I was listening to NPR the other day and heard a food writer talking about a Tuscan Spinach tart. It's a sweet dish and was served as a course in a Tuscan feast. The Romans were apparently less strict about having sweets as a dessert than as a course in a larger, savory meal.*
Anyhoo, here's the original recipe: Tuscan Sweet Spinach Pie
It sounded scrumptious but I didn't have spinach, maraschino cherry liquor, or candied citron.
Nor did I have a deep dish pie pan.
Did I let these minor setbacks deter me?
I didn't have spinach, I had stinging nettles. I didn't have maraschino liquor but I had Elderflower cordial. I didn't have candied citron, I had candied ginger.
I don't know how the pie will taste. I'm having friends over for dinner tonight so we'll see. But I do know that recipes are occasionally bullshit.Riddled with mistakes.
This one neglected to divulge the baking temperature of the pie. Gotta say, poorly edited recipes are a pet peeve of mine. Damn, if more than one person is reading a recipe, Get It Right.
Tuscan Green Tart:
For the Crust:
9 oz AP Flour (about 3 cups)
1 stick plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 oz (<1/2 cup) sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tspn baking powder
zest of one lemon
1 Tbsp water if needed
For the filling:
1/2 pound fresh nettles, blanched shocked and finely chopped (blanch for three minutes in lightly salted water)
2 ea eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar (divided use)
1 oz chopped candied ginger
splash Elderflower liquor
For the crust:
Cut together, or use a food processor, to combine flour, butter and sugar until it resembles course sand.
Add egg yolks, baking powder and zest and process until a dough forms. It will look crumbly and not particularly doughy. Pinch it, if it holds together, it's ready. If it doesn't, add 1 Tbsp water.
Mold into a fat disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Lightly butter a 10 inch pie pan.When the dough is completely chilled (about one hour), roll out the dough. Place in the pie pan and trim the edges. Flute if you like. Roll the excess dough as well and plastic wrap everything and put it in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 325.
When the filling is done, pull out the crust and dock it (poke with a fork all over the base and sides of the dough). Either use the remaining dough, rolled out and cut as a lattice or make shapes with it to lay on top of the filled pie.
Grind the almonds until they resemble course sand. Reserve. In a bowl, beat the yolks with half the 1/3 cup of sugar until well combined. Add the nettles, ginger and liqueur and mix well.
If you have a good mixer on a base and you haven't used it yet, get it out.
This is why you bought the damned thing.
In a separate bowl, (using the fancy mixer), beat the whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar and beat until it forms a glossy merangue. It'll take at least 5 -8 minutes.
Fold the meringue into the yolk/nettle mixture. Pour into thr prepared crust, top with decorative lattice, and bake for one hour.
Ooo Baby was this pie delicious. It didn't have a particularly nettle flavor nor did any one ingredient outshine another. It was hearty and well-enjoyed by The Tribe plus one new-to-me fella.
Eat well and love big.
*Frankly I don't know if this is an Etruscan or a Roman dish. I would guess that latter, because of the nature of a short pie dough. Anyway, I'd love a food historian to set me straight.