Torta Co' Bischeri Agli Spinaci (Luccan Sweet Spinach Pie)
minimally adapted from Dolci: Italy's Sweets by Francine Segan, copyright 2011
Serves 8 to 10
18 ounces all-purpose flour
18 tablespoons unsalted butter
scant cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons ice water
2 teaspoons baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
1 pound fresh baby spinach
8 ounces ground almonds
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 ounces minced candied citron
1/4 cup Maraschino liqueur
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Mix the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Mix the egg yolks with the ice water and add that mixture plus the baking powder, zest and salt; mix until dough forms.
Roll the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
Lightly butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan.
Roll out 2/3 of the dough, making it large enough to hang well over the sides. Using a fork, poke holes throughout the entire bottom and sides of the crust. Refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Cook the spinach in a few ounces of salted water until tender. Allow to cool. Squeeze out all the cooking liquids and finely chop in a mini food processor.
In a bowl, beat the yolks with 1/3 cup of the sugar until creamy and light yellow. Add the ground almonds and beat until well combined. Add the spinach, candied peel and liqueur, and mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the whites until soft peaks form, then add in the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and beat until it forms a glossy meringue.
Slowly fold the meringue into the yolk mixture. Pour into the prepared crust. Sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Roll out the remaining dough to form a lattice over the top of the filling.
Bake for about 1 hour, until golden.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.