Spinach Ricotta Challah

You’re making challah anyway, so just portion off 2 pounds of dough and put together this stunning shalosh seudos dish. I love getting extra mileage from one recipe! Any challah dough you’re using can be used to create this masterpiece. The creamy ricotta with the savory crunch of pine nuts and the beautiful green of spinach and basil come together to make the most spectacular challah filling. The gorgeous braiding technique shown here brings it all together in the most perfect way.
Yield: 1 large criss-cross challah (you might get some minis out of this too)
2 pounds Classic Challah Dough (or your favorite challah dough)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Spinach Ricotta Filling
⅓ cup pine nuts
4 cups (about 10 ounces) chopped baby spinach
2 cups ricotta cheese
½ cup (about 20 leaves) chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
¼ cup cornmeal or flour
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
1½ teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toast pine nuts in a dry frying pan for approximately 5 minutes, or until just beginning to brown and smell fragrant.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, basil, cornmeal or flour, garlic, oregano, thyme, and toasted pine nuts. (Reserve a few pine nuts for garnish.) Gently stir to incorporate all ingredients.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix gently.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
See illustrated instructions below for filling and braiding.
When challah has been stuffed and braided, brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with reserved pine nuts. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet.
Bake for 25–30 minutes or until top of challah is golden brown.
Garnish with extra basil before serving.

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