Tomato, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Pie

Happy National Pie Day everyone! This morning while reading through his morning news, Hec informed me it was National Pie Day. I told him, “No, that is March 14th”. But he meant pie and not pi. So he asked me to make a pie.

I’m sure he meant a sweet pie, but we had lots of tomatoes, so I decided it would be a savory pie with tomatoes. Caramelized onions never did anyone wrong either. And we happened to have some swiss chard we bought a week ago (so it is not actually spinach, as I put in the title), so that was going in as well.

I don’t like to make pies often. I have a great respect for a high quality pie crust, but I don’t like to use lots of butter and I never use shortening. Never. So I googled some recipes and settled on an olive oil whole wheat crust. I used all whole wheat flour instead of half and half. I wish we had white whole wheat flour in Guate. I’ve yet to see it though.

It actually took quite a while to make this, but it was really easy. The time input didn’t bother me though. All week I was excited for Saturday so that I could stay at home, rest, and finally do some experimenting in the kitchen. The pie was delicious. We actually only have one tiny piece left.

Tomato, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Pie
makes 1 8×8″ pie

Ingredients:
1/2 pie crust recipe of choice
2 t olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
pinch of sugar
1 t olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard, kale, or spinach, chopped
pinch of salt
6 roma tomatoes, seeded, salted, and squeezed of juices
1 egg plus 1 eggwhite
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup grated hard cheese, such as parmesean. I used queso seco, but thats hard to find out of Guatemala
1/4 cup fresh basil, or 1 t dried

Directions:
1. Caramelize onions. Heat pan on medium heat and add onions. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Stir occasionally and continue cooking until deep brown, about 30 minutes.
2. Seed and dice tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and place in collender. Allow juices to drain, about 10 minutes. Squeeze with a dishtowel or cheese cloth. If not, the pie may be soggy.
3. Once the onions are caramelized to your liking, remove from pan and add 1 teaspoon of oil, greens, and a dash of salt. Cook until wilted. If any juices form, squeeze them out.
4. Put pie crust in oven for 10 minutes at 400ºF.
5. Beat the egg. Mix in the cheese and garlic.
6. Assemble pie. Fill the crust with onions first, following the greens, then tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil. Spread egg-cheese mixture over top.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and bake about 40 minutes until cheese has melted and egg has set.

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Ginger-Spiked Yogurt Tart with Coconut-Sesamee Seed Crust

Ginger Tart - Baked with Toppings

I love ginger. It has been sitting at the top of my favorite things list for quite some time. My favorite tea which I drink nearly every night before bed, is ginger. And I love when I find recipes that allow me to use ginger in a new way. Growing up I have had ginger cake, ginger snaps, and ginger bread men – all utilizing dried and ground ginger. But the flavor of fresh ginger, and the extra zing it delivers, I find more satisfying than the dried spice. This light, delicate, yet simple tart really features the fresh flavor of the ginger root. Of course you can leave out the ginger and use berries or orange zest, but when you can get the health benefits of ginger in dessert that tastes like this, why would you?

Ginger Tart - Ginger WholeGinger Tart - Pressing Ginger

Ginger Tart - CrustGinger Tart - Baked Crust

And this tart is really simple. As simple as making chocolate chip cookies – and perhaps even simpler beacuase you only need to make one batch (or you can do a few tiny tartletts if you have the cute little scalloped-rim dishes. That would be adorable). Its as simple as smushing together the crust, whisking together the filling, and baking for a half hour or so. And you’ll know its done because the filling won’t jiggle. It’s as simple as that. I believe the mystery to those fancy desserts has been solved: they’re not really that tricky after all. At least not this one.

The filling is sweet, tangy, and spicy all at the same time, accompanied by a crisp and buttery coconut-sesame crust: I have to say the combination is divine. This recipe is easy to cut in half, so if you wanna do a trial run before you commit yourself to a giant pie, go for it.

Ginger Tart

Crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup toasted rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons honey
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
pinch of salt

Directions:
Grease tart pan or pie pan. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Toast oats, sesame seeds, and coconut until golden, just about 3 minutes on high heat. Combine first all the dry ingredients. Combine the honey using a fork, and then add the butter, mashing with a fork until evenly combined. Press evenly into tart pan, making a 3/4 inch-high edge. Poke shallow holes into crust bottom. Bake for 5 minutes, and remove.

Filling:
1 cup natural plain yogurt, strained through cheese cloth so thick
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon/lime/orange/grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon zest of lime or orange
1/4 cup ginger juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional, for stronger taste)

Directions.
To make ginger juice, simply peed a piece of fresh ginger. Grate it on your box grated on the small side. Place the grated ginger in a lime juicer to squeeze as much of the juice out as possible.

Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Fill into partially baked pie crust. Bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350ºF, or until center is set.