When I mention that I love to cook, the next question is usually, “what do you like to cook?” It’s a good question that has sometimes led to a rapid recipe exchange but more often to painfully awkward moments while I strain to come up with some response. I didn’t grow up with a strong culinary tradition that got passed down over the generations. A really good recipe for my grandma’s mac ‘n’ cheese is about as deep as my culinary roots go. My mother has adopted as many recipes from my sister, sister-in-law and me as we have adopted from her.
So when someone asks, “what do you like to cook?” no particular cuisine comes to mind.
But this week it finally dawned on me. I like to cook pies. For desserts I love a good galette or hand-pie. But boy do I like a good savory pie as well, and nearly every culture has a good one: empanadas from Latin America and the Philippines, Cornish pasties, British cheddar pies, South African meat pies, Chinese Xian Bing, Greek Byrek and Spanakopita, and, obviously, an authentic Italian pizza!
With my love of the savory pie, I’m always delighted to find one that incorporates plenty of vegetables. This one fit the bill. And, best of all, it included CHEESE. Fresh mozzarella, to be exact. And the most delicious crust you’ve ever had.
How do you answer when asked, “what do you like to cook?” Maybe this recipe will be the start of your realization that pies are simply the best cuisine there is, especially if there is cheese in them.
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 stick + 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 egg, separated
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups marinated artichoke hearts (drained of liquid)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3.5-4 ounces Conebella Farm fresh mozzarella
- Mix the dry ingredients for the crust in a food processor until combined. Separate the stick of butter into thirds and add all of the butter, little by little, pulsing the food processor until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Mix the egg yolk and ice water together and add to processor. Mix just until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the oil. Add minced garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts. Then add artichokes, basil, black pepper and salt.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- On a well floured surface using a well floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is big enough to fit in a pie plate with a little room to spare. Transfer to pie plate. Dump the filling in the center.
- Tear off pieces of mozzarella cheese and add to top of filling. (I especially like to put mozzarella at the edges so the crust is nice and cheesy!)
- Fold edges of crust over so that the filling is partially covered. Mix the white of the egg with a little water and brush this over the crust.
- Bake pie for 45 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is slightly browned.