Easter in France means traditional dishes such as tourte pascale and pâté. These are yummy pies with a perfectly flaky crust with eggs nested inside as the filling. You can fill them with minced meat or vegetables. This recipe uses spinach but anything from beet tops to kale will work just as well! Some recipes use already cooked hard-boiled eggs in the pie, but I find that they get overcooked and rubbery. Instead, I form little nests to hold the uncooked eggs. The finished product is an aromatic pie that is both simple yet elegant in its looks and flavor. You can use any store bought crust, but if you are looking to make your pie a little more special, I like using this crust recipe.
It’s a free-form pie, which means you don’t need any special pie pan for it. All you do is cut out two circles from the dough and crimp them together on the baking sheet. I like to think of it more like a calzone!
As with any pie, decorating the top crust is key for that extra bit of pizazz. You can do anything you want to decorate your pie, but I don’t recommend a lattice pattern – to me it just screams cherry pie. Instead, I prefer to cut out little shapes in the scraps of dough. Cookie cutters are perfect for this, all you need is a couple cute easter themed ones (eggs, chicks, flowers, bells, butterflies etc.) Lay them on top of the pie and it looks so special!
Perfect Cookie Cutters for Easter
Traditionally, tourte pascale is served as a first course before the main course, but I do not love eating several courses during family holidays. It is so much easier to do it all at the same time! Instead, try making it as a beautiful centerpiece for a simple Easter lunch or brunch.
For the dough:
- 7 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, diced (cold if using a food processor, at room-temperature if you’re mixing the dough by hand)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Ice-cold water
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 1/2 ounces fresh spinach, center ribs removed, finely chopped leaves
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- Freshly grated black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing
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- If you are using a recipe, prepare the dough the day before. Separate the dough into two equal balls and chill. If you are using store-bought dough, you do not have to let the dough sit overnight.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and allow to cook, stirring frequently, just until the leaves become one shade darker. Don’t overcook. Let cool, cover, and reserve in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, combine the spinach in a bowl with the goat cheese and another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with pepper and a little nutmeg.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread one of the balls of dough to a circle wide enough to cut out a neat circle, about 26 cm (10 1/2 inches) in diameter, using an upturned plate as a template and running a sharp knife all around. Place this circle on the baking sheet. Save the trimmings.
- Arrange the spinach filling on top, leaving a margin of about 3 to 4 cm (1 1/2 inches), and form 4 little wells in the filling.
- Break 1 whole egg into each of 2 wells, and put 1 egg yolk in each of the remaining wells.
- Roll out the second ball of dough in the same way to get another circle of the same size (reserve the trimmings) and center this circle on top of the filling. Crimp together the edges of the two circles of dough to seal. Brush the top and edges with milk.
- Gather the trimmings, spread them out again, and cut out small leaf shapes with the tip of your knife. Place them on the top of the pie; they will shrink slightly, so take this into account in your artistic process.
- Brush the leaves with a touch more milk.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the pie is golden brown.
And that is all there is to it! Let me know if you decide to make this yummy recipe on Easter and tag us on instagram @ouiplease to be reposted!
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