“This is the recipe for my mama’s spinach pie. The pie that I baked to feel like I was home. The pie that with every mouthful made me feel like my mama was holding me, feeding me, healing me.” – Charlotte Ree, Heartbake. Charlotte Ree’s Spinach and Le Gruyère AOP Pie as cooked on the Baking Stage at the 2023 Good Food & Wine Show.

2 bunches of silver beet
1 brown onion
2 spring onions
Olive oil, for cooking
5 large free-range eggs
250 g Le Gruyère AOP
125 g feta
125 g fresh ricotta, drained
A bunch of dill, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
250 g unsalted butter, melted
375 g Antoniou fillo pastry

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash the silver beet and strip the leaves from the stalks. In batches, steam the silver beet leaves till soft. Leave to cool and drain. Once cool, using your hands, squeeze the moisture from the silver beet and tear or cut into squares. Set aside to cool.

Peel the onion and cut it into eighths lengthways, so you have long wedges. Cut up the spring onions into 2 cm lengths. Add the olive oil to a frypan on low heat and caramelise the onion and spring onions for around 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs well in a large bowl, then crumble in the feta. Crumble well so you don’t have any big chunks, then mix in the ricotta, grated gruyere and dill too. Let it sit to marinate until the onion mixture is cool. (Make sure the silver beet and onion are both cool before adding them to the egg and cheese mixture, so the eggs don’t cook.) Now add the cooled onion and silver beet to the bowl, season with pepper to taste, and leave to sit while you prepare the fillo.

Using a pastry brush, grease the bottom of your dish (I use Mum’s special dish but you can use any round 24 cm pie dish) with some of the melted butter. Line the base and sides with two layers of fillo pastry, brushing on more butter between each layer. Then add another two layers in the opposite direction. The pastry sheets should hang over the side of the dish. Repeat, buttering between sheets, until you have used all but two sheets of fillo. You will use these to make the top of the pie.

Now, pour the egg, cheese and greens mixture into the middle of the dish and spread it out evenly. Then, get your remaining two sheets of fillo pastry, butter them, fold them in half and place in the middle of the dish. Fold over the excess pastry that has been hanging over the side and, working layer to layer, and buttering each layer as you go, fold and gently pull them into the middle of the dish to form a top layer sealing the pie.

Bake until the pastry is golden brown, around an hour.

Serves 8.

Charlotte Ree’s Heartbake: A bittersweet memoir (Allen & Unwin) is out now.