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Spinach Pies

IMG_1706_2We have a large, wonderful family that is full of big eaters. Our celebrations are all centered around food, and we like to celebrate a lot. One of my favorite parts of these celebrations is sharing the kitchen with my family. People filter through helping me make the spinach pies, each time we share stories and laughter. And, then as soon as a batch is out of the oven I lose my current helpers, as they become consumed in eating them and gain a new group of helpers.
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IMG_1670IMG_1671I’ve found that if I wrap my counter with plastic film nothing will stick to it.  I don’t have to add extra flour and it is very easy to knead the dough.IMG_1674Rolling the dough in the lightly oiled bowl keeps it from sticking and from getting a tough outer surface.IMG_1675
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IMG_1707Add a heaping spoon of spinach to the middle of the round. Keep the edges of the dough from touching the spinach mixture.IMG_1708Bring two sides of the dough together pinching it closed, then bring the middle of the third side up then pinch the sidesIMG_1704IMG_1706_2
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Spinach Pie Recipe

Preheat Oven to 400

Dough
1 package Active Dry Yeast
1 pinch of sugar
½ cup very warm water
5 cups flour (570 grams)
1 Tablespoon kosher salt, if using sea salt or regular use half the amount
1 ½ cups hot water

Spinach Filling:
3 pounds of frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
½ cup olive oil
½ cup pine nuts toasted
½ cup finely diced onion
Juice from 1 – 2 ½ fresh lemons (you want it to taste slightly more lemony than you want the finished product.
2 Tbsp. sumac
Salt and pepper to taste

While the dough is rising make your spinach mixture. Mix ingredients with a fork, add salt & pepper to taste.

Dough:
In a small bowl, mix the yeast with ½ cup warm water and a pinch of sugar (1/2 teaspoon). Let it proof for about ten minutes, it will bubble and increase in volume.

In a large bowl or in a mixer with a dough hook, mix flour and salt.
Then while mixing, add the yeast mixture to the flour.
Add warm water, ½ cup at a time, approximately 1 ½ cups.
Mix in the mixer until the flour is incorporated and is sticking to the dough hook. Shut it off every once in a while and touch it.  You want the dough to be slightly sticky, but it shouldn’t stick to your fingers. If it is too dry add more warm water a little at a time. If it feels too wet, sprinkle a little flour on the surface and knead it.

Take the dough out, knead a few times on lightly floured surface.  Then put in a ball, keep tucking edges under until you have a smooth, round shape.

*If you are mixing this by hand put the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix well. With your hand make a well in the center and add the oil and mix in the flour with one hand while holding the bowl with the other. Mix in the yeast and then slowly start adding water. Work it in the bowl until it feels smooth. Knead it in the bowl and then take it out and knead on a flat surface.

Pour 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large bowl.  Oil the bottom and the sides of the bowl.  Put the dough round side down first, and roll it around the bowl, coating all sides. Lift it up and keep tucking the bottom into the middle, ending with the rounded side up. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size about an hour and a half.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper  or silpat

With your finger tips grab a small ball of dough (1/8 cup), lift up and cut and place them next to each other. Cut about ten balls at a time.

With your fingertips press each dough ball into a thin, flat round.You can also put a piece of plastic wrap over the top and roll the round. The dough should be thin.

Stuff the dough with a heaping spoon of the spinach mixture. Pinch the dough closed. Bring two sides of the circle together then bring the third side forming a y with the seam.  If the dough is hard to close lightly flour your fingers and press on the seam again.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, and turn tray.  When lightly browned, prepare one small tad of butter (1 teaspoon for whole batch of dough)  to rub lightly in over the tops.  Cook 4-5 min more.  The spinach pies taste best when baked to a light golden color. Check bottom so as not to burn, but to make sure it is cooked.
* Use the leftover dough for fresh pizza or foccacia.

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