AN EASTER PIE FROM ARGENTINA – TORTA PASCUALINA

DSCN6248PASCUA (is the Spanish word for Easter) is just around the corner and I thought this will be a good recipe to share with family and friends  during the egg hunting party.

Yes, I am cheating by using puff pastry but it saves time and the result is GLORIOUS !

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PIE

3 sheets of puff pastry, at room temperature

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING

1 kg of fresh spinach ( you can also use swiss chard or a mixture of spinach and swiss chard)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

4 tablespoons sour cream

8 eggs

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

For the egg wash

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

METHOD FOR THE SPINACH

1- In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat.  Sautee the onion until it is soft and translucent.  Add the spinach in batches (the spinach will reduce to less than half).

2- When the spinach is cooked add the garlic, nutmeg and salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes.

2- Allow the spinach to cool in a bowl, then add the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, sour cream, and 3 of the eggs.  Mix well and taste for flavour.  Set aside.

METHOD FOR THE CRUST

1- Preheat the oven at 200C and grease the mold ( 10 inch spring form mould) with butter.

2- Take one of the sheets of pastry and cut a circle that fits into the base of the mould.  Prick the base with a fork and then brush it  with egg wash.

3- Take another pastry sheet and cut into long strips to cover the sides of the spring form mould.  Once this is done join the bottom and sides by pressing with your fingers.  Prick the sides with a fork  and then brush with the egg wash (this stops the pastry from puffing too much)

4- Sprinkle the bottom of the pastry crust with breadcrumbs (this stops the pastry from leaking).

5- Spoon the filling into the pastry lined pan, smooth it evenly.

6- Using a spoon, make four wells in the filling large enough to fit a raw egg.

7-  Crack 4 eggs, 1 at a time, into a small dish, then pour each egg into a well.  If there is too much white in the egg, pour out some of the white before pouring the egg into the well.

To close the pie

1-  Fold inside the remaining pastry and brush with egg wash.

2-  Take another sheet of pastry and cut into a circle that fits into the top of the pan.  Seal the crust by crimping it or making a decorative edge. Brush the crust with egg wash.

3- Put a piece of baking paper on top of the spring form mould and place a pan lid or another round mould  ( this will stop the puff pastry to puff too much) on top of the paper.

4- Bake the tart  for 1 1/2 hours (it takes a while to cook so do not stop the cooking until the puff pastry is cooked inside) or until the pie is golden brown.

5- Allow the pie to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the spring form mould.

6-  Cut and serve warm.

TIPS

–  If you want to use ricotta cheese just add 1/2 cup to the filling.

–  Sautee the spinach.  Boiling it in water will create too much water and the taste and nutrients are lost.

–  Torta Pascualina usually uses ricotta cheese but I find that ricotta cheese makes the tart soggy.

–  Do not boil the eggs before putting them in the filling, they will be too hard and they have a funny yellow colour.

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