So there isn’t anything actually to do with sunflowers in this recipe but it kind of looks like a sunflower, right? Yes, you can still see the spinach within the “petals” of the pie so it doesn’t look exactly like a sunflower. Next time, I might make it with a butternut squash filling to really bring out that yellow color.
This is my second time making this recipe, which I’ve adapted from Thinkarete. You can see a tiny picture of my first attempt in the logo next to the blog name on the top of the page. It’s a really gorgeous pie and it makes for a fantastic centerpiece. I made this as an appetizer for a party last night and it was a hit. It is a little time consuming to make but it’s not as difficult as it looks. I know it looks intimidating, but it’s easy enough to make so give it a shot! And I took a lot of pictures to help you along the way.
Here are the adaptations I made to the recipe. Feel free to use any crust recipe you like, this happens to be the one I used.
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
- 12 oz (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Ice water
- Let the butter get soft enough to cut easily but not quite room temperature (it should be a little chilly). Cut into cubes.
- Add flour, butter, salt, and vinegar to a food processor and mix until it resembles a crumbly mixture.
- Slowly add water until the ingredients come together to became a soft ball of dough. I didn’t quantify how much water I added so I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. My advice would be to add about 1 tbsp at a time and check the dough to make sure it isn’t too dry or wet.
- Softly knead the dough and form into a ball. Divide in two and form into flat discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes until you’re ready to use it.
- When you’re ready to use it, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. One of the discs should be rolled to about 12 inches diameter, the other 14 inches.
And now for the filling and assembly.
- 12 oz spinach
- 12 oz ricotta cheese
- Salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Yellow food coloring (optional)
- Chia seeds (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Roughly chop spinach and add to the water. Boil until the spinach is soft.
- Drain spinach thoroughly in a strainer.
- Mix together spinach, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to make the filling.
- Lay out the 12-inch circle of dough on your baking tray. Be warned that you can’t move the pie to another platter after you bake it. I learned this the hard way the first time I made this recipe. So this time, I baked it directly in the platter I had planned to serve it on.
- Using some scraps of dough, make a small disc of dough about 3-inches in diameter and place it in the center of the 12-inch dough. This second layer of dough is to make sure that the dough doesn’t rip through when you add the filling. If you roll the dough out thickly enough, you don’t need to do the second layer.
- Spread bread crumbs over the dough. This helps to absorb some of the moisture from the filling so that the dough doesn’t get soggy.
- Spoon filling into the center and in a ring around the edge of the dough.
- Lay the 14-inch pie dough over the spinach filling.
- Using a bowl over the center filling, press the pieces of dough together with your thumb. Then use a fork to make imprints around the edge of the pie and around the bowl.
- Slice the pie into 24 segments (or however many you want).
- Turn the slices on their side, turning them all the same direction. It’s easiest to do this by lifting the slice with a spoon and directing it over with your fingers. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over each slice.
- Brush buttermilk over the center.
- Sprinkle chia seeds over the buttermilk. This is optional but it definitely gives it that sunflower look.
- Bake at 350 deg F for 30 minutes. Halfway through baking, it occurred to me that the parmesan cheese wasn’t melting to give the “petals” a golden color like I had hoped. So I ended up mixing some parmesan cheese with yellow food coloring and sprinkling this over the slices. Alternatively, you could just use yellow cheddar cheese.
- Serve warm and enjoy!