The recipe for my French Spinach Pie (Tarte aux Epinards) began it’s life as Ina Garten’s Spinach in Puff Pastry…and after years of following her recipe faithfully (because it’s amazing, let’s be honest)…I decided to play around with the flavors a little. Changing the onion to leeks, scallions to chives and adding tarragon makes a subtle, yet distinctive difference in the flavor profile of this oh-so-delicious pie.
I say it’s French because leeks, chives and tarragon are so often used in French cooking, as are the Gruyere and flaky pastry. While Herbes de Provence (marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano) are wonderful in their own right, I am rather fond of the delicate flavors in Fines Herbes (tarragon, chives, chervil & parsley) and thought they would make a nice addition to this already wonderful dish. Of course, you can find versions of spinach pie all around the world…
Greece: Feta + Phyllo pastry = Spanikopita
Turkey: Yogurt + Yufka pastry sprinkled with Sesame seeds = Ispanakli Borek
Italy: Ricotta + Sundried Tomatoes + Pie crust = Italian Spinach Pie
Lebanon: No dairy + Middle Eastern spices = Fatayar
…but if you feel like a taking a trip to the French countryside make this recipe.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 c leeks, split lengthwise & thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 2 (10 oz boxes) frozen spinach, defrosted
- ⅓ c chives, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 c grated Gruyere
- ¾ c grated Parmesan
- 4 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ¾ tsp pepper (I like green or black)
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ c toasted pine nuts
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water
- Heat the oven to 375° F. Saute the leeks in butter over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl. (I use a kitchen towel and twist it over the sink)
- Add the leek mixture, chives, tarragon, Gruyere, Parmesan, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and pine nuts. Mix well.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and place it on the paper.
- Spread the spinach mixture in the middle of the pastry, leaving a one inch border.
- Brush the border with the egg wash.
- Roll out the second piece of puff pastry on a floured board until it’s an inch larger in each direction. (I use Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry which comes between two pieces of parchment – no flour needed)
- Place the second sheet of pastry over the spinach and seal the edges, crimping with a fork. Brush the top with egg wash (don’t let it drip down the sides).
- Make three small slits in the pastry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and serve hot, warm or room temperature.