooked through; insert and remove a skewer to check for doneness - if it comes out clean, the eggs are done. Let cool on a wire rack, then gently remove the pies from their tins.

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