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Spinach-and-Grape-Leaf Pie

Chef Alex Raij made this big, impressive pie, which she calls pastel de parra, to snack on throughout the weekend; a big slice is also satisfying as a meal.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 4 large whole eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, minced

  • Salt

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • One 10-ounce jar of grape leaves, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

  • 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced

  • Six 10-ounce packages frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, or 3 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed and blanched

  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed

  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta (1 cup)

  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (1/4 cup)

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk, for glazing


  1. make the dough In a food processor, combine the 2 cups of flour and the salt and pulse a few times to blend. Add half of the butter and pulse until it is the size of large peas. Add the remaining butter and pulse until all of the butter is the size of baby peas. Make holes in the flour mixture and drizzle in the heavy cream. Pulse until the dough starts to come together.
  2. make the dough Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead it a few times and form the dough into a ball. Cut off one-third of the dough and gently form it into a disk. Gently flatten the larger piece of dough into a disk. Wrap both disks tightly in plastic and refrigerate until they are firm, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. make the filling In a medium saucepan, cover the 4 whole eggs with warm water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain the eggs and cover with cold water. Lightly crack the shells, and when the eggs are cool, carefully peel them.
  4. make the filling In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and a large pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the grape leaves, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the scallions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is heated through and thoroughly incorporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. make the filling Scrape the greens from the skillet into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the peas, ricotta, Parmigiano, beaten egg, lemon juice, nutmeg and mint. Season the filling with salt and pepper.
  6. make the filling Preheat the oven to 425°. Heat a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the large piece of dough to a 16-inch round slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. Fold the dough in half and transfer it to a 10-inch springform pan. Unfold the dough and gently press it into the pan and up the side. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch. Refrigerate the dough in the pan. Roll out the smaller piece of dough to a 10-inch round, slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. Slide the round onto a cookie sheet and chill for 5 minutes, until firm. Trim the round to 9 inches.
  7. make the filling Arrange the whole cooked eggs in the dough-lined pan and cover with the filling, smoothing the top. Place the 9-inch dough round on top and brush the edge with some of the egg-milk glaze. Fold the overhanging dough over the center round and pinch the edges together to seal. Brush the top and edge of the pie with the glaze.
  8. make the filling Transfer the pie to the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust is richly browned and the filling is hot. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool to warm.
  9. make the filling Remove the side of the pan. Cut the pie into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The dough, filling and cooked eggs can be refrigerated separately overnight. Bring the filling to room temperature before proceeding. The baked pie can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours or covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days; reheat gently in a 375° oven.

Suggested Pairing

Citrusy, full-bodied white Rioja.

Contributed By Photo © Antonis Achilleos Published July 2012

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