And this pie – lovely flaky, savory, a touch of sweetness – is based on the classic combination of membrillo (quince paste) and manchego (salty Spanish cheese). I decided to combine them in a pie (everything tastes better in a pie!!). And I thought spinach would be nice with them, because I like spinach with an element of sweetness. The quince paste is quite sweet, so a little goes a long way, and be sure to chop it finely. I used my membrillo scallops. If you don’t have time to make membrillo or can’t find it, you could substitute guava paste, which is available in most grocery stores. Or you could leave it out altogether and the pie would still be delicious!!I made the pie in the shape of a rectangle, because I was thinking of the Spanish empanada gallega, but you could make it in a circle, or oval, or any shape you like!!
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1 1/2 cups flour
1 t dried sage
1/2 t salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen
Mix the flour, sage, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Grate in the butter, mixing with a fork as you go, until you have a coarse, crumbly texture. Add enough ice water to make a workable dough (start with about 1/2 cup). Knead lightly, make a slightly flattened ball, wrap in foil, and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
10 – 12 oz baby spinach
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t fresh rosemary, minced
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup grated manchego
about 1/4 cup membrillo, cut into small slivers or chunks
2 eggs, beaten
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the rosemary and garlic, and fry for about half a minute, then add all of the spinach with a dash of water. Cook until wilted but bright – it should only take a few minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the manchego, membrillo, all but 1 T of the eggs, and nutmeg. Chop the spinach fairly finely, and stir that in as well. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Lightly butter a small baking sheet or cake pan. Roll out 3/4 of the dough in any shape you like. Spread the filling to about 1 inch from the edge. Roll out the remainder of the dough in the same shape, and place it over the top of the filling. Roll up the edges to form a seal. Brush with egg, poke with a fork in a few places, and bake for about half an hour, till it’s puffed and golden. Let it cool for a minute before slicing.