No matter how many signs the universe sends alerting me to the fact that making pie crust is just not my thing – along with skiing, swimming or, let’s face it, any activity requiring a basic level of coordination – I have not given up.
I won’t give up. I am determined to get the hang of this stuff if it’s the last thing I do.
(Pie, are you listening? It’s you and me, and it’s war. And I’m winning this one, okay?)
I might need a minute…
To all of the pastry underdogs out there, I’m happy to tell you that I recently had a small victory, a battle won, you could say. I researched and mixed and rolled and made, well, the perfect pie crust.
In fact, I made three. Two were filled with sweet things, but this one I saved to make something savory: a spinach pie, with a perfectly flaky crust.
If winning the crust game is a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in your own life, I suggest that you head on over to our article on the topic, “Perfecting Your Pie Game: Breaking Down the Daunting Crust.”
You can’t see me right now, but I’m practically punching the air with my fists in sheer joy. It’s Rocky Balboa meets Michael Phelps at the Olympics. Success at last!
Pumpkin is nice, but this savory spinach pie was my real masterpiece. Before I made it, I didn’t even know I liked quiche, to be honest.
The thing about this particular recipe is that it’s not at all eggy.
You can make it that way if you wish, more like a classic quiche with a custardy filling – there are instructions for doing this if you keep reading through to the Cooking By the Numbers section below.
But each slice of this leafy greens-filled work of art is filled with bursts of savory chopped spinach, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, and chopped green onions, a combination that’s dissimilar to any other quiche-like dish I’ve ever had.
It would make a satisfying breakfast, a stunning brunch, a superb lunch, maybe even a light dinner. Or heck, you could keep yourself satisfied with snack-sized slices all day long.
In my opinion, the mark of a good crust, beyond my being able to create it, is versatility.
I’d like it to be simple, yes. Tasty, of course. But what’s really fantastic is a crust you can use whenever you want to.
If you’re not quite ready to make your own just yet but you’re down to try this recipe, get some store bought dough. Nobody’s stopping you!
Buy a few extras, or make a few if you’re so inclined, press them into discs, and freeze them in tightly wrapped plastic, so you can pull one out to fill it with whatever you want, whenever you want to.
And trust me, once you’ve tried this recipe once, this delectable pastry is going to be the thing you want at a moment’s notice.
The first time I made this was on a Sunday afternoon around 4 p.m. By 9:00, the baking dish was more than half empty.
In my book, that’s a victory. Hear that, pie? One point for me.Print
Get your fill of greens in this fluffy spinach pie that’s erupting with leafy goodness, velvety cream cheese, and sharp cheddar cheese.
- 9 ounces homemade or store bought pie dough, slightly chilled
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 3 ounces plain cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- If you’re using homemade pie dough, roll it out onto a piece of floured parchment paper to about 11 inches in diameter.
- Transfer the dough (or pre-made crust) onto a 9-inch round tart or cake pan. Neatly crimp and push in the edges to fit the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl), beat the cream cheese until smooth. On medium-low speed, beat in the cream and eggs until thoroughly combined. Mix in the spinach, cheeses, green onions, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared crust, and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Category: Quiche
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch
Keywords: quiche, pie, spinach, cheese
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Preheat the Oven and Prepare Dough and Ingredients
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Allow the refrigerated dough to come to just below room temperature. It should be easy to work with, but not warm. Out of the fridge, this will take about 10-15 minutes.
Also allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
If you’re using homemade dough (like this All-Butter Spelt Crust), roll it out into a circle on floured parchment paper to about 11 inches in diameter.
Transfer the dough (or pre-made crust) onto an ungreased 9-inch tart or cake pan. If you’re using a store bought crust, it will likely already be rolled out into a circle and you won’t need the extra flour.
Neatly crimp and push in the edges of the dough to fit the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough if necessary.
Step 2 – Chop the Veggies and Beat the Cream Cheese
Step 3 – Slowly Add the Cream and Eggs
On medium-low speed, beat in the cream. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between additions, until thoroughly combined. Try to smooth out as many of the lumps as you can.
Step 4 – Add and Season the Spinach, Cheeses, and Green Onions
A little bit at a time, and with the mixer still running on medium-low speed, add the spinach, cheeses, green onions, salt, and pepper (freshly cracked, please!).
If you’re using a hand mixer, you might want to stir these ingredients in by hand with a spoon or a large spatula instead.
Since the greens are fresh and we’re adding quite a bit to the filling mixture, they won’t wilt and shrink down the way they would if less were added, or if they were sauteed first.
If you would prefer the end result to be more like an eggy quiche (rather than a greens-forward dish), double the amount of eggs and halve the greens. Blanch or saute the spinach and squeeze out as much moisture as you can before chopping it and adding it to the egg mixture.
Step 5 – Pour the Filling into the Crust and Bake
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set, about 35-45 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing, then serve warm or at room temperature.
This will keep for several days in the fridge, or you can freeze individual slices wrapped tightly in plastic for a quick breakfast or snack.
Seconds? Totally Acceptable
Meeting your veggie quota for the day just got so much easier.
If salads make you feel standoffish, this dish is the answer for getting your greens in a much more satisfying way.
Has anything bad ever happened when you’ve added cream, cheese, and cream cheese to a recipe? I didn’t think so.
Don’t be shy with substitutions. Kale and chard will fit right in. And don’t put away that pan just yet – here are three more ways to make good use of it, for your brunching pleasure:
- Fresh Tomato and Egg Tart with Tangy Goat Cheese and Herbs
- Cheesy Quiche with Leeks, Artichokes, and Roasted Red Peppers
- Simple and Delicious Crustless Quiche
The cheeses in this recipe make all the difference. Would you crumble in feta for a salty bite? Good old gouda for a smoky note? Share your cheese of choice in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on November 24, 2008. Last updated: April 23, 2020 at 13:14 pm. With additional writing and editing by Fanny Slater and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.