This pie is something I cook when I need something tasty, filling, and mostly for meat eaters who are coming to eat at the house. Pair it with a Greek salad, some homemade or store bought tzatziki and you have a tasty meal, hot from the oven. Every time I cook this, the guest asks for the recipe. So here it is!
I took adapted this recipe from either a cookbook or a cooking magazine, I don’t remember. It was already vegetarian, but did things like used onion, and frozen spinach. So I changed it up, and started to make it the current awesomeness that it is.
The ingredients are as follows: A tight, heavy bunch of silverbeet, 200g of feta, 200g of haloumi, 5 eggs, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 100ml cream, 2 sheets of shortcrust pastry, salt, pepper and fresh or dried thyme. For the side dishes, some baby cos, cherry tomatoes, a cucumber, 200g of feta (400g all up), and a container of tzatziki. It is hard to decide what the star of this dish is. Is it the silverbeet? Is it the cheeses? I think its a combination of both.
Preheat the oven to 180C The first part is making the filling. As we are using fresh silverbeet we need to chop it up. Preparing silverbeet is really pretty easy. You need to strip the leafy part from the stalk. Lay the leaves out flat and cut with a sharp knife up either side of the stalk. Do this for all the leaves. Then take 4 or 5 of the cut leaves and lay them on top of each other. Roll them into a tight cigar-like shape. You then shred them. I place them in a colander at this point to give them a really good rinse under cold water. Any of the finer stalks I cut into thin sticks, and then again into small cubes. I use these in my mix as I really like the extra texture and flavour that they add to this dish. But only use the smaller tender stalks.
Grab 3 cloves of garlic. I have used a single clove garlic, as that is what I had. Mince it finely. Fry this off in some olive oil.
Add your drained chopped silverbeet leaves and stalks. Fry them until the moisture is gone and it has all wilted. Place in a colander to drain and cool. At this point get out 2 of your pastry sheets to defrost.
Grate up your feta and haloumi cheeses with a coarse grater setting.
Crack 4 of the eggs into a bowl and add some fresh or dried thyme (here I used both), mill in some pepper, and the cream. Mix until all combined.
Your pasty sheets should now be defrosted. Cut them both in half diagonally. Take each of the triangles and lay them so they all have their outside corner together, to make a large square. Press down the edges really well, then take a fork, and fork along the joined sides. There should only be about 1cm of overlap. But they need to be pressed together really well, so it doesn’t come apart or leak.
Now to assemble. You should do this on your baking sheet, that has been lined with a baking paper. You cannot move this pie once assembled to another tray, it will break apart and be a big mess. Trust me on this, im actually an expert. Take the cooled silverbeet mixture. I tend to really push and squeeze it while it is in the colander as this gets rid of any excess moisture. Place this mixture in the middle of your pastry square. You should leave 10cm gap around the edge of the pastry. Next place on top of that directly the grated cheese.
The next step is to cut off the corners of the pastry square. This isn’t really required but It means you get less pastry on the corners. Now take one side and fold it over your mixture. Take the next side and do the same, until all sides have been folded up over the filling. Crimp the edges to make sure you get a tight seal between each edge. You do not want your egg mixture to leak. Once it is all sealed, pour over the egg mixture slowly over the middle. It should sink down and fill up the pie. If it is sitting on top of the cheese and not sinking, this is due to the cheese being too compacted, so grab a fork and gently poke through the cheese and ‘aerate’ the filling, the egg mixture should sink through. Finish by cracking the final egg into a bowl, mix it and give the pastry a brush with this egg wash to help it brown. I also add a sprinkling of sea salt flakes to the pastry. Place into a preheated oven at 180C until the pastry is golden, and the filling has set. The filling should not wobble at all. I find it takes about 20-30 minutes.
While the pie is baking I make a really simple greek style salad. Yes I use lettuce in my salad, and no I do not care that it isn’t traditional. I cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and chop the remaining 200g of feta into chunks. I half the cucumber and half it again length ways, I then cut out the seeds, and then dice the cucumber. The seeds are the part that cause you to burp! I then mix these three awesome ingredients and scatter them over a bed of baby cos leaves. I make a really simple dressing using 1 part lemon juice and 3 parts olive oil and some dried oregano. I put this in a separate container, and never on my salad as that makes it wilt.
when the pie is ready and hot, take it out of the oven, cut it into portions and serve with the salad and tzatziki. Meat eaters love this dish, as they never realise they are missing meat. Its my simple make in a pinch for any picky eater meal. And now here is the recipe I can point everyone at.