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Italian Spinach Flan

ingredients

serves 6
225 g (8 oz) made-weight shortcrust pastry, defrosted if frozen

for the filling

350 g (12 oz) frozen spinach
25 g (1 oz) butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
225 g (8 oz) cottage cheese
3 medium-sized eggs, lightly beaten
30 - 60 ml (2 - 4 tbsp) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
90 ml (6 tbsp) thick cream
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
For the garnish
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into 6 slices each
30 ml (2 tbsp) melted butter

method

1. Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6. Roll the pastry out to a circle 5 mm (1/4 in) thick. Lift into a 22 cm (8 1/2 in) flan dish and press well into the sides of the dish. Trim off the top of the pastry and prick the base. Line the pastry with foil and beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 8-10 minutes. Leave the half-baked pastry case, still in its tin, on a baking sheet. Reduce the heat to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.

2. Place the spinach with the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat until the spinach is cooked. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then thoroughly drain the spinach and turn into a mixing bowl. Add the cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan and cream to the bowl with grated nutmeg to taste. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients thoroughly together.

3. Turn the spinach mixture into the pastry case and spread evenly. Bake the flan in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the spinach filling has set.

4. Just before serving, garnish the flan with slices of hard-boiled egg and brush each slice with melted butter. Serve the flan hot, lukewarm or cold.

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