Savory pies, or their fancier cousin, quiches, are a great way to use a combination of leftovers, pantry items, and your imagination. Like with sweet pies, a savory pie can make you use your creativity in new and surprising ways.
Plus, it’s a good, quick meal after a long day at work.
A few tips on making savory pies:
1. Frozen pie crusts are fine. That’s what I used in this recipe. I know some will think it’s cheating, or, at worst, sacrilege, but I think it works perfectly well for this recipe.
2. Keep the pie crust frozen until just before you’re ready to fill it. Otherwise, it will become soggy during baking.
3. Always have whole milk and eggs on hand. They’ll make the custard, or base, of the pie. Don’t use 2%, 1%, or skim milk. They won”t stand up to the heat.
4. If you’re using a cooked filling in the pie, make sure it’s cooled off before you put it into the crust. Otherwise, it will begin to melt the crust too early and/or cook the eggs too quickly.
5. Cheese is always good.
6. When you bake the pie, take it out of the oven when it has a slight wobble in the center. Let the pie sit for 10 minutes before cutting. This will allow the pie to settle and finish setting up in the center without overcooking the eggs,
Now, to the recipe.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. spinach, chopped (if you’re using baby spinach, don’t worry about chopping)
1 c. whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 c. shredded Gruyère cheese
1 ea. frozen 9-inch pie shell
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil (this is to transport the pie to and from the oven). Tear a long piece of foil in half lengthwise; fold each piece in half again lengthwise. You will use these to wrap the edges of the crust before you add the filling. (The foil will keep the edges of the crust from burning in the oven.)
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over rmedium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt, and saute until they soften, about 5 – 7 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt.
Remove the skillet from the heat and let the mixture cool. (To cool the filling faster, take it out of the pan and spread it onto a plate.)
3. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, mix together the eggs, milk or half-and-half, rosemary, nutmeg, and salt & pepper. Set aside. This is the custard mixture.
4. Take the pie crust out of the freezer and place it on the baking sheet. Take your two reserved pieces of foil and wrap them around the outer edge of the pie crust. There will be some overlap. Be sure the foil doesn’t go down the sides of the crust where the filling will be.
5. Line the bottom of the crust with the grated Gruyère.
Next, spread the spinach-mushroom mixture as evenly as possible over the cheese.
Lastly, slowly over the custard to fill the pie.
6. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean and there is a very slight wobble in the center of the pie. Let the pie stand for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.