Easter Egg Pies with Spring Greens
It will be no surprise to hear that spring greens are in-season now, so don’t let chocolate eggs steal the show this Easter! These brilliant Easter Egg Pies are based on the Greek Easter pie, which is filled with foraged wild greens, and traditionally celebrates the arrival of spring. For a change, I’ve hidden an egg in the centre of each pie. You could use a deep muffin tin for the pies instead of pudding basins. A perfect complete, nutritious food encased in a convenient, individual package, the egg is a marvel of versatility and for very little expense.
If you are able to go out for a spot of foraging in the spring sunshine, keep an eye out for nettles. Try and get them in spring, when the leaves are young and tender. Wearing thick gloves and using scissors, gather the youngest leaves and, as the season progresses, only pick the tips – the older leaves can be bitter. Gather nettles away from roads, wash well before cooking and enjoy this herby, nutritious leaf – a good source of iron, vitamins A and C and a surprisingly generous amount of protein.
And if you can’t get nettles, try the Easter Egg Pies with rocket or chard.
Easter Egg Pies with Spring Greens
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
60g/2 oz butter, melted
5 small eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
260g/9 oz greens, such as nettles, rocket and chard, stalks removed, leaves shredded
250g/9oz/2 cups curd cheese
4 tsp thyme leaves or 2 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
8 sheets of filo pastry, 30 x 26cm/12 x 10½in
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and brush four deep metal pudding basins (about 200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup) with some of the melted butter. Hard-boil 4 of the eggs, then refresh under cold running water, peel and leave to one side. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 8 minutes until softened and starting to colour. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
2. If using nettles, wash them well and cook in a pan with no extra water for 4 minutes to neutralize the sting. Drain well, pat dry and tip into a large bowl with the onion mixture. Stir in the remaining mixed greens, curd cheese, thyme and nutmeg. Lightly beat the remaining egg and add to the bowl, season well with salt and pepper and stir until combined.
3. Lay out 1 sheet of the filo, brush half with butter and fold in half to cover the butter-coated part. Carefully press the filo into one of the prepared basins, leaving the excess pastry overhanging. Repeat with a second sheet of filo, then put it across the first sheet and press it into the basin to make a pastry case, again leaving an overhang.
4. Put a large tablespoonful of the greens mixture in the base of the pastry-lined basin and put a peeled hard-boiled egg upright in it. Spoon the greens mixture around and on top of the egg, pressing down with your fingers and filling the basin to the brim. Brush the overhanging pastry with more melted butter and fold it over the filling, scrunching to seal the top. Brush with more butter, then repeat to make 4 pies. Put the pies on a baking sheet and bake for 30–40 minutes until golden and crisp. Leave to cool slightly in the basins, then carefully turn out. If the pastry shells are a little soft, return the pies to the oven for another 5 minutes to crisp up.
Beetroot is still in-season, so take a look at these 3 simple recipes for this under-appreciated vegetable
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