spinach and ricotta pie with a cheese crust

27 Jul 2020

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's greens pie from her book Ostro has been one of the most baked items during COVID-19 lockdown. It's not too dissimilar from Skye McAlpine's recipe for spinach mint and ricotta pie so I decided to combine the 2 to make this spinach and ricotta pie with a cheese crust.

We're teetering on the brink of increased restrictions here in NSW and with it, panic buying has returned. Toilet paper and pasta are hard to find and when I went looking for frozen spinach with which to make this pie, I tried 2 supermarkets and both had sold out yet there was a glut of fresh spinach at the fruit shop. 

Instead I bought a bunch of spinach for the pie which I trimmed, washed, cooked, drained then squeezed the water out, chopped it and then remembered why I usually use frozen spinach. What a pfaff!

Here's the recipe for you adapted from A Table in Venice by Skye McAlpine and Greens Pie by Julia Busuttil Nishimura. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC. 

Spinach and ricotta pie with cheese crust – makes a 17cm pie 
Serves 4
250g plain flour
50g grated parmesan cheese
A generous pinch salt
125g cold unsalted butter, diced
⅓ cup cold water

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 leeks, white and light green parts only, neatly sliced and washed
1 garlic clove, sliced
250 frozen spinach, defrosted or 1 bunch spinach washed and wilted as above
175g ricotta cheese, well drained
20g parmesan, grated
2 eggs
Pinch nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the pastry, combine the flour, cheese and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to make dough, bringing it together with your hands until smooth or you could do this step in the food processor. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a 17cm spring-form tin. Cut off ⅓ of the dough and roll out thinly on a lightly floured surface to fit the base of the spring-form tin. Using a rolling pin drape the pastry over the base cutting it to fit. Cover the pastry with a piece of baking paper, before attaching the ring. This should hold the baking paper in place avoiding the need for baking beads. Chill for 15-20 minutes then bake the base for 20 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden. Remove the tin from the oven, unclip the ring and remove the baking paper and set aside to cool while you make the filling.  

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the leek, garlic and a pinch of salt and sauté for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Set aside in a large bowl. Defrost the frozen spinach in the microwave, squeezing out the excess water from the spinach before transferring to the bowl. Add the ricotta, the parmesan, 1 whole egg and half a beaten egg and the nutmeg then season and mix well. Don’t discard the egg as the remainder will be used to glaze the top of the pie. Return the mixture to the fridge while you finish lining the tin. Divide the remaining pastry in half and roll out one half thinly on a lightly floured surface. Use this half to line the sides of the tin leaving a little overhang. 

Once you’ve lined the sides of the tin return the case to the fridge to firm a little before spooning in the filling. Roll out the remaining pastry so it’s large enough to cover the tin. My spring-form tin is quite high so I folded the edges of the pastry over the filling and glazed the edge of the pastry before laying the remaining pastry over the top of the pie to form a lid. Trim off any excess pastry and use your fingers to seal the edges together. Use a sharp knife to slash 4 slits at the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Brush the leftover beaten egg all over the top of the pie.

Bake the pie for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the pastry is dark golden and the filling heated through (slide a knife into one of the slashes down to the base of the pie; it should come out feeling warm to the touch). Remove from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn out of the tin and serve warm or at room temperature.

Parmesan cheese is one of my favourite things and it adds a little extra flavour to the pastry, which was already delicious and adding a leek to the mixture added a little extra flavour to the filling. It was definitely worth making.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now,


apple and blackberry crumble cake

20 Jul 2020

This cake is a tale of 2 cities and 2 recipes. I saw a photo of a blackberry and apple streusel cake in the Coles magazine and planned to make it while I was in Brisbane. I ran out of time so I froze the filling and took it back home to Sydney with me. The cake, which I then made in Sydney using the filling, was adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe. 

The recipe makes a simple but moist butter cake with a blackberry filling topped with apple slices, blackberries and an irresistibly crunchy crumble. You can make the blackberry layer and the crumble some time in advance. 

Blackberries are pretty expensive at the moment so I used frozen berries to make both the filling and the cake. Don't bother defrosting the berries before using them as frozen berries keep their shape better whilst cooking. You could leave out the blackberry layer if you wanted to and just stud the top with blackberries. Or if you wanted to, you could leave out the blackberries entirely and make an apple crumble cake. I promise you it will still be delicious.

Here's the recipe for you, which makes a 17 to 20 cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC. 

Apple and Blackberry Crumble Cake (adapted from Nigel Slater’s ‘Tender, volume II)
75g blackberries, fresh or frozen
1½ tbsp caster sugar

50g butter
50g plain flour
60g raw sugar
2 heaped tbsp rolled oats
pinch of cinnamon  

1 small Granny Smith apple, cored, coarsely grated
1 Granny Smith apple, extra, thinly sliced
1 small lime or lemon zested and juiced
75g blackberries, fresh or frozen
100g butter
100g caster sugar 
2 eggs
75g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
50g almond meal

Place the blackberries and caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring for 5 mins or until the mixture thickens slightly. Set aside to cool completely.

Make the crumble by rubbing the flour and butter together then stirring in the sugar, oats and cinnamon to make large crumbs. Place in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 17cm with baking paper. 

Squeeze juice over the apple slices then set to one side. Beat the butter, sugar and rind together until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat together. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and then add the almond meal. Stir to combine. Add to the mixture in two or three lots alternating with the grated apple.

Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared pan and then spoon over the blackberry filling. Top with the remaining cake batter before smoothing the surface. Top with reserved apple slices and blackberries and gently press into the cake batter. 

Scatter the crumble on top of the cake and bake for about an hour until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out moist but relatively clean. If the crumble browns on top too quickly, then cover with a piece of foil halfway through whilst it finishes cooking through.

Cool in the pan for 5 mins before turning onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. I served it plain dusted with a drift of icing sugar but some thick cream would be a nice accompaniment.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen (or Dad's).

Bye for now,



orange marmalade bundt cake

13 Jul 2020

I've been in Brisbane the past few weeks and this fancy bundt tin belongs to my Dad. It's a little larger than the tin I use at home so I always have to play around with the recipe to fit the tin. 

Dad loves a good old fashioned butter cake but he doesn't like sweet cakes so when I bake for him I eschew icing and I also reduce the sugar quantity in the recipe a little. With a very sad looking orange and the dregs of a bottle of orange marmalade in the fridge, I decided to make an orange marmalade bundt cake which I 
adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe.

This is a classic 3 egg butter cake jazzed up with the addition of some almond meal and a few spoons of orange marmalade. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a medium bundt cake or a 20cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC. If you bake the cake in a round tin, it will take about 10 more minutes to bake.

Orange Marmalade Bundt Cake – adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe.
150 g unsalted butter (at room temperature) plus extra for greasing
135 -150g caster sugar
1 large orange, rind grated and juiced to make 60 mls
2 tablespoons marmalade
3 large eggs
150 g self-raising flour
⅓ cup almond meal
Pinch sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a medium size Bundt tin and place in the fridge.

Cream the butter, caster sugar and rind until pale and fluffy, then beat in the marmalade, followed by the eggs. Fold in the flour, ground almonds and a pinch of sea salt then fold through all the juice.

Carefully spoon the cake batter into the tin. Place in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before turning out the cake onto a cooling rack. Cool then lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

The uncooked batter tasted delicious so I knew the cake was going to be a winner and it was. It had a lovely orange flavour and a perfect crumb. If you like a sweeter cake, then increase the sugar to 150 grams.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen (or Dad's).

Bye for now,


salted apricot pecan spelt chocolate chunk cookies

6 Jul 2020

I've been visiting my Dad in Brisbane and during the week I decided it was time to do some baking. I know it sounds kind of weird but I find baking relaxing. I looked online and found a rye cranberry chocolate chunk cookie recipe from Mokonuts in Paris that had garnered rave reviews. 

Although I had the base ingredients of butter, plain flour, eggs, sugar and chocolate, not surprisingly Dad didn't have rye flour, cranberries or poppyseeds in the cupboard. In true COVID-19 spirit I decided to make the cookies with what was available.

So instead of rye cranberry chocolate chunk cookies, they became salted apricot spelt and pecan chocolate chunk cookies.

I also used the Sarah Kieffer pan banging technique once the cookies came out of the oven before gently flattening the top of the cookies with a metal spatula.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 20 cookies. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC or switch off the fan function.

Apricot pecan spelt chocolate chunk cookies – makes 20 cookies adapted from here
130g wholemeal spelt flour
85g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch sea salt 
½ tsp bicarb soda
140g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
¾ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
50g chopped toasted pecans
80g diced dried apricots
115g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
Sea salt, for sprinkling


Sift together the flours, baking powder, sea salt and bicarb soda; set aside.

In a separate bowl or using a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until light and creamy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until flour has just combined before adding the pecans, apricots and chocolate. Divide the dough into 20 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover and refrigerate the dough overnight or for up to 3 days.

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 200°C. Arrange the cookies on the trays, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Sprinkle tops with salt flakes.

Bake the cookies one tray at a time in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes. Pull the baking tray from the oven and firmly tap 
on the bench a few times then using a spatula, tap the tops so they are flat. Let the cookies rest on the tray for 3 minutes, and then carefully transfer them to a rack. Repeat with the remaining tray. Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

I only baked 6 of the cookies and froze the rest for later. I had one still warm from the oven and it was delicious! Crunchy, salty, slightly tart from the apricots and melted bittersweet chocolate. What's not to love? If you make these please don't use Turkish apricots because they won't provide the tartness needed. If you can't find any other kind of apricots, then I'd use cranberries as originally suggested or dried sour cherries instead.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

© DELICIOUS BITES • Theme by Maira G.