Both these pies were absolutely delicious, but they both had structural issues.
Most disappointingly, I failed to learn from one of the lessons from my first batch of small pies: “Use larger circles, to ensure that they fully overlap the edges of the mould. Then it will be possible to properly seal the pies.” In fear of wasting pastry, I didn’t want to leave it overhanging the edges of the pie-dishes when I was blind-baking the bases, and as a result it pulled away from the edges and collapsed inwards. For that reason, I wasn’t able to get a good seal with the lid of either pie, and that made them hard to get out of their tins.
Worse, I didn’t allow for how very wet the spinach was. Even though I’d egg-washed and blind-baked the base, the moisture of the spinach soaked into it, and I was left with a very soggy bottom that simply wouldn’t hold together.
Happily, neither of these problems affected the flavours — which were, if I say it myself, nothing short of sensational. I had successfully learned two of the other lessons from those first pies: keep the amount of smoked salmon down, and season the spinach. In fact, I used only a single layer of salmon, and one of basil leaves, between the two layers of cream cheese, and that was just right. I seasoned the spinach with salt, pepper and a little ground coriander.
I would definitely make both of these again.
1. Use larger circles, to ensure that they fully overlap the edges of the mould. Then it will be possible to properly seal the pies.
2. Squeeze some of the moisture out of spinach before putting it in a pie.