Easter Pie

Words and images by Kathy Paterson

The brief to myself was to make a rustic pie that is a very loose play on the Italian Torta Pasqualina (an enclosed pastry pie using spinach and eggs). After many tests and neighbours’ approval, this one came out on top.

Serves 6


250g plain flour

150g cold butter, diced

25g cheddar cheese

5 tbsp cold water

1 egg, beaten for an egg wash or use a splash of milk


120g packet tender spinach leaves, well washed

150g cow feta (or use goat’s milk cheese)

90g mozzarella (buffalo or cow)

125g ricotta

6 tbsp freshly grated parmesan or pecorino

1 egg, lightly beaten

To finish

1 egg, hardboiled, optional

To make the filling, wilt the spinach in a saucepan with just the water that is clinging to its leaves then put into a sieve sitting over a bowl to drain. Set aside to cool.

Crumble the cow feta into a bowl. Grate the mozzarella, or, alternatively, tear into small pieces using your hands and add to the feta. Add the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of parmesan or pecorino. Add the egg and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the pastry, put the flour, a pinch of salt, and the butter in a food processor. Grate in the 25g cheddar cheese. Process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then drizzle over the water and continue to process until the mixture just begins to form clumps. Tip out onto a lightly floured bench top and bring together, flattening to a disc shape.

Roll the pastry out into a 30cm disc then put onto a lightly greased baking tray (or line the baking tray with baking paper).

Squeeze any excess liquid from the cooled spinach and mix into the cheese mixture. Spread over the pastry, leaving a 5–6cm border around the edge uncovered.

Fold the uncovered edge of the pastry, pleating as you go to give a pastry edge to the pie. (There will be an open hole in the middle.) Ensure the pastry does not split while folding, otherwise the filling may leak during cooking. Put in the fridge to firm up while you heat the oven to 200°C.

Remove from the fridge and brush the pastry top with enough egg wash or milk to coat and sprinkle the remaining parmesan or pecorino over the filling, sprinkling a little on the pastry as well.

Put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until the pastry is beautifully golden brown and the filling just set.

To serve, cut the hardboiled egg in half lengthwise and scoop the yolk into a small, fine sieve. Cut the egg white into fine shreds and scatter over the pie. Push the egg yolk through the sieve directly over the pie.


Tips – Swap out the spinach for the green leaves of silver beet or use rainbow chard. You will need to wilt these a little longer until tender.

The delight of making the pastry in the food processor is that you can work with it straight away. In fact, you do not want it firm when you are folding it.

The pie can be eaten hot, warm, or cold.

Herbs and Green Leaves with Mustard Dressing

Slightly bitter salad greens and herbs are gently pacified with a full-flavoured mustard dressing, so don’t be afraid to use them.

Shiso grows easily in the garden and taking over in mine is the variety that is green on one side, purple on the other. Shiso is from the mint family with flavour notes of basil, anise, and cinnamon.

Serves 4


2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


4 handfuls seasonal salad greens, torn if leaves are large

1 handful flat leaf parsley leaves

1 small bunch chives, snipped

a few baby nasturtium leaves

3–4 shiso leaves, shredded to impart flavour

2 tbsp NZ Pinoli pine nuts, toasted


To make the dressing put the garlic, mustard, vinegar, and oil in a clean screw top jar. Season with salt and pepper then screw on the lid and shake well.

Gently toss the greens and herbs together then drizzle over enough dressing to moisten and gently toss again. Sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts.


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