Recipes

04.16.2012

Malika’s “Moroccan” Spinach Feta Pie

I’m not sure whether I deserved a holiday, but I was given one. We spent Easter just outside Marrakesh with Bat’s sister and her family, and the plane ticket was my belated birthday gift. Two days of torrential rain gave new meaning to the term “water garden” as the tiled pools overflowed and flooded the flowerbeds. The three little girls—four, six and ten—combated the chill with woolen djellabas and busied themselves with tortoises the size of golf balls purchased at the souk. One morning we sang songs with the girls, pulling lyrics from our memories like postcards with faded words from a long forgotten drawer. We read to them from the only children’s book in the house, a book of brutal Moroccan folk tales that portrayed brothers beheading sisters and old friends proving their loyalty by giving each other the livers of their children. We stopped reading and prayed that the next day would be sunny enough for the girls to explore outside. Then there was sunshine, crisp warm air that bathed the heretofore hidden horizon of snow-peaked mountains in clear light.

For five days we ate like kings. Malika, the lovely young cook, plied us with delicacies: tagines, sardines, cherry tomatoes in a sauce vert, home made frozen yogurt, banoffee pie. On Easter morning the little girls in their djellabas hunted for chocolate eggs in the olive groves. At lunch we gorged ourselves on chicken-almond-dried plum tagine and a salad of beans fresh from our hostess’ garden, blanched for an instant and served simply and deliciously with morsels of feta and a drizzle of olive oil. Despite the very drinkable Moroccan rosé, we adults reached for the children’s pitcher of irresistible fresh lemonade infused with orange blossom and mint. We were served Moroccan mint tea dutifully each afternoon, accompanied by tiny elephant ear pastries and biscotti. We left on Monday, slightly browned and much more round.

One of the most beloved of our meals there was a spinach and feta pie served at lunch which even the children devoured without criticism. It was a cross between spanokopita and quiche, and shared the flavorful and comforting sensibilities of both. Malika was generous with her secrets and after lunch, recited the recipe quickly and par cœur under the shade of the trellis. I think that when I am next reunited with my best girl friends, I will make this easy yet impressive dish and serve it with a salad and a bottle of rosé, after all, spring is finally in the air.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
6 organic or free-range eggs: 5 for the pie filling, 1 additional yoke to seal the pastry sheets
300g (10½ oz) feta, slightly crumbled
50g (1¾ oz) Emmentaler, Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon dried oregano
zest of 1 lemon
olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
400g (14 oz) washed & roughly chopped spinach
1 pack of 270g pack of pate feuillettée (filo pastry), round or rectangular depending on the shape of the pan you’ll be using

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Whisk together 5 eggs in a mixing bowl crumbling in feta cheese. Add the grated Emmentaler, Gruyere or Cheddar, fresh pepper, oregano, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter. When melted gradually add the spinach and sauté until it just wilts. Mix the wilted spinach in with the whisked eggs and cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

Place a piece of parchment paper in either a round cake pan or a rectangular baking dish (this will help you lift your finished pie out of its pan without it sticking or breaking). Lightly coat the center of the paper with olive oil.  Individually place three pieces of filo pastry in pan, seasoning each with olive oil, cayenne pepper, grated nutmeg, salt and fresh pepper as each is laid. Pour your egg-cheese-spinach mixture into the center of the filo sheets, and one by one fold the sheets around the mixture like a parcel. Seal the folded edges of the sheets with egg yolk and a pastry brush. Sprinkle a little cayenne on top for color.

Bake on the top shelf of the oven until the pie crust is golden and crisp (about 20 minutes).

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “Malika’s “Moroccan” Spinach Feta Pie”

  1. Emerald says:

    Cannot WAIT!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Kate says:

    So as the world turns, I need to eat. Thrice daily on average. And, do you know what I ate yesterday? Malika’s “Moroccan” Spinach Feta Pie. To be honest, I am not sure MY pie was quite deserving of Malika’s moniker. Yes, it was DELICIOUS but it appears that on review, I need to go to remedial phyllo school ASAP. You see, willing store bought phyllo to defrosting via groping and staring is not an effective warming mechanism and mini phyllo pieces do NOT a delightful little parcel make and phyllo quilts are not as effective as one might imagine.
    BUT, that said, the filling was SUPER SUPER easy to make and the end result was delicious if not as pretty as yours. I wish we could post photos here as I would like to share (lower the intimidation factor for newbies, you know) but I’ll tweet them your way instead. Soooo very media savvy.
    Thank you for the delish recipe.

  3. Tarajia says:

    Thank you for your bright eyes and encouragement Baselblast!

  4. Baselblast says:

    Ummm, I am not sure if your spell check has crossed emmentaler with elemental, or if being in Switzerland, we self-compliment by supposing everyone wants our cheese. (sorry to point this out but precision, precision is the name of the game here just like watch movements. ooo it’s infectious.) About the spinach pie, it looks divine and I’m making it straight away. Danke!

  5. Baba Ghanoush says:

    Don’t know what sounds more divine.. the holiday or the Spinach Feta Pie. Having grown up on Spanokopita I can’t wait to try this variation.

  6. Bananita says:

    My kitchen is your kitchen. please do come cook this chez moi.

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