This is another one of my wife's baking projects. She likes basically anything made with pie dough; mini pies and cheese pockets you name it. She was inspired to make this spinach cheese loaf after reading a recipe in one of the "freebee" promotion cooking magazine we received. She made substantial changes to the recipe and "inspired by" rather than "followed" recipe is appropriate. We had this as a light lunch on the weekend. I made a quick cucumber and tomato salad with our home-made ranch dressing from our favorite "high "octane buttermilk. Since we also made deviled eggs, these are on the plate as well. It was sunny but rather hot day and cold crisp white wine or sparkling wine could have been good but we restrained ourselves.
I also served very sweet ripe mission figs.
You can see the spinach stuffing with bacon bits and bottom and top layers of smoked mozzarella cheese. She used store-bought pie crust which came out nice and flaky.
This was how it looked before slicing. She made a few cuts on the top crust as vents to let the steam escape.
One packaged pre-made pie crust thawed
Spinach, two bags, cooked without adding any liquid, excess moisture squeezed and finely chopped.
2 strips of bacon cooked until crispy, oil drained and crumbled.
Two onions diced and carmelized
Feta cheese, half block, crumbled or to taste.
red pepper flakes to taste
1 Egg, one beaten.
Smoked mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced, enough to cover the bottom and top of the baking dish.
1 tsp of melted butter.
Line the bottom of a small pyrex cooking dish with parchment paper (this makes removal of the loaf much easier). Roll out one sheet of the store-bought (Pillsbury) pie crust. Put it over the parchment on the bottom dish allowing the excess to hang over the sides (#1). Line the dough with a layer of smoked mozzarella (#2). Mix the cooked, chopped spinach, rendered bacon, caramelized onions, feta cheese, beaten egg and red pepper flakes together (#3). Pour mixture over crust in dish (#4). Cover with another layer of smoked mozzarella. Fold the excess dough hanging over the side of the dish on top the the spinach mixture (#5). Cut vent holes in the top crust and brush with melted butter. Cook in a 425 oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned (#6). Let it cool completely before attempting to slice.
When she put the loaf in the oven, she was a bit distraught because it looked like the moisture was seeping out to the bottom crust, She thought the bottom crust wouldn't get crispy/flaky. But it turned out to be an optical illusion and everything came out just fine. This was very nice "all-in-one" lunch. You get you starch, vegetables, and protein all in, in one slice.