If we’re going to be precise, this is a quiche and not a pot pie. The filling is really an omelet mixture — eggs, milk and cream cheese with spinach, bacon and onion — so, it’s technically a quiche. Except that a quiche is nestled in a crust rather than covered on top by a crust. Which makes this a kind of pot pie because there is a crust on top. But then pot pies don’t include raw eggs in the filling, at least not that I know of, so this is still a quiche. Which really makes everything so confusing.
There’s nothing confusing about the final result though. It’s plainly delicious. It should be because there is bacon in the filling. And cream cheese too.
How to eat the thing isn’t confusing at all either. Just take a fork, dig in and have a ball.
I used phyllo pastry for the crust because the filling needed to be cooked at 350F, a lower temperature than usual for pot pies. Shortcrust pastry, the kind I used in the beef brisket and sour cream pot pie, is best baked at 400F. If you want to dispense with the brushing with melted butter, you can use puff pastry (see the difference between phyllo and puff pastry).
Some notes about the spinach first. Locally grown spinach has tough inedible stalks. So I just pick the leaves and discard the stalks. Imported spinach has very tender stalks and it’s silly to discard them. I’m mentioning the difference because I can’t give you a precise weight measurement for the raw spinach. You need about a cup of blanched, squeeze and finely sliced spinach but how much raw spinach you need to arrive at that one cup depends on whether your’re using locally grown or imported spinach. And, if using locally grown spinach, how much leaves you’re able to use. So, I suppose you’ll have to eyeball the amount of raw spinach that you’ll need.
Spinach, bacon and cream cheese pot pie
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Chop the bacon. Cook in an oil-free non-stick pan until lightly browned. Add the onion and cook for another minute or until the onion bits start to soften. Turn off the heat and toss in the spinach.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the milk. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix in the spinach and bacon.
- Take a sheet of phyllo and lay flat. Brush with melted butter. Top with another sheet of phyllo, brush with butter, and so on, until you get to the last sheet. Don’t brush the top sheet with butter yet.
- Spoon the spinach, bacon and cheese mixture into your chosen baking dish.
- Cut the stack of phyllo to fit the top of the baking sheet. Use a sharp pointed knife. It’s easy to cut phyllo but it’s also easy to tear them so do it carefully. I used a saucer that was about the size of the ramekin, placed it upside down on the stack of phyllo and cut around the saucer. You can use kitchen shears if you’re more comfortable with that.
- Another note: I used two single-serve ramekins, which are small, so I had six circles of pastry, each circle consisting of six layers. That’s three circles per ramekin which means I had 18 layers of pastry on top of my filling. If you’re using a single large baking dish instead of single-serve ramekins, you might want to double the amount of phyllo pastry.
- Cover the spinach, bacon and cheese filling with the phyllo and brush the top with butter. Bake for about 20 or until the crust is puffy and lightly browned. Do not bake for too long.
- Serve the pot pies straight from the oven. They are very, very hot though so be careful as you take your first forkful.