Nettles are one of Nature’s most powerful superfoods. And since they grow nearly everywhere, you can go outside and pick your own! The best time to pick nettles is in the early Spring when they have about 7 sets of leaves. Wear rubber gloves, and use scissors to snip off the top two sets of leaves.
FOR THE NETTLE FILLING:
- 4 cups/1 quart of stinging nettle leaves or tender nettle tops
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- grated lemon zest and ground fennel seeds, optional
FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING
- 1/2 cup spelt cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons oil
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE
- 2 cups skimmed milk
- 1 cup thick full-fat natural yogurt or buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10″ pie pan or a 9″x9″ oven proof dish.
Wearing rubber kitchen gloves to protect your hands, wash the nettle leaves and blanch them for 15-20 second in boiling water. Transfer the nettles into cold water and squeeze them dry; then finely chop. Cook the onion in oil for about 5 minutes, then add the nettles. Add the milk and cream to the saucepan and cook until the entire mixture is heated through. Remove from heat.
Break the eggs into a bowl and season with salt and pepper; and add the lemon zest and fennel seeds, if using. Pour the egg mixture over the nettle mixture and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to your prepared oven dish and place into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture has set. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature; then cover and place into the fridge to chill completely.
Turn the oven up to 400°F. Combine the ingredients for the crumb topping into a dough and spread out into a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Allow to cool, then break into rough crumbs and spread on top of the pie before serving.
Measure all of the ingredients for the cream cheese into a pot and bring it slowly to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the curds begin to form and rise to the top and the surrounding liquid turns translucent. Take the pot off of the heat and allow the mixture to stand, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Pour the curds into a sieve over a bowl and allow them to strain slowly. Scrape the cheese into a bowl.
The reserved whey (liquid) can be used for making bread or in your smoothie. This is very healthy stuff and high in protein, so don’t throw it away!
Serve the nettle pie topped with the crumb topping and a few spoonfuls of fresh cream cheese.