Roxana Jullapat has been bopping around L.A. for some time, bringing her great cooking and exceptional baking to a city that has never, and will never, give up on carbs. She recently opened Friends & Family, a Hollywood restaurant that serves sandwiches and European-style breakfasts and pastries. We've got one of her recipes right here — impress a crowd with it, especially if you serve it right from the cast iron.
Savory Egg Pie with Scallions and Ricotta
Here’s the perfect alternative to quiche. We roast the scallions, along with most of their green stems, before adding them to the filling. This makes them as tender and as sweet as possible. Whenever available, we also like to throw in a handful of stinging nettles. If you’re unable to find stinging nettles, baby spinach will do. In spite of the amount of cheese in the filling and the richness of the crust, the resulting pie is quite light. While we tend to serve this for breakfast, it also makes a delicious lunch when accompanied by a simple salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.
A pie tin will work quite well for this recipe but, frankly, we prefer baking it in a cast iron skillet.
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the pie crust:
1 ¾ cups Sonora flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces or ¾ cup unsalted butter, cold, cubed
6 ounces or ¾ cup cream cheese, cold, cubed
2 tablespoons iced water
All-purpose flour for rolling
For the filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sprig of thyme
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 extra large eggs
1 cup stinging nettles or baby spinach, loosely packed
1 cup gruyère, grated
1 cup ricotta
To make the crust: Combine the flour and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl and toss the cubed butter and cream cheese into the flour. Use a pastry cutter (or your fingertips) to cut the butter and cream cheese into pieces the size of a dime into the flour. Make a well in the center and pour in the iced water. Mix gently with your hands until the mixture resembles a raggedy dough; don’t worry if bits of butter or cream cheese are still visible. Flatten the dough into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 48 hours.
Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to form a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Pick up the dough circle by rolling it onto the rolling pin, and lay it in the pan. Gently press the dough over the bottom of the pan, leaving a lip on the edge. Tuck under the excess dough and crimp as necessary. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F.
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To blind bake the shell, take it out of the refrigerator, coat it lightly with nonstick cooking spray, cut an 11-inch parchment paper circle and place over the shell. Alternatively, you can line the shell with 2 to 3 coffee filters instead of the parchment circle; they work incredibly well. Fill with 1 to 2 cups of dried beans (to prevent the crust from puffing while baking in the oven) or some of those fancy pie weights they sell in specialty cooking stores. Bake the shell fully for 40 minutes, or until golden throughout. Remove it from the oven and let it cool completely. Remove beans and paper liner and discard them (If you bake frequently, save for future use). Don’t turn off the oven.
To make the filling, rub the scallions with olive oil and put them on a baking sheet. Remove the leaves off the thyme sprig and sprinkle them over the scallions. Season lightly with kosher salt. Put in the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Be advised that the roasting time can vary significantly depending on the size of the scallion. To check, insert a pairing knife into the knobby part of the scallion, if the knife releases easily the scallions are ready. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Save 3 scallions to decorate the top of the pie, and cut the rest (stems and all) into ½-inch slices. If any portion of the scallion got a little too crusty in the oven, trim it off and discard it.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325º F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream, salt and eggs. Add the sliced spring onions, stinging nettles or spinach, gruyère and ricotta, and stir just to combine. Fill the baked shell with the filling and decorate the top with the pretty scallions you saved earlier. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filling is set and the top looks golden. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the tin. If you baked the pie in a cast iron pan, serve it in the pan. It makes a delightful presentation. Slice into 8 slices or as desired.