A Pie For All Seasons

Make the pastry and choose the filling. There are days when I need simple and easy, there are days when I need inspiration and there are days when the chard and spinach growing on the allotment is on its last legs and needs using before fully going over to seed. Days like that need a Pie in them.

3_Ligurain Italian Chard Pie (12)

Today’s pie is from Liguria, I have no connection with Liguria, no convenient granny in the family or aunty round the corner, no tales of happy childhoods spent on the Ligurian coast, pie in hand…. I’m from Manchester and we northerners do like a spot of pie – the meat and tater kind served with a good gravy.

Moving on, literally further south Torta Verde is Green Pie and I can’t think of anything more appropriate for an Allotmenteer, a  pie full of allotment greenery,  there is always plenty of greenery to be had on an allotment.  It’s also an all year round pie – Swiss chard and spinach for late winter and early spring, courgettes in summer and pumpkins in autumn / winter; so that in winter it could be called Torta Arancione 🙂

3_Ligurain Italian Chard Pie (15)

I like the idea of portable food,  food you can take places whatever the weather, a picnic pie, an allotment pie, a midday lunch at work pie, a pie for sharing.  A Portable Pie. Since baking the pie I’ve read that it’s traditionally served at Easter and came across countless versions, lots with potato added to fill it out, others with rice in to soak up the juices, but I think this pie doesn’t need those additions, it’s fine and dandy as it is, it’s a pie for all reasons and seasons.

 

Ligurian Torte Verde – A Pie For All Seasons

An all year round olive oil crusty Italian pie with Swiss chard in late winter and early spring, courgettes in summer and pumpkins in autumn / winter, topped off with a simple olive oil pastry. A great vegetarian pie, perfect as a starter, a main or even better for a picnic on the beach,  it’s pie-perfect for sharing. Adapted from Sophie Grigson’s Vegetable Bible. Serves 6 to 8

 

3_Ligurain Italian Chard Pie (17)

Ingredients –

  • 500g Swiss chard or spinach, washed and drained
  • a medium sized onion or 4 spring onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 generous tablespoons of parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g parmesan
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Pastry –

  • 400g strong plain flour
  • 6 tblsp olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • A little warm water

Method –

  • First make the pastry by sifting the flour into a large bowl, make a well and pour in the olive oil and the pinch of salt, start mixing it together and add a little warm water (a bit at a time) to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and rest it for 30 minutes in the fridge
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4
  • Lightly oil a 23cm / 9” tart tin
  • In a food processor mix the spinach / chard, the onion, garlic and parsley until well blended – pour the mix into a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, no worries, simply chop the chard, onion, garlic and parsley very finely and mix together in a bowl
  • Take the pastry out and cut into two pieces, one should be slightly larger than the other piece
  • Roll the larger piece out to form a thin pastry and line the tart tin
  • In the bowl with the spinach/chard mix now add the oil, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper to taste, mix it in well.
  • Next roll out the 2nd piece of pastry and cover the pie, tidy the edges, and crimp/seal them with the back of a fork
  • Brush the pastry with a little olive oil
  • Make 3 slashes in the top of the pastry and bake for 45-50 minutes
  • Remove from the oven, cool a little and take it out of the tin and serve – great either hot or cold

 

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63 comments

  • This looks amazing…I will certainly use this recipe when my greens are ready! It reminds me of the savory Pasty our upper peninsula is famous for…they carry those pies cold in lunches, too, or eat them hot with gravy. Thanks, Claire!

      • Yes, I think it is derived from the Finnish heritage of many folks in Michigan’s upper peninsula. They are a lard-based pastry crust with a filling of vegetables and meats (that vary, but turnip is supposedly a must-have for a true Pasty). They are called Pasty – with a short vowel sound, and were traditional lunch fare for the miners. Now they are a tourist-draw, and a “must-have” whenever we go north!

        • Thank you Cindy, I find food history and cultures fascinating, and the Finnish roots of the pasty tick those boxes. Have you heard of Cornish pasties they sound a bit similar in that they were taken to work (including down the mines) too.

  • That sounds and looks incredibly delicious. We’re about a month behind because our winter was brutal this year.

    • I’ve been hearing how bad winter has been to you and how late spring is in its arrival. It’s tough isn’t so when summer arrives it will be a real WOW for you! Hope you have a great week Eva

  • A lovely looking pie and a great rollicking intro to it, Claire. My greens are still very young and full of good intentions, so will remember this when they are more mature. Gorgeous crust!

    • Thank you for your compliments and kind words, I usually have a stash of chopped up spinach and chard in the freezer so it gets used throughout the year and means I don’t have to eat it every day when in season 🙂

    • I think you’d enjoy this Cathy, nice and easy and tasty. Mind you I was reading about Parmesan cheese the other day and how it has cow renet in it so isn’t any good for a vegetarian diet…. who knew?!

      • I’ve been trying to solve this problem recently, and hardly ever use traditional parmesan now. There are alternatives, but they are hard to find and not quite as tasty 😦

  • I have a spanakopita in the oven right now! I make mine with filo–it’s quick, tasty and easy. I like it without cheese, however, I make little feta cheese puffs without any greens when I feel like indulging. Happy Nesting.

    • Love spanakopita, just love it! In fact I made one recently which I still need to blog …. story of my life really! The one thing I really like about this pie was the olive oil pastry, I’d recommend it – nice and easy to make and tasty too

  • A very superior and tasty looking pie Miss PP! Do hope that in the absence of gravy you accompanied it with a little glass of wine 😉 Love the olive oil pastry too.

  • A brilliant ‘green pie’, Claire. I love sweet/fruit pies but every once in a while something savoury really hits the spot and it’s a great way to use up the greens from your garden.

    • I’m more of a savoury kind of girl, the one thing I’m not great at is portion control or making small amounts…… it seems that is a constant work in progress and what I’d like to do is work out the quantities of a pie like this but just for 2 people

  • That looks gorgeous! Can you tell me more about the flour you use as I am not sure what strong plain flour is? I always struggle with pastry.

    • Hi Joanna, I just use the standard supermarket flour that’s labelled strong!!! I realise you are into your baking so this is a bit embarrassing 🙂 It’s funny as I can generally do pastry and I’ve no idea why…….

  • A portable pie. I love thinking in those terms and will now do so when I take pie to someone’s home.

  • Methinks the pumpkin Arancione version might best be well doused with orange juice and zest, too. But in this season, la Verde is indeed the thing. 🙂
    xo

    • Hi Dana, it really is easy. I don’t like complicated recipes very much and this one certainly ticks that box! Hope you get to try and make it and enjoy it too 🙂

  • I think I could manage to make that! I’m not very talented when it comes to pie casings (pastry). I’ve never mastered the flaky bit. 🙂

  • I’ve had a similar pie with black olives added to it, other times with some chopped egg added to it so I know your pie with greens fresh from the garden is delicious.

      • Yes, right you are… and though we respect all visitors, those VIPs make it rather hard to get through town without getting stuck in a traffic jam. But we know that this is just passing notoriety.

  • I love the sound of this really versatile green-filled pastry, Claire! I’ve never had anything quite like it, and haven’t previously envisioned eating my greens quite this way. I think you’re so correct in speaking of all the different vegetables that would round out each season. I’m quite taken with this idea. I always have more greens than I know what to do with and I do get a little tired of them sometimes. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this!

    • I know what you mean about greens and kids! I heard about some research the other day about getting your kids to eat better food, the trick is to not tell them it is good for them but that its tasty…….. good luck Inger!!

  • Ooh chard pie! I love this idea, I have a bed of red chard and red amaranth that is getting ready to bolt, and it would be perfect in this! Not sure I could called it a Torte Verde then though – what do you think? Torte Rouge? 🙂

    • Red Pie sounds good to me Celia. I freeze small batches of shard and spinach – blanch very briefly, drain and chop. Makes it easier to deal with gluts…… Anyway happy pieday 🙂

      • Claire, we just feed our gluts to the chooks – the freezer is full of bread! 🙂 PS. Apologies, had to reload my most recent post and lost your comment in the process – am having problems purely of my own creation! Hopefully sorted now.. xx

  • This is the perfect thing to use the chard (like Celia’s, it’s starting to bolt). I need more simple recipes for greens and this will do nicely, thank you.

    • Well this is certainly a simple recipe Sharyn and I bet you would make a great pie crust too. My early sown spinach has bolted, the chard is fine. I can’t seem to grow an early crop of spinach – I want those young tender leaves for summer salads. I probably need to sow a lot earlier or find a reliable variety!

  • Claire, I am from the Southern United States and we love a “spot of pie” very much. In fact I have never met a pie I did not like…some I love…some I crave….
    I like making savory pies as well as sweet ones. Good recipe and story.

    • I love fresh spinach, sadly the plants bolted and I’ve had to di them up! Luckily the chard seems ok so I will still be able to mak ethis pie over summer 🙂

  • My Italian heritage is Ligurian, (Cicagna) and my grandmother who emigrated from there made a very similar pie with olives.
    To this day, if I smell a fig or an olive I careen back through time to the 1960s and her kitchen. Man, could that woman COOK!!

    • Ahhhh I can imagine the smells from the kitchen! And I will have to try the olives, I LOVE olives in all shapes and forms.
      My grandmother was Welsh, a very different style of cookery – but she could make amazing pastry and pies 🙂

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